Back on Track ‘Horse Therapy’: Ginny and Pete

When Ginny Harrison lost her dear friend and fellow equestrian, she took comfort in the horse that bound them together.


My Equine Therapists

‘Micki’ (as she was known by to those closest to her) was always a very dear friend to me. She was always helpful, funny, energetic, super encouraging and just so full of life. When I first moved into my own apartment, she not only helped me move from one side of town to the other, but also offered to help decorate and paint! Throughout our relationship she helped me purchase an upper level prospect for myself, took on the role of wedding planner extraordinaire for my wedding, and was always important in my life.

Micki was a typical amateur rider herself but always loved to ride and jump! So she took my old Preliminary and Intermediate partner Pete when he needed an easier life, and she wanted to get back into jumping.  Pete had always been a very special horse to me so it seemed fitting that such a dear friend should be the one to take over and learn on him. He would reap the benefits of lighter work and being spoiled by Micki and she would have a great teacher! It was perfect! They did some local jumper shows and she was really getting back into the swing of things and loved Pete.

I remember the day before she passed away, I spoke to her on the phone and we had planned to go on a trail ride together the next day. It had been awhile since we had gone out together since our horses were kept at different barns. Micki and I were both looking forward to catching up on a relaxing ride.

But instead of riding the next morning, her husband called delivering terrible and unthinkable news. Micki was gone. Later we would learn that she had been living with a blockage in one of the vales leading to her heart. It all had happened way too fast.

I was in such a state of disbelief, shock and sadness. But there was one connection we still shared, Pete.

Her husband gave Pete back to me saying that he knew Micki would have wanted me to have him, that she had always still thought of him as a horse she shared with me. Pete was my connection to that dear friend I had lost.

Sadly, 6 months after I had gotten Pete back, he got a very severe case of colic. Even after being taken to the emergency equine hospital where he was prepped for surgery, we couldn’t save him. Pete was 17 yrs old.

Pete had taken my younger brother to his first training level event, had carried me to my first intermediate events, carried students of mine through training level 3 days and pony club championships, and lastly had been my dear friend’s partner in her return to jumping and the show ring that she had missed.

I lost two friends that year but I will forever be grateful for my last months with Pete and the time that we spent together remembering my dear friend.  It will always be a special time that I had to be able to say goodbye to two beloved friends.

I know that they are hacking around together again now. And I will keep riding here until I can go hacking with them one day again.

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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