Kalyn Brooks Inspiration
My young friend Kalyn Brooks was born with physical handicaps, including a cleft palate, deformed hands, and deficient growth hormones. Kalyn was also deaf and never “heard” that she could not excel in the things she loved to do.
Kalyn loved to ride. Her horses were her mobility and a way to escape her physical challenges. Kalyn was supported in her interests and passions by her parents, family and friends. Kalyn’s mother Penny, created environments that Kalyn could excel in and courageously developed a path for Kalyn to be successful in her chosen endeavors.
Kalyn was one of the best students I ever taught. She never heard a word I said, yet she never missed a point I made. She watched and emulated demonstrations, read instructional material, watched DVDs, and took to heart the evaluations we made of her riding techniques. Penny and Cheryl Price, both avid signers, created a riding sign language that they helped me maneuver through. I would remain on the first barrel, Penny on the second and Cheryl on the third. We each had Kalyn covered in her arena instruction whichever direction she was going.
Kalyn excelled. She went on to win many regional championships, rodeo queen contests and academic awards. Kalyn won the 2000 Sharon Camarillo Western Classic 4D Championship. Kalyn always expected to win, but was never disappointed when she did not. Kalyn was rewarded by knowing she accomplished the task that she had set out to do.
Kalyn passed away at the age of 23. She asked her mother to go to the arena with her so she could work her horse, Makka. After a perfect performance, and a sprint home from the third barrel, the angles met Kalyn to carry her across the finish line. I say what a way to go, doing just what you lived to do!