This post was originally published here, on the Cavvy Savvy website.
Spend enough time with horses, and they become a part of you. The horsehair, the sweat, their smell- it covers the body and fills the soul. Just like a drug, it only takes one encounter to become hooked for life.
There have been so many horses that have left their footprints on my heart. Horses that have stolen my breath, kicked the crap out of me, reminded me to be humble, taught me to enjoy the ride, and forced me to be patient. Some have hurt me, some have healed me, but they have all taught me more than any human ever could.
Horses are, in my opinion, the greatest gift that God gave to mankind. He planted a seed of hope in these beasts; and I believe that when we look to a horse for comfort and strength, we find more than just hope; we find pieces of ourselves that were missing, lost, or just hidden down deep. I have heard that time heals all wounds, and that when life gets too hard, a doctor can prescribe a nice little pill to put you back together. Truth be told, there is no drug, no person, no book in the world that can put a person’s broken pieces back together. Whenever my heart has been broken, I could always count on my horse to push me past the pain. To guide me towards the light. To give me a shoulder to cry on, and provide me shelter from the storms when I so desperately needed it. No doctor could ever prescribe a medication that could even come close to the benefits of equine therapy.
I recently read an article in a major horse magazine about how there are several programs where horses are being used to help Veterans overcome PTSD. Through the tears, I read how horses and mules had helped a young man find his way through the darkness of depression. How being responsible for the lives of animals forced him to worry less about himself, and by becoming their leader, he found pieces of himself he thought he had lost. I realized that these creatures can soften the hardest of hearts, and the love they give becomes unconditional once we earn their trust. If they can teach someone that has been to hell and back how to live again, then the rest of us would do well to spend a little time getting some horse therapy, too.
Nowhere am I more accepting of who I am as a person, as when I sit in the saddle. My horse and I share a bond that nothing can break; he understands me and reminds me that we are all a work in progress. To stare into his eyes, to smell that earthy scent of his hide; that is where I find my true self. Where I find my solace in a world that has gone crazy. Where I can just be me, flaws and all. My horses are my muses, my saviours, and my best friends. They are my drug. They are, after my children and my husband, the best gifts God has ever given me.
I don’t know about all of you, but I can’t wait for the days to start getting longer so I can saddle up and leave these winter blues in the dust!