MHSA Jeff Shikles Distinguised Service Award for Lifetime Achievement 2012- 2013
Presented to Alice Neihardt Thompson
Ninety one year old Alice Neihardt Thompson graciously accepted the Jeff Shikles Memorial Ditinguished ServiceTrophy for Lifetime Achievement during the MHSA yearly award’s presentation. Held at the Peachtree Convention Center in Columbia, Mo., on January 26, 2013, the presentation was made by former MHSA president, Sarah Book-er.
Longtime horse trainer and riding instructor, Mrs. Thompson still resides at her be-loved Skyrim Stables north of Columbia. A forty year partnership with W.B. Cook pro-duced the great stallion, Skyrim’s Bourbon Stone wall and many champions sired by him and his son, Skyrim’s Bourbonaire.
Thompson was born with a deep love of horses. Daughter of Poet Dr. John G. Neihardt and Sculptress Mona Martinson Neihardt, she learned early in life that hard work and ded-ication brought rich rewards. As a child, roaming the Ozark hills on horseback with her sister, Hilda, Alice told anyone who asked that she was going to be a horse trainer when she grew up. Usually met with gales of laughter, she would not be discouraged. After traveling with a ballet troupe all over the United States and Mexico, she enlisted in the Navy and served at Cape Canaveral Naval Base as a Link Trainer Operator, teaching pilots to fly by instrument.
The second World War ended and Alice and her husband, Navy Tail Gunner Chuck Thompson returned to Skyrim Farm to manage and work on the farm. The marriage was not to be, but two daughters, Lynn and Erica , hit the ground running and spent much of their time helping with the chickens, cows and the farm horses.
Never giving up her dream of being a horse trainer, she took lessons from the world-famous Caroline Drew at Christian College Stables, while collecting a few likely looking young prospects to practice on. Upon partnering with Dick Cook, she began gaiting colts and finishing show horses and set up her riding program. Throughout the years, she mentored hundreds of anxious horse enthusiasts to ride and even work their own horses. Children and grandchildren of her first students came throughout the years, all enjoying the riding experience at Skyrim and learning to know, love and care for the horse.
Perhaps Alice Neihardt Thompson’s best gift to the world is her dedication to and love of the horse. She always instilled in her students that life with animals is more meaningful and more realistic than life without them. In the great circle of life, her greatest experiences involve understanding and working together with her beloved animals. Her hope for those she has instructed is that they become complete horsemen, both body and spirit.
MHSA congratulates Alice Neihardt Thompson on her lifetime of helping others and spreading the “good word”.