A friend once told me, “Life is just better with a Horse in it.”
I have had a lifelong love affair with horses, and it keeps getting better all of the time. My very first memory was when I was about four years old. I saw a little book at the grocery store that had a horse on the cover. I remember it because of the feeling I had. It was a feeling of pure joy. I didn’t want to leave that photo. It took me until I was into my 30s until I got my first horse.
These photos are of my daughters, Roeya, age 17 in County Cork, Ireland, and Hana, age 10, in Carmel Valley, California. Roeya and I had a super fun trip to Ireland. We attended the Dublin Horse show with my intent that I would break the spell of not having a horse. It worked; as soon as I returned I managed to get my first horse, H.R. I didn’t learn until I had owned him for two years that H.R. stood for “High Regard.”
High Regard taught me so much about Will, Power and Beauty. These are some of the main qualities that horses posses, as well as High Regard. I needed to learn about all of these qualities. For me, the main quality was a loving relationship. He taught me that I was telepathic.
At that time, the thought of the day was that the rider told the horse what to do and it was non-negotiable. I had a different way. For the first half of the ride I would tell H.R. where to go, and the second half he could choose our trail. I was rewarded one day as I wanted to go left but he wanted to go right. We went right, as it was his turn, and we came upon a doe with her fawn. H.R. walked right up to the mama deer, and they touched noses. That was such a blessing for me.
Over the next few years our relationship grew, and I began trusting our telepathic communication more. By now I allowed him to have his home in a 50 acre pasture, rather than a stall. It was quite a hike to go and catch him. I thought one day, “I will tell H.R. I’m coming for a ride, telepathically.” It worked. I drove out to the ranch, and there he was standing at the gate. Some days I would forget to send the telepathic message and he would be far up the hill standing under the oak tree with his two palomino girlfriends.
The photo of Hana, age 10, is with her first horse, Nugget. She got up at 5:00 am that morning with so much excitement to be with her very own first horse. Nugget couldn’t be ridden, though he gave her so much love as she groomed and cared for him until the next year when she got her second horse, Cheyenne.
There are many ways to enjoy the gifts of horses without owning one. Many SPCAs have horses, and you can volunteer to care for them. There are also many non-profit organizations that care for abandoned and neglected horses. Elisa Wallace has some amazing YouTube videos of her training and rehabilitation work with wild mustangs.
My favorite virtual way of being with horses is YouTube videos, like Warwick
Schiller’s shown below, and movies. My favorite movies are The Black Stallion, Seabiscuit and Secretariat. All of these movies demonstrate the close friendship and love you can have with a horse.
There are many groups now that do Horse Therapy for any number of ailments. For me, being with any horse has always been therapeutic. The smell of the hay, hearing my horse eat and even the smells of the barn: leather, manure and the horses themselves.
Recently Hana volunteered at HAPI Trails, a nonprofit. At her orientation they told her, “Come anytime, even if you just need to smell the horses.”
Rein Dance is an international organization for therapeutic and recreational riding, and PATH Intl. certifies instructors… to name a couple I’m aware of.