Back on Track ‘Horse Therapy’: Horses That Save Us

Sometimes your horse is there for you when it seems that the rest of the world has turned its back. Susan Smith shares her story.

Horses will always be an important part of my life. But there is one horse that saved me.

He was a 16-hand OTTB, and I was a 10-year-old girl. Everyone at the barn thought my mom was crazy for buying me this huge horse, but my mom saw in my eyes that it was LOVE. We bonded immediately, and I spent every minute at the barn with him.  We played hide and seek, raced in the pasture, jumped anything we could find, and napped together in his stall.

Fast-forward 5 years: I still have my chestnut bestie, and my parents are divorcing. Dad says the horse HAS TO GO. Thankfully my mom stood up and fought for him. Through all of my parents’ fights, name calling, court battles, police visits and many tears, there was always one steady friend: my horse. When I was old enough to leave home at 18, I packed my things and his, and we left. I kept my best friend until the day he died in my arms when I was 28.

I still have a piece of his mane that I keep in a picture frame collage in my room. I will treasure the memories of him and the lessons I learned from him forever. I pass on his teaching to my current OTTB, and there will be a piece of him in every horse I learn with in the future.

red horse
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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