Thank You Very Much: A Tribute to Trip Harting
Thoughts and Memories of Trip Harting by Lois Yukins
Trip Harting was a complex man. He had the power to live in extremes. He was both childlike, refusing to be a grownup, and on the other side, had the wisdom of age. He could be fun and light and then serious and thoughtful, but never afraid of the total adventure of life. It is hard to imagine what energy he put into life; energy so positive that the space one shared with him just glowed. He was very private about his personal life and also his professional life, no matter which side you were on. Most often, one did not know much about the other. He confided with just a few of his closest friends his joys, successes and his troubles. I choose to think that this was an incredibly unique and special quality, others, Trip included, felt it was a deception. I'm not sure it should really be up for judgment.
I met Trip when I was quite young at a National Pony Club Championship. He was such a star then, talented, brave and of course handsome. Over the next couple of decades I had heard about him, but never really got to know him well until the eighties when we, by chance, had a judging job together. It was one of those moments everyone has had at sometime or another, the feeling that you had known this person forever, or had a deep relationship in another life. We never lost touch with each other from that time forward. We talked on the phone often and increasingly for the last several years. We were like brother and sister, best friends. We had many adventures together, such as our trip to England to judge together. We had such fun being tourists along with judging a wonderful show. We shared a near death experience one evening and I said 'that was horrible, the worst day of my life'. Trip said 'no', this was the best day of our life, we lived'. He was a glass half full sort of guy. At one point in my life I shared my private story of my tormented marriage. He was neither judgmental nor wanting to fix it; he chose rather to share with me some wisdom from his swami. His stories and examples helped me through a very difficult time. Trip was incredibly spiritual; he started every day with prayer. When he was home he had a shrine with many candles and special pictures and mementos of friends and spiritual beings. He prayed for his family, friends, his partner Steve and for situations that were confusing to him. He would light the candles and play the same Hawaiian music he loved so much. Trip never judged people. I never heard him say anything bad about anyone. He had an amazing ability to face something difficult and then work it through his heart and head to try to better understand the situation. Trip was the most generous and caring person I have ever known. He helped so many people during his lifetime, he made a difference.
Trip's many accomplishments may be found on www.DressageDaily.com as well as in the USDF Connection and Dressage Today.
Trip was known for his friendly demeanor at horseshows. He always gave his signature statements to the riders before and after each ride, and I am now hearing over and over again how much the riders appreciated those words and kindnesses. He loved horses most genuinely above almost anything else in his life, except perhaps his dogs. I remember him telling me how much he missed riding, but felt that part of his life was over, and he would continue teaching, coaching and judging. That was until his student and friend Lori Lauver convinced him to train her horse. He was so worried that he couldn't get back into shape to do a good job. He did both, and he was so proud of the horse, Lori and even himself. He had a lot of joy riding these past few years.
Trip had a secret, a very serious secret. Something he was neither proud of, nor could control. I didn't know anything about it, until five years ago, and then I had a secret too. You may wish to visit WWW.TRIPTOHELLANDBACK.COM . In the end, only a few weeks before he passed away, all charges were dropped, his record was clean. At the same time his documentary was premiered in Providence, RI and won the highest award. Trip was not able to come to the premier because he was too sick. He was prepared to lose his equestrian career. Trip was a well known speaker in Narcotics Anonymous, and very proud not only of his own recovery, but was very instrumental in the recovery of others.
When Trip heard of his diagnosis, he told me that he had done many regrettable things in his life, but had no regrets. If we are to believe we are put on this earth for a reason, or have things to accomplish before our next life, Trip is one of the few people I have known that really worked through many stages and seemed to raise himself to a better level with each situation. I am very proud to have known him.
His last days were at home with many of his dear friends. He knew we were there with him. He found time to say some last words to a few of us and then as I was holding his hand he kept saying, ‘don't be afraid, the angels are coming'. And they did, as we all touched him and each other.
We all will miss him so much. In keeping his memory, please share your experiences about Trip with each other. There are so many wonderful stories, and I wish he could hear them all right now. A while back Trip said, 'if I ever have a tombstone, put the proper dates on it and then say THANK YOU VERY MUCH'.
We will miss you dearest Trip.
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