1941 – 2020
As horses are indelibly etched on the human soul, Gerard Andre Kirsch made an eternal impact on countless people in his bold and fearless life.
Gerard died unexpectedly, on April 3, 2020 in Pensacola, Florida, leaving a void in hearts and communities throughout the U.S. and across the Atlantic Ocean. Gerard, born June 19, 1941 in Paris, France, discovered his passion for horses at the age of 11. By 18, he was a horse trainer, and at 25 was the youngest person ever awarded the Diplom D’Ecuyer Professeur. He was a riding instructor at the famed Cadre Noir at Saumur France and was chosen to represent France in the 1968 Olympics.
A spirited soul, he came to America in 1989, living in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, California and Lexington, Virginia while teaching riding clinics throughout the United States, ultimately settling in Pensacola, Florida in 1995.
His thick French accent (which curiously never lessened) endeared him to strangers, was the source of comic moments, and led to a legendary reputation. A tall man with sparkling blue eyes, he was imposing in stature, but gentle in heart and smile. “To love is to give” was his mantra and boy, how he did both.
His was a supernatural connection to horses, a vocation that requires patience and determination, which he infused in all parts of his being. He loved his family, students, and friends in ways that changed lives. He pushed his students’ comfort zones in riding and challenged them to be the best they could in life. He tirelessly worked to stay connected to friends and family across the globe. He worked harder and loved bread more than most.
He led an exceptional life, spending many years with the love of his life walking by his side, children and grandchildren whom he loved dearly, and students who often credit him with guiding them to the right paths in life. All who knew him will continue to make this world a better place just like he did. He will be missed forever.
He was preceded in death by his father, Andre Kirsch; mother, Fernande and brothers, Didier and Richard Kirsch, Sr. and is survived by his spouse, Becky (O’Neill) Kirsch; children, Isabelle Kirsch (Ivan) Monnier and David Kirsch; step children, Juan, Carlos and Mayumi Elegado, and his grandchildren, Sebastien, Marion, and Claire Monnier.
A virtual celebration of life will take place on Saturday, April 25, at 11 a.m. The family requests donations in lieu of flowers to Leaning Post Ranch (theleaningpostranch.org).