Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Horse's Instinct

I am curretnly reading "Beyond the Homestretch", a memoir by a woman who started a rescue organization for race horses. While many horses come through the organization to be rehabilitated the book highlights horses that have stood out for some reason. One chapter is devoted to a chestnut filly named Sugarfoot, who is very sweet but had some physical limitations. Many people came to look at her but did not adopt her. Then a couple came out with their 20 year old daughter with Angelman Syndrome, a neurological disoredr that impairs motor skills and cognitive function. Desiree had sadly just lost her beloved horse, so they were on the hunt for a new companion. She needed a gentle horse, and one that had the ability to carry disabled riders. Desiree mounted and was led around the roundpen on Sugarfoot. The horse stopped suddenly and refused to move forward. It seems that Desiree had slipped off center in the saddle. Suagrfoot had detected this and would not move again until the girl was centered in the saddle once again. Sugarfoot came from the racetrack and had not had any specialized training, just an innate sense. This brought to mind my mare Jenny, who could be difficult at times. She was one of those horses that would only do something if asked correctly. She could be impatient with mounting sometimes as well. But Jenny was an awesome dressage horse with a diva personality to go with it. A friend of mine, who boarded her horse at the same barn had always wanted to sit on Jenny. This made me a bit nervous because XX had some physical disabilities and I was not sure how Jenny would react to that. My fear was apparently unfounded. She stood patiently while XX took all the time she needed to mount. At the trot, if XX started to become unbalanced, Jenny would walk. She spooked at NOTHING! Children could ride her (supervised of course)and Jenny would take care of them. One woman who was a hunter rider (an excellent rider)asked if she could see what Jenny's beautiful trot and canter felt like under saddle. When she perched forward to ask for the canter, Jenny just kept trotting because in Jenny's mind, she was not being asked correctly. At 5 months old, Jenny was the first horse that Isaiah sta on....
When Bill, a fellow burn survivor, first met Suki, he was concerned that because he was missing fingers that he would have difficulty feeding her treats. She gently sniffed at his hands and politely accepted the treats. Armed with a brush with a strap, he began to groom her. I watched Suki do something that she does for very few people....she lowered her head and allowed him to brush her face. Horses are just such amazing creatures and provide wonderful therapy. Having witnessed the effects of animal therapy on numerous occasions I strongly believe that they enrich our lives more than we can ever realize. As I watch Suki interact with people and see her ability to bring happiness and inspiration to their lives, I marvel at her wonderful gift. A gift that I wasn't aware that she had, except of course with me. I never used to believe in fate, or having a "mission". Perhaps I was wrong.....


  1. Wonderful how they can be isnt it.
    I adopted a mustang mare, beautiful sweet horse. When working with her, she would get tired of what we were doing sometimes. So my 11 year old son would come and take over for a bit, and she would be back to her calm sweet self. She got loose one day when I was out of town, my son was able to get her halter on and take her back to her pen without even chasing her. Amazing.
    I also have picture of her nuzzeling my 4 year old chinese neice, so sweet and hard to believe Emmie was a wild horse.

    1. Beautiful story! Thank you so much for sharing it! There is something just so amazing about a horse's power....and sensitivity.