Losses and gains and the love of a horse

Trinity Scarpella knows her way around horses. She was less than a year old when she took her first ride — with a little assistance. She has grown up with a mom who was raised on a horse farm and a grandmother who owns two horses of her own.

Scarpella, now 12, is a 4-H member and rode her horse Red’s Side Kick (she calls him Kicks) to first places in several divisions the Larimer County Fair this summer. It was her first time competing and she’d been training with her horse for less than a year. She’s especially proud of winning her class in level one musical freestyle. She has a trophy almost as big as she is to show for her efforts.

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Kicks is not Scarpella’s first horse. At age 9 she was given Ginger, an 18-year-old American paint mare with whom she fell madly in love. They’d gallop together across the field back of her house and walk their rural neighborhood making friends. When Ginger sickened and died at the end of 2012, Scarpella was devastated.

It took some time and a little “attitude adjustment” before Scarpella and Kicks, an 8-year-old American Paint gelding, a sorrel with a bald face and four white stockings, became partners. They entered English and Western Equitation and Showmanship, English controlled riding and Western riding events and did well enough that Scarpella won the all-round level one intermediate English horseman award at the Larimer County Fair.

Scarpella, who is home-schooled along with her brothers, ages 5, 8 and 10 (the youngest boy, age 1, hasn’t joined the classroom just yet) has a whole array of interests including playing the piano, singing in the Centennial Children’s Chorus, biking, skiing and writing stories. Her essay about losing Ginger and finding Kicks, “A Perfect Painted Partner,” won first place in the American Paint Association essay contest for ages 13 and under.

All the Scarpella kids do their share of weeding in the huge and prolific family garden. And there’s still plenty of time to enjoy an amazing playhouse and menagerie that includes, in addition to Kicks, a goat, chickens, two dogs and two cats.

An excerpt from Trinity Scarpella’s essay.

At the fair: “English Showmanship was first and Kicks again surprised me how well he performed … The fair was a great experience. I won all of my classes except for one, in which I forgot my pattern. Kicks did so well and I am so proud of him.

“I was apprehensive how Kicks would work out at first, but in the end we became a great team and I had the experience of my life. I wouldn’t trade him for the world. I think I will always own an American Paint horse. Though I tragically lost a friend, I gained a buddy. A perfect painted partner.”