Vince Lombardi once said, “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.” Mrs. Kimberly Klein, eighth grade chemistry teacher, said, “This pushes me to always want to better myself in all aspects of my life.” One of those aspects includes working with horses. Besides teaching full time, she has also dedicated her life to horses. That includes barrel racing, training other people’s horses, and teaching horses to do tricks.
Mrs. Klein has been riding since she was nine years old and owned her first horse when she was 11 years old. Over her lifetime, she has owned a total of 14 horses. Some have been projects, some hadn’t been ridden, and some she uses for her barrel competitions.
Barrels is a certain type of competition where a horse and their rider gallop at full speed around three barrels through a certain pattern, and they must complete this in the fastest time possible. She owns four of those horses. She has trained horses that have been sold to other owners, and one has even competed and won at national levels.
Unfortunately, this year, Mrs. Klein lost one of her lifelong horse companions, Rosie. She bought Rosie as a six-year-old quarter horse that she showed jumping with as a high schooler and did drill team. She also showed her fun shows and trail ride with her. Mrs. Klein bought Rosie as a sophomore and had her ever since.
Mrs. Klein not only trains and dedicates her life to horses, she also competes with them. She goes to a show every weekend in the summer. For Spring and Fall she shows twice a month. In the Winter, she tries to compete once a month depending on the weather. Her biggest show was at the Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio. Quarter Horse Congress hosts shows in many different categories, including barrels, poles, reining, and so many other categories. “I feel so blessed to be able to do something I love so much, no matter the results,” said Mrs. Klein. Although she didn’t place among the hundreds of horses who entered, she trained and owned horses who have placed with different riders. The category that Mrs. Klein competes in the most is barrels. “I love the adrenaline. It’s scary, and it pushes you to be better,” said Mrs. Klein.
Besides competing, Mrs. Klein loves to work with her own and others’ horses. She teaches other horses who have never been ridden in their life how to be ridden. She also teaches horses who have bad habits to get rid of those habits and make it easier for their owners. Besides working with her own and clients’ horses, she teaches lessons to students. She has about six students outside of school at this time. While Mrs. Klein was a college student, she worked at a feed store in Alexandria and fed horses at farms when she was younger. In addition to having jobs that require having experience with horses, she also uses her experience with horses in her job as a teacher. Maggie Hahn, freshman, bonded with Mrs. Klein last year through their love of horses. Hahn also owns a horse, Ohso, and when her horse was diagnosed with a disease in December 2018, Mrs. Klein was there for Hahn to give her support. “When Ohso got diagnosed with shingles last December and one of her horses had shingles as well, she gave me some advice and some much-needed encouragement,” Hahn said.
Mrs. Klein is a full-time teacher, but what she accomplishes with her horses is a calling. Mrs. Amy Fry, eight grade language arts teacher, said, “Her dedication inside and outside of the classroom is an inspiration to all who know her.”