Rollinsford, NH: On September 3, 2023, Jessie Aikman died from injuries she received while pursuing her lifelong dream of competitive horseback riding. She was born on July 29, 1957 in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Robin and Walter Aikman and lived most of her life on the family farm in Rollinsford, NH. The oldest of six, her siblings referred to her as “The Warden” due to assertive leadership style. She was an absolute badass whose unique blend of kindness, sass, and spirited stick-to-itiveness were present throughout her life.
She loved animals from an early age. By the age of ten, when she wasn’t riding real horses, she and her sisters practiced trick riding on their bicycles, tying twine to the handlebars to use as reins. She competed in equestrian eventing in high school and worked on the family dairy farm. She attended the University of New Hampshire where she graduated with a degree in Animal Science. As an adult, she loved her many dogs and horses wholeheartedly.
Jessie had many skills and hobbies, and she excelled in all of them. Jessie was the owner of Back Channel Canvas Shop in Eliot, ME, and was known by many to be a genius when it came to designing and crafting custom awnings, boat tops, and other structures out of canvas. She began collecting and riding antique motorcycles in the 1980s, and was the president of the Yankee Chapter of the American Antique Motorcycle Association for several years. She was a skilled knitter and pursued many other creative passions including baking quilting, photography, ceramics, and playing the flute. She was fiercely competitive and always loved to win, whether that be in a quilt show, a dog agility competition, or just a “friendly game of Cribbage.”
When she was in her mid-fifties, after a life-changing trail ride in the mountains near Telluride, Colorado and in the midst of a decades-long battle with rheumatoid arthritis, Jessie decided to bring horses back into her life and pursue her childhood dream of competitive equine eventing in earnest. She dedicated many hours to practicing, and found success both in competitions and in achieving her goals as an athlete. She became known in the horse world as a rockstar and was admired by teammates and competitors alike for her “balls,” her determination, and great sense of humor.
Jessie will be sorely missed by her husband Mike Lingley, her mother, and her siblings Lucy Putnam, William Aikman and Sophie Aikman all of Rollinsford, NH; Lorna Mehta of New York, NY and Robert Aikman of Fairbanks, AK, her beloved stepson, her extended family and her many niblings, grandchildren, and friends. We will never forget her indefatigable generosity, her miraculous ability to incorporate the “f bomb” into any sentence, or her “mile high apple pie.”
A celebration of life will be held at a later date in the future. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations:
US Eventing Association Foundation: A memorial fund has been set up in Jessie’s honor through the Area 1 USEA Adult Rider Program. Donations to the fund can be made at https://www.cognitoforms.com/USEA2/Area1AdultRidersProgramDonation
NH SPCA in Stratham for their dog and horse rescue programs: https://nhspca.org/donate-today/