There are people in our world who will influence us and become positive forces in our lives.
If we are blessed, our parents will be the first to help mold us into the person we will become. The seed of our being is nurtured as it grows. Additional family members, teachers, friends, church members, and others will help foster us as we navigate life.
And if we are truly blessed, someone will make a lasting impression on us.
By now, you’ve probably discerned that I love horses. I have since I was old enough to know what one was. That love was infused in the make-up of my being. It is just who I am.
When I came into adulthood and went out into the world, I thought I was ready for anything. I immediately discovered that the learning does not end after high school and college—hence the term “learning process.” It is ongoing throughout your life.
It is with great sadness that I’ve learned that someone who was a major influence in my life has recently passed.
Stephen “Steve” Cushing McBroom was the owner/operator of Owl Hollow Farm. When I worked there, he raised and trained Morgan and Saddlebred horses.
Working with horses was something I really wanted to do, and after I made several trips to the farm, I guess he realized I would continue stalking him until he gave me a chance, so he relented and hired me
I wasn’t allowed to groom horses for the first couple of weeks. I was handed a muck bucket and a manure fork and I cleaned stalls. That’s it, and there were a LOT of stalls. And did I mention that I started in winter? Stall duty and cold temps did not sway me from my desire to work with the horses, and I owe my stall cleaning expertise to that experience.
Steve recognized my passion for horses and soon allowed me to groom and hot walk. I worked hard and learned everything that I could and eventually moved up to help tack and ready the horses for working.
Steve was a hard taskmaster, but a fair one as well. He believed if you did something you should do it correctly and efficiently. He also taught patience was paramount when working with horses, and that, like people, each one learns and progresses at its own pace. In addition, he encouraged observation. I have been able to catch colic and illness at early onset just by knowing normal animal behavior versus unusual behavior.
He answered all my questions. He explained the training procedures as he worked. Steve also listened to my thoughts and concerns, and there was never a gender issue. He never said, “You’re a girl. You can’t do it.”
Sometimes he would tell me I wasn’t ready for a particular task, but he would explain why, and what I needed to accomplish to get to where I wanted to go. By the time I left Owl Hollow Farm, I had made it to the position of Barn Manager. He affectionately called me the “Head Lad.”
Steve made a huge impact in my life. I cannot truly explain just how much. I think of him
nearly every day. Horses are still a huge part of my life. I currently take care of several horses for someone else, and I have five of my own. The people who share the “horsey side” of my life have heard me speak of Steve more than once.
The Steve I knew was a family man whose children were the most important thing in his world, and his horses, his “four legged children,” came second. I read that he was called the Gentleman Farmer. He was a true gentleman.
A friend shared the news of Steve’s passing. I can only say that I was stunned. He was one of those people who just seemed immortal. But I will always carry memories of my time in his company.
I feel strongly that as God’s creatures, horses run in green pastures in heaven. I can picture Steve leaning on a fence and watching this with a smile.
Thank you, Steve, for being a part of my life, and for sharing your wisdom. I will treasure it always.