Often in our busy lives we find it hard to take a break. It can be hard to stop those negative thoughts spiralling around in our brains. But to have a healthy balance in life, we need to learn to let them go.
My whole life I have shared this with horses and they have helped me do exactly that. Like so many other people my age, I have struggled with friendships at school, leaving me feeling used and isolated. Each and every week, I have lived for the weekend, knowing it would bring me to my favourite place, where everyone comes together not to share their problems but to share their passion for horses.
I rode at one stable for many years, and over those years I fell in love with all the horses that crossed my path, though there was one in particular. He was a troubled horse who had been through many different owners in the previous years and even though he was only part of my life for a short period of time I had a deep connection with him. I felt like a hole had been ripped inside of me when I arrived one day excited to see him, only to be told that he had gone to another home.
The hardest thing was not being able to say goodbye or to even see him again. When this place closed a few weeks later I began to sink deeper into myself and my friends noticed something changing as well.
A few months later, I found Soo's yard and my life filled with happiness again. These beautiful creatures had entered my life once again and the hole inside of me began to stitch itself back together. I leased a horse there for a few months who was the kindest, most loving animal I knew and everyone who looked at him fell in love with his gorgeous, big brown eyes and his beautiful personality. Every time I saw him I smiled, he was always there to cheer me up or to offer a gentle shoulder to lean on.
However, he fell seriously ill and within a few weeks, he was gone as well. I again felt overwhelming grief and the hole in me opened up again. Once more, I never got to say goodbye to him and I would cry myself to sleep at night, longing to feel his mane run through my hands and his soft muzzle on my face one more time. My grades started to drop and I began to feel myself slowly fading into myself again.
A short time later, Soo gave me a lesson with one of her horses and immediately I felt a connection to him. He has suffered pain and agony in the hands of previous owners, but he has one of the kindest souls and I feel privileged that he has allowed me to be his friend. I realise that he could throw me off at any moment, or do something to hurt me but he doesn’t, and I feel honoured that he trusts me like he does.
As soon as I started playing with him, instantly my negative thoughts vanished and the hole in me began to heal again. I suddenly felt like I was needed and I was able to focus on all the positives in life and the task at hand without interruptions. He has helped me through many trials and tribulations and he has kept me sane, and without him, I would not be the person I am today. The joy I feel when I see him, and the way he makes my heart fill with warmth is second to none. Although he isn’t mine, and I only see him once a week, he is one of my best friends and I cherish each and every moment of time that I spend with him.
He has taught me patience, confidence, self-belief, to become a better leader and to trust without dominating. My grades at school have improved, and I am able to express myself in a way that I couldn’t before. We share a bond like no other and no matter what happens, he will always have a special place in my heart.
Each horse that has crossed my path has taught me something different, however big or small it is, and I feel so fortunate to be able to have these magnificent animals as a part of my life. Everyone deserves the chance to experience, at least once, the love and kindness that horses give us because a whole new world will open up inside you.