Kip Rosenthal, a successful hunter and jumper rider who became a top trainer and respected mentor, died today after a long illness. She was 69.
Her sister, Jo Michaels, noted that Kip “loved her career of over 50 years working with horses and their people. In turn, the people loved her for the inspiration and knowledge that she imparted to them.”
Kip, based in Wellington, Fla., was very well-educated, holding a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees and a doctorate in adolescent clinical psychology. Her riding resume was just as distinguished. As a junior, her Good Boy Dee was National Junior Hunter Champion, while her Rome Dome was National Junior Jumper Champion Horse of the Year, then went on to become her grand prix jumper on the U.S. Equestrian Team.
In 1985, she opened her training barn, Benchmark Farms. Her students won all of the national equitation finals. Many of the riders and horses with whom she worked went on to win Horse of the Year in several divisions. As an R-rated judge, she officiated at all the national equitation finals and served on numerous U.S. Equestrian Federation committees.
Recently, her focus had been sports psychology, working with juniors, amateurs and professional athletes in many disciplines. Kip’s first book, Kip’s Tips, was just published. Over the years, she has written articles that have appeared in publications such as The Chronicle of the Horse, Practical Horseman, and Equestrian.
As Jo, observed, “Kip has always been admired and loved by her colleagues for her great ability as a rider, instructor and friend. Her honesty and willingness to share her knowledge was known by all her associates.
“Kip has left her family, dogs, and friends for a period of time, but has always believed it is only a temporary separation,” said Jo, who was very important to her, along with Jo’s husband, Jerry Michaels; her first born niece, Lauren Lary; Lauren’s husband, Jon and their children, Ethan and Anna, and her dearest second niece, Abby Lowe. Also missing her is her best friend of 46 years, Dale Huebner.
Steve Price, a longtime friend who rode with Kip, noted that she “didn’t teach her students to ride: she taught us how to learn to ride. Learning to ride was our responsibility, with Kip ever ready, willing and able to provide the necessary tools, correct us whenever needed and applaud our accomplishments.
“One of Kip’s favorite images was `sponge.’ She prized students who were eager to soak up information. Indeed, Kip often said that she could easily spend the rest of her professional life not seeking the glory of horse-show competition, but alone in a ring with a horse and a `sponge’ of a rider on its back.”
There will be no services. Contributions may be made in Kip’s name to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 33105 or to Guiding Eyes for the Blind, 611 Granite Springs Rd. Yorktown Heights, NY 10598.