“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

Photographic proof... they are more than just big dogs- Willow & me 5-2-10

“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” -Winston Churchill

I find this quote surface periodically in my life.  I started riding when I was five and horses have been a part of my life ever since.  I couldn’t imagine life without them and I don’t think my life would be worth living without them.  My horses are part of my family…

I used to ride almost everyday (weather permitting).  Rode up until I was five or six months pregnant with kiddo.  Then life interfered…  I figured it would be easy to get back in the saddle after childbirth… wrong… I now had this needy little person who took up most of my time. Shortly after things seemed to be getting manageable again… John’s cancer came back.  You know the rest of the story.

Now, I’m alone with a toddler.  I can’t just get on a horse a go.  I’m not going to get on a horse without somebody here… it would be bad enough if I’d come off and be injured and unable to get help, but throw a child who can’t dial 911 into the mix and it becomes something I wouldn’t ever even consider doing.  Even the best horse can take a wrong step or spook and rider becomes unhorsed.  As a general rule, I do what I can to keep a leg on both sides and stay in the middle, but from time to time that doesn’t quite work.

So… that leaves me with seven big dogs standing around doing nothing (the only one who’s earned their retirement is Ms. Squall)… the others have no excuse- except that they have me as their “mother.”

At the Beef & Beer, my friend, Steve, volunteered to come watch kiddo so I can get on a horse.  So, we set a time.  The planets aligned and today it happened!  Let me just say it is great to have a friend (make that a few friends) mean what they say and do what they say.  I’ll be honest, it’s a pretty rare trait and greatly appreciated.

So, I brushed Willow and tacked her up.  It was HOT… I believe somewhere in the 90s.  I stuffed my pocket full of peppermint horse treats and lunged her just long enough to make sure there wasn’t too much of an edge but not wear her out.  Willow Bear is not in shape and tends to get balky when she’s worn out.  I didn’t want an argument today… just a nice simple relaxing, rejuvenating, and revitalizing ride…

The neighbor’s dog kept tearing over and ferociously barking.  Luckily, it had me more edgy than Willow, but I didn’t want her to get stupid on me.  So, long story short, I wanted to take a walk to the woods.

Now… common sense would say… Willow doesn’t go out on trails by herself and she’s not a seasoned trail horse… don’t do it.  But… I had Steve there to walk with us.  I figured… it’s Willow… if she gets goofy I get off and lead her.  Unlilke the QHs, he’s not athletic enough to ever be in the PRCA.  You worry more about her taking a wrong step and falling than bucking, rearing, or taking off.  WB also has a tendency to be fairly level headed.

So, we embarked on our adventure.  The QHs were running, bucking, and rearing.  Luckily, WB ignored them.  Overall, she was a very good girl.  Crossing a tiny gully was equated to stepping across the Grand Canyon.  She got a little nervous at times but for the most part behaved.  It was a confidence builder for me & it just felt great to be in the saddle again!!!  Willow also got a few trail horse experience points.

I hope that I can co-ordinate people to watch kiddo, so that I can ride.  I really… REALLY… R E A L L Y needed some saddle time and equine therapy!

About Mary K. Smith

I was widowed in July 2009, when I lost my beloved husband, John, to melanoma. Cancer SUCKS. We have a young son who was just a year old when his father died. I live on a small farm in Maryland which is home to horses, cats, and a dog. I started this blog as a way for me to heal, a way to remember my husband, and eventually I'd like to share it with our son so he can see the love that his father had for him, the love that we had for each other, what a great person his father was, and how hard his father fought to live.
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1 Response to “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.”

  1. dazey says:

    This is my first time for reading your blog, and it is apparent that you’ve been through difficult times that do indeed require equine therapy for a horse person like yourself. It goes without saying that your main focus is your child and will be for a long time in your life, but your love of horses and the ones that wait for you are out there needing you. Although you’ve had a lot of experience with horses, I think you would find a benefit in learning the information in a small paperback narrative Basic Training for a Safe Trail Horse. It contains a description of how to relate to a horse in a way the horse will clearly understand by communicating the way an alpha mare herd member would. Using small amounts of time to build this kind of relationship means minimizing risks and as the subtitle says Eliminating the Fear Factors (for both horse and rider/handler) It is available at Amazon.com for less than ten dollars, and I feel it would provide some unexpected inspiration for you!

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