By Frank J. Buchman
Horse enthusiasts throughout the Midwest have lost one of their very own.
Carolyn Kaberline, 72, Topeka, passed away December 17, 2020, at the Promise House of Overland Park.
A lifelong horse admirer, Carolyn bred and showed horses successfully collecting many awards locally and across the country. Likewise, she was prominently recognized as a writer for state and regional publications including several horse magazines.
As close to Carolyn’s soul as her faith and love for everything horses was her heartfelt dedication as a teacher. She taught language arts and journalism for 50 years.
Committed to horse leadership and writing about horses, Carolyn was inducted into the Better Horses Network Hall of Fame.
“I was a typical horse crazy kid living in Topeka,” Carolyn reflected at that time.
“All I ever wanted for a Christmas or birthday present was a horse,” she insisted. “My folks said when you can afford one, you can get one. It wasn’t that a horse cost so much. But it was expensive to have a place to keep and care for a horse.”
Horse ownership didn’t become a realization until Carolyn was a student studying journalism at Kansas State University in Manhattan.
“When I was a college sophomore, the Shawnee County Teachers Recreation Club had a cooperative barn on Topeka’s east side. Unbelievable now, members could board a horse for a dollar a month, maybe a little more in the winter,” Carolyn remembered.
However to be a member, one had to be a teacher or be studying to become one. So the obvious thing for Carolyn to do was to change her major to education.
“I bought a four-year-old green broke Appaloosa gelding. I had my own horse and was really excited,” Carolyn admitted.
Still, that horse was just too much for a newcomer. “I didn’t have him long and traded for a grade ranch gelding called Chico. He was a great horse for me,” Carolyn contended.
She went trail riding and even rode Chico in shows at the boarding facility. “I didn’t really have the foggiest idea what I was doing,” Carolyn admitted. “But I had a horse and was having the time of my life.”
Deciding she wanted a registered horse, Carolyn bought her own college graduation present. “I got my first teaching job at Mayetta High School. Then I bought a sorrel three-year-old registered Quarter Horse mare named Wimpy’s Flit,” she said.
Soon acquiring a trailer as well, Carolyn showed the mare at halter while working on riding improvement.
Taking a teaching job at Caney, Carolyn moved there with her horse, soon becoming friends with other horse owners.
“You know how it is when you have a mare, the next thing is raising a baby,” Carolyn said. “I went stallion shopping and decided to mate my mare to Cedar Chant who Dean Smith was standing.”
The result was a bay mare named Enchanted Flit. “She was racy built and hot,” explained the horsewoman who’d by then was teaching at Perry.
Boarding her horses north of Topeka moving forward, Carolyn raised most of her own horses in preference to buying them.
“I bred Enchanted Flit to Impressive Too which produced Too Enchanted, my first really top show horse,” Carolyn said.
Placed in training with Mark Gratny, the mare collected a superior award in open halter and won many amateur classes.
“Too Enchanted was broke to ride. But, Teddi, as we called her, was really a tank and showed best at halter,” the owner claimed. “Teddi had 39 grand and reserve grand championships qualifying twice for the world show.”
Always wanting to ride in competition successfully, Carolyn acquired a proven register of merit show horse named Baretta Lark. “He was a lot of fun, and we placed well,” she said.
In addition to teaching at Mayetta and Caney, Carolyn taught 41 years at Perry-Lecompton High School. Her last four years teaching were at Mater Dei Catholic Middle School in Topeka.
“When I was in school, my teachers always told me; ‘You’ll be a teacher.’ I always said, ‘No. I’ll never teach.’ Look what a horse can make one do,” Carolyn smiled.
Actually, the horsewoman-author enjoyed writing science fiction too, and was a script consultant for several Star Trek fan films.
“Like Winston Churchill said, ‘The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.’ For a woman like me, too,” Carolyn Kaberline surmised.
Born in Topeka, on January 17, 1948, the daughter of Leonard and Betty Jane (Hladky) Kaberline, Carolyn attended Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic School. She graduated from Hayden High School, received her bachelor’s degree from K-State and master’s degree from Baker University.
Lifelong member of Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church, Carolyn was a Shunga Valley 4-H leader. She was active in both the Astronomy Club and the Star Trek Group.
Survivors include two brothers Steven (Paula) Kaberline, Farmington Hills, Michigan, and Kevin (Cheri) Kaberline, McPherson. She was preceded in death by her parents, whom she cared for up to their final days.
Mass of Christian Burial is Wednesday, December 23, 2020, at Most Pure Heart of Mary Catholic Church with interment at Mount Calvary Cemetery.
Memorials may be made to Catholic Charities in care of Brennan-Mathena Funeral Home, 800 Southwest 6th Avenue, Topeka, Kansas 66603.
Carolyn Kaberline rode her register of merit show horse Baretta Lark to collect many awards. Home-raised Too Enchanted was shown by Carolyn Kaberline twice at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show in amateur mares.
Pretty Enchanted was shown by Carolyn Kaberline to place second in the Kansas Breeders Futurity.