Back on Track ‘Horse Therapy’: Jessica, Deb & Sorry

Each week we feature reader-submitted stories about horses that have gotten them “back on track” after a rough patch. Today Jessica Coulson shares the story of her horse, Sorry.


“Sorry.” What an odd name for a horse. I’ve gotten laughed at many times when people ask what my mare’s name is. She’s a pretty ordinary looking horse to many, a bay with no white markings. Pretty in her own way, if you know her well enough. I had taken a couple lessons on her when I was a child at a local lesson farm and cried when I had to leave her for weeks. She’s a strong, steady mare with a stubborn streak about a mile wide.

This is half of my story, and half of Deb’s.

Sorry has gotten me through many tough times as a kid. The world didn’t understand me as a 13-year-old? Sorry did. Boy broke my heart? Sorry would never. Many nights, I could be found sleeping in her stall out in the barn. Her back carried all of the taunts I received from others calling me names, her strength gave me the confidence to keep my head up, even when the tears flowed down. Up on her, we soared over obstacles; she gave me flight.

I am now 23 years old and my beautiful, ordinary mare is giving others the same strength she had always given me. I am lucky enough to be able to share her with others. Especially Debbie Rose.

Deb came to me as a young, bright 4-year-old whose face lit up more than I’ve ever seen when she was on a horse. Sorry was the horse she wanted to be on, and I laughed, because their natures were the same. Stubborn, but gentle and easy going.

Debbie was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma on March 5, 2013. Sorry is all that she talks about in the hospital; where she spends her breaks in between treatments. When Debbie became paralyzed from the waist down due to a surgery, that did not stop her from riding and showing Sorry. My old mare was once again providing the strength and confidence to someone in need, as she had done for me so many years ago, and still continues to do today.

They say horses are like their owners. Well, I would be half as lucky to be what this mare is. I learned many tough lessons from Sorry. Fear, and how to face it. Laughter, even after a hard fall. Forgiveness, and how to give it. An hour of a lesson turned into years of loving that old, ordinary mare. She taught me how to live.

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!

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