I believe in horses as healers. Whether I’m riding or mucking out stalls, all my problems and stresses don’t seem as important when I am with them. It might be difficult to believe that forking dirty straw out of a wooden box or bouncing along astride an animal that is as unpredictable as St. Louis weather is a form of relaxation for some of us, but the horses don’t care what I’m wearing or if my makeup is “au courant” for the season. All that matters is that I’m there.
When I was younger, my aunt owned a barn. When we would visit her I climbed on to a trusty little Shetland Pony named Sugar. Learning to be one with another animal gave me strength that felt indescribable when I was six years old. I loved the fact that my strength and confidence seemed to multiply when I rode. The methodical rhythm and easy way of approaching obstacles that horses have mastered gave me (and still gives) me determination.
There is a special horse that has helped me become a better person and rider. Because of him, I try to think before I do things and I have so much more compassion for the sport. Evey week I can hardly wait to go out to the barn and ride. His name is Cal and he is a two year old buckskin paint pony. He is the most trusting and caring animal I have ever met in my life. Sometimes I wish I was more like him. You ask him to do something and he does it, no complaints or questions. He trusts that I won’t hurt or put him in danger. When I come to his stall door, he trots up and shoves his nose into my hands. I like to think it’s because he cares about me as much as I care about him. Feeling like someone is looking up to me heals the part inside that says I am untrustworthy because I have made bad decisions. His faith in me encourages me to do my best.
In 5th grade, I had a lot of grade related issues. I didn’t try as hard as I should have in science and my Trimester 2 mid-term grade was a C+. This did not please my parents. They took away my horse back riding until my grade went up to at least a B. Those months without horses were incredibly hard. It showed me how much I lean on horses with my problems. When I had fights with friends, I missed being able to cry into the mane of a horse and letting them slowly but surely heal my wounds and dry my tears. The horses would stay by me for as long as I needed, they didn’t shy away at my problems and were willing to listen. I worked in school to pull up my grade and when Trimester 2 final grades came in, I had a B+. Going back and seeing the horses who were more like my best friends was the best reward I could’ve received for that good grade.
I’d have to say that the think I like the most about horses is their ability to never judge. Sometimes at school or at home, we are looked down upon and treated unequally from our peers. Not being judged by them is one of their healing powers. I never feel insecure when I’m around a horse because their hearts are always open no matter what you look like or the mistakes you make. A very wise unknown author once said, “A dog looks up to a man, a cat looks down on a man, but a patient horse looks a man in the eye and sees him as an equal.”
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