I was really touched recently to hear on the news about a lady who was dying in hospital and one of her last wishes was to see her beloved horse before she passed away. Happily, this wish was in fact granted by the hospital, and (as I’m sure you can imagine) the resultant images were really moving (you can read more about the story here).
Anyone who has ever had a close bond with a horse would have automatically related to those images, particularly the love and affection that was so clearly visible between the horses and the sick elderly lady. It got me thinking about just how amazing that bond between horse and human really is.
Throughout history, horses have carried us through war, they have transported our cargo (and us!) have been a status symbol for the wealthy and have entertained us along the way too.
And why would they do this? After all, if an animal weighing some 1,200lbs that not only allows you to sit on its back, but is actually prepared to work with you because it wants to work with you, that is indicative of a pretty special relationship indeed. Let’s face it, should a horse choose not to cooperate with you, well, there is not a lot that you can do about it!
Watching successful partnerships in the competition arena further magnifies the special bond, based on an unspoken trust and confidence, which both horse and rider have with each other. As any rider will tell you, it can take months, if not years, to build these essential relationship ingredients.
Horses have also been used in therapy with much success, chiefly to help people with behavioural and mental issues to overcome difficulties, and they have even been used in corporate team building days to highlight just how important leadership skills are and how communication and team work can reach a successful outcome.
As riders, we too can relate to these areas. The soothing effect which horses can have on your mood is unparalleled; even after a bad day at the office, time spent with a horse always gives you the opportunity to ‘forget about all of your troubles’, even for just a short while. Training a horse also takes patience and understanding, which teaches valuable lessons in creating positive relationships based on mutual respect and hard work.
So all in all, it’s not “just a horse”; it’s a meaningful relationship between equestrian and equine, and it’s really something quite wonderful.