Adult amateur Kiira Harkins was destined to be apart of the Arabian horse industry, even before she was born. She likes to joke that she was practically born in the saddle since her mother was riding while pregnant with her. The rest has been history as Harkins has shown since she was a young girl and garnered many national titles across different disciplines. We decided to catch up with her and feature her on the Show Season blog!
SS: How did you get involved with horses? Have you always been involved with Arabians?
Kiira: My mother and grandmother, Kristin Harkins and Jan Colwell, have been involved with Arabians for over 40 years and my mom was riding while pregnant with me. I have been blessed to grow up with Arabians and to spend the last 23 years (plus nine months in utero) with these beautiful and intelligent animals.
SS: Besides showing, are horses a part of your daily life?
Kiira: My family owns Windabrae Farm, a breeding farm in Chillicothe, OH and most of the horses that we have ridden and shown over the years are homegrown. Breeding holds endless interest for me and I enjoy researching different bloodlines and crosses to inform decisions we make with our broodmares. Since graduating college last year, I work full time at The Ohio State University College of Dentistry and no longer live at home, but I always look forward to weekends when I am able to visit with the babies and my old retired show horses, Thank Ghaz, Forty Second Street, and Windabrae.
SS: What is your favorite horse show memory?
Kiira: It is so difficult to pick just one from a lifetime of wonderful show memories, and most of them are simply the varied bonding moments that happen spontaneously with family, friends and trainers. Today, my favorite is my 2006 win with Forty Second Street at Youth Nationals in the 13 & under Half-Arabian English Pleasure. Two years previous, this horse had sent me to the ICU with serious chest trauma after flipping over backwards and stepping on me to right himself. He had a temper and was notoriously difficult to ride, but I was up for the challenge and we kept pushing forward. I remember almost falling off of him when Tony announced our reserve championship. My whole family was there and we were all so emotional. There were no dry eyes.
SS: Do you have any good luck rituals before showing?
Kiira: I hold that hard work and careful preparation is the best formula for good luck, however my sister and I have a route we run through whenever we show. We both loved the Dinotopia novels and film growing up, and the characters in that universe have a distinctive way of greeting, reassuring, and saying farewell to one another. One of us will place a fist over our heart and say, “fly high.” Whichever of us is about to show we will reciprocate the hand gesture and say, “breathe deep.” This will be followed by an emphatic, “seek peace.” We don’t necessarily do it for good luck. It is more of a statement to go ride your ride and come what may!
SS: What is your favorite Show Season garment?
Kiira: The contrasting coat I wear when I show Voulez Vu is my easy favorite. It has a silver base with an overlaying navy blue floral design and the pants are a sheeny, light navy with a windowpane pattern. The vest is a plain navy sequin fabric and the shirt is a subtle blue and white herringbone print. A navy tie with a light blue, royal blue, and yellow floral paisley design completes the look. This suit is eye-catching, beautiful, impeccably tailored, and blends as to compliment my horse perfectly. Thank you, Melissa!
SS: What are your plans for the rest of this year?
Kiira: I am looking forward to showing at Region 14 in a few weeks and then US Nationals in October. I might give the whole hunter business another go as well!
We want to wish Kiira and her family the best of luck the rest of this Show Season – thank you for letting us be apart of the ride!