Submitted by Christine Longnecker.
We all have special horses that enter our lives, teach us important life lessons, and help make us better people. Equestrians know how influential our silent partners are and how easily (and loudly!) they speak, even if they aren’t using words.
“Epp” came into my life 7 years ago. The details of his past could easily fill an essay of their own, so let me simply say that he came to me distant and aloof, fed up with humans and the pain that had been inflicted on him. At one point he had likely broken his back and breastbone, but instead of vet care, his owners abandoned him. With the love and security I offered him, however, I have watched him blossom as a loving, compassionate, and carefree horse. He has carried me through Preliminary in eventing, he has been with me through the good and the bad, and he has most definitely saved me and put me back on track in a thousand different ways.
The most meaningful way he has put me back on track, however, was probably right after my father died. In 2011 my dad suddenly passed away, and it was Epp who helped me make it through. I have never been one to cry, and I have always felt the need to hold my emotions back so my family can have a rock to lean on. Epp never bought the facade, however. He was the only one I could cry to, the only one who I knew would hug me close and just let me be; I didn’t need an “I’m sorry,” I didn’t need to talk about it, and I didn’t want to deal with people. I just needed a quiet, strong shoulder to sob on, and that’s exactly what Epp has always offered. He stands like a saint and patiently watches over me while I cry until I just don’t have any tears left. After the tears have dried, he gives me a little nudge to remind me that life is a beautiful gift that we should never take for granted. He shows me that the loved ones we lost are still all around us, and, after all he has experienced in his life, he is living proof that you can move forward through tragedies.
Here at Horse Nation, we believe that the best therapists are our own horses. We love sharing the stories of special equines and the lessons horses have taught us — 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!