Back on Track ‘Horse Therapy’: Stesha and Dodge

Moving is hard, especially when you’re young. Stesha Payne shares the story of how, even amidst all the changes, a horse took up residence in her heart.

From Stesha:

When I hear the word “moving,” I cringe. To me, its an evil word. A simple word that can mean so much. Its means leaving all of your friends, your family, everything you know, and going somewhere where you know nothing.

When I was in the third grade, my Dad changed jobs, and my life was uprooted away from friends and family and moved to western Kentucky. More importantly to me, it meant leaving behind the pole barn my family and I had worked so hard to build from the ground up, and inside that pole barn, were my hopes of having a horse of my own.

Through five years in Kentucky, I made friends with people who had horses and was able to ride here and there. Of course that wouldn’t last though. We were moving, again, this time to eastern Tennessee. After goodbyes were said to my friends, we made the drive to Tennessee, to move into a smaller house we would be renting. Upon arrival, I came to the realization that a horse would NOT fit in the small, chained-link backyard. Thankfully though, we found a local stable and I was able to take lessons.

Each night I would search the web for horses for sale, dreaming of being able to call one my own. I loved the horse I rode, but he wasn’t MINE. Yet again though, we moved after a short two years. After a rough good-bye to the horse I loved, and all of my friends, we headed north to Michigan.

This time, I was persistent in my efforts to get a horse. We searched for houses with enough acreage for a horse, and if we were lucky, a barn. To my surprise, my prayers were answered. We landed a house with a barn, two stalls, and eight acres. I impatiently waited for spring, and then began looking for a horse to call mine. The search was short, because I fell in love with what I think is the cutest little horse in the world, named Dodge.

Now, my life revolves around Dodge and my past pains of leaving everything and everyone are gone. I am no longer angry at my parents for the moves I have been through; instead I am grateful. I had no idea why God would move me to such places, but now I know it was to lead me to meet Dodge. If Dodge isn’t proof that horses are the best therapy, I don’t know what is.


Here at Horse Nation, we believe that the best therapists are our own horses. We love sharing the stories of special equines — email yours to [email protected] to be featured in an upcoming edition of Back on Track “Horse Therapy.” Go Back on Track, and Go Riding!


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