My Peculiar Disease

Casey - Christiansburg, Virginia
Entered on February 21, 2008
Age Group: Under 18
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

My Peculiar Disease

Casey K

When I first meet someone new, I tend to get a wide variety of reactions when they discover my peculiar disease. It’s surprising considering nearly every person has had it at some point. My disease is slightly contagious, and it’s either a horrific thing or a saving grace. Don’t worry though; if you are over the age of 13, chances are you will never get it. Most have it as a child, and grow out of it. Unfortunately for my parents (and their wallets), I have the type that never goes away. From April to November, nearly every weekend, I gather with youth like me to share in the confounding rituals of our disease. In case you still want to know, I’ve got horse fever.

I was bitten by the horse bug about two seconds after I was born. By age four, I would proudly show anyone stupid enough to ask my large collection of plastic horses. My parents worsened my disease by giving me riding lessons. Nearly 12 years later, I’m a pretty fair rider with my own beautiful horse and the annoying ability to spout off horsy information to anyone who probably doesn’t want to hear it.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year in high school that I considered my addiction with horses to be a disease. Before, riding, hanging out around barns, begging to go to any local show, doing chores just to groom a horse, those were things I just did; horses were me and I didn’t acknowledge any other way of life. But as pressures from peers, school, my parents, and even my horse instructor began to amount, my perspective changed. I started to resent my “disease” that kept me restricted from being a normal teenager because I was always riding. I started believing the kids at school who called me a horse freak. But when I tried to rid myself of the horse disease by not riding and rejecting anything horsy, it didn’t go so well. I got seriously depressed and did everything I could to shut out the rest of the world. It’s always bad when you can see how depressed you are, but you can’t really make yourself care enough.

Ironically, I’m on the road to recovery because of my horse. One bad night, I tried to run away. I grabbed my horse from the barn and took off for the woods near my house with every intention of never coming back. But when I got to the woods I couldn’t do it. My horse was going to suffer if I ran away on her because I wouldn’t be able to take care of her. Instead of running, I got off and cried for a good two hours before we finally went back home. After that night, I started riding nearly every day, or at least hanging out at the barn for a while each afternoon and I’m much better. Because horses saved me from myself, I believe in my peculiar disease.