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Alice Neihardt Thompson began her Great Adventure on Saturday, June 27, 2020. At the time of her passing, she was a resident of the Mexico Veterans Home in Mexico, Missouri. Her children Lynn and Erica and longtime personal caretaker Firehawk Warren were by her side. The family wishes to thank the wonderful staff at the Mexico Veterans Home for their special care every day and night.
Alice was born August 4, 1921 in Branson, Missouri. Her parents were John G. Neihardt, poet and writer, and Mona Martensen Neihardt, sculptress and great mom. Alice and her three siblings, Sigurd, Enid and Hilda, were raised in Branson because it reminded Mona of the Black Forrest where she grew up in Germany.
In 1939, Alice took ballet from Madam Cassan in St. Louis, Missouri. She and her troupe of dancers performed across the United States and Mexico.
After a stint as a Navy WAVE during the Second World War, Alice and her family moved to Columbia, Missouri to her beloved Skyrim Farm. She began Skyrim Stables in 1951. Alice dedicated her life to her love of horses and for decades, she infected others with that love. With the guidance of her friend and mentor, Uncle Dick Cook, she learned the craft of training and showing Saddlebred horses. She not only mastered the craft; Alice broke down barriers that set the stage for women in the showring today. Fifty years ago, she was showing her beloved stallion Skyrim’s Bourbon Stonewall in professional classes against the best male trainers of the era. She pushed into the male dominated world of professional horsemen and never seemed to find a barrier that applied to her.
Alice always saw things her own way and she saw them clearly. Her enthusiasm was infectious. She brought many young people into the Saddlebred world as a result. Lessons were for everyone who wanted to learn and many did, including those who could not have afforded to be involved in any other barn.
If you ever talked with Alice, you could tell immediately how intensely and passionately she felt about horses and people and the arts that she loved. Where it was opera, dance, horses or spiritualism, she let you know it was important. There was always a twinkle in those blue eyes and an animation from her petite dancer’s form that energized the room. Whether she was talking about a horse or her father’s writings, you could feel something there that transcended normal interactions.
A celebration of life is tentatively planned around the time of Alice’s upcoming August birthday. Details will be forthcoming. Alice’s loving family takes solace in the knowledge that she’s back in a ring of greats with her parents, Black Elk, Uncle Dick and of course, riding Bourbon once again.