Remembering the Life and Legacy of Kim Meier

The team here at EN was deeply saddened to learn of beloved eventer Kim Meier’s passing earlier this month. We were honored to make Kim’s acquaintance and were lucky that she shared some of her countless stories with us. We’ll be sharing some of these stories each day this week in tribute. Do you have a memory or story about Kim to share? Please send it to us at [email protected].

Kim Meier and Test Run at Rolex. Photo courtesy of Kim Meier.

From the word go, Kim was a horse girl through and through, sitting astride her first horse as a young girl and quickly picking up lessons and competing as she grew. Her mother enrolled her at the toughest Pony Club she could find: GMHA in Vermont, where she would eventually begin working with Denny Emerson. Kim would go on to be, among many other things, a successful eventer whose career spanned from 1969 to 2007.

She favored producing and competing her own homebreds, making six Advanced horses from the ground up — four of them were bred by her, five of them were first broken by her, and all of them began their careers with her.

In 2004, Kim competed at what was then known as the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event as a first-timer with the homebred Test Run (she had also bred Test Run’s sire, Test Pilot, and dam, Iron Gal, in addition to the dams of both parents), where she finished tenth, won the Bank One Trophy as top owner/rider, and Best Conditioned to boot.

“Merle and I had never been more in sync,” Kim wrote about the experience. “We didn’t argue about left-hand turns, I didn’t pick (maybe once early on) and if he saw an awkward question, the wheels upstairs just turned faster. It was a dream sequence, the kind you don’t want to end, but when it did you realized you were only two seconds over, so your dream had come true.”

Kim and “Merle” would also complete Burghley that same year, and had her sights set on Badminton to complete the trio of classic three-day events before the gelding came up with an injury in 2005.

A freak riding accident in 2007 left Kim paralyzed from the C5 vertebrae down. After the accident, her love for the horse never wavered, and she remained and friend and student of the sport for the rest of her days.

“Needless to say we weren’t at Rolex, but a year later I did ride him again, with someone behind me holding my limp body up,” Kim wrote in 2016. “He didn’t care if we were galloping down to the Head of the Lake or if we just walked around the indoor for 15 minutes. He was always there for me, and this time he came back to help me feel alive again.”

Take a deeper dive into the life of Kim Meier in this profile from the USEA in 2008.