At age two, Kate’s godmother, legendary Colorado horsewoman Sylvia Robinson McDonald, placed her on a Shetland pony named Peanuts and ignited Kate’s passion for equine-everything. Around the same time, Kate’s father won a German shepherd dog in a poker game and named him Chip. A Colorado weekend ranch with lots of horses and dogs and other animals also fueled her love for animals. Later, when living in Connecticut as a child, Kate and her family were joined by two Border collies and a cocker spaniel.
Riding at summer camp led to an interest in showing in the equitation and jumper divisions in many New England states in the late 1960s, and Kate and Shortie (show name Playboy) remained competitive until 1973. While a student at Bennett College, where she was also president of the riding club in 1972-73, Kate qualified and competed honorably at the famous ASPCA Maclay equitation finals at Madison Square Garden in 1971.
After a 25-year gap when riding took a backseat to other interests, Kate’s daughter had the riding gene, so the spark fanned into a new flame of interest, leading to many years helping out the Grand River Pony Club (Michigan) and some horse acquisitions. Jake (show name: Gentleman Jack) came to Kate as an off-the-track Thoroughbred looking for a new career at age 3 in 1998. Together, Kate and Jake competed through the ranks of the equine-triathlon sport of Eventing, including the upper level of Preliminary throughout the midwest through 2007. She later rescued a cute Paint horse named JB (show name: Between The Lines) who also became an Eventing horse. Her lovely Oldenburg-TB mare, Marque (show name: Midnight Marque) filled in many gaps in Kate’s knowledge of and appreciation for the sport of dressage from 2015-2019.
German shepherds re-entered Kate’s life with Xelda (1996-2011) and Amazing Grace (aka Mayzie), in 2012. Mayzie trained for two years with the K9 Unit at Kent County Search & Rescue before stepping back to a more suitable role for her as Kate’s constant companion at home.
Animals—both wild and domestic—always have a front-seat in Kate’s heart.