The Roanoke Valley equestrian community was left reeling last weekend as word spread that one of their brightest stars had died.
Tabitha Thompson, 39, of Fincastle, died Friday after she was hit by an SUV while riding her bike on Route 11 just north of Troutville.
Thompson was a longtime horsewoman and active in horse shows and other equestrian activities throughout the Roanoke Valley and beyond. For several years she organized and ran the popular Cross View Farm Horse Show series at Green Hill Equestrian Center, building a show that provided hundreds of local riders a chance to compete. The show series offered classes in many disciplines while keeping a fun, supportive atmosphere at the forefront of the competition.
She, herself, was an avid rider, competing in AQHA and APHA shows around the region including the APHA Eastern National Championship, the AQHA Level One Novice Championships, and the All-American Quarter Horse Congress with her bay mare Too Tuf To Be Fancy, who she called Lila.
View the gallery below to see the many photos that featured Thompson and her mare Lila in Roanoke Equestrian over the past several years.
Thompson’s is lovingly remembered for her penchant for helping others. An outpouring of love filled social media as friends, family, and acquaintances shared memories and utter disbelief at her passing. Many told stories of how she had made them not just better riders, but also better people. Others shared stories of Thompson’s generosity, of times she even offered her own horses or riding facilities to help others succeed. In stories of how her infectious positivity inspired so many, words such as “sweet,” “caring,” “kind,” and “selfless” were repeated again and again.
Thompson was well-known in other circles as well. She touched countless lives as a beloved nurse, working for many years at Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital. She had recently graduated from the nurse practitioners program at Duke University School of Nursing. She was also an avid runner, competing in the Blue Ridge Marathon and other running competitions.
The Silver Snaffle Horse Show series, set for April 9, July 2, Nov. 19 at Green Hill Park Equestrian Center, will be held in Thompson’s memory. A special showmanship challenge will honor Thompson’s love for that class, using the pattern that she performed at last year’s Quarter Horse Congress. For more information on how you can help support the show, click here.
Read Thompson’s obituary here.