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  • Courageous Connections

Sometimes you just need a horse to listen

Updated: Apr 1, 2023

I’ve always been a dog person, the crazier and more rambunctious the better. But I secretly yearned to be connected to a horse in some way. They’re so big, so beautiful, so elemental!

However, a few really strange riding experiences (caused by NO experience) and a couple of encounters with horses who were not impressed with my tentative efforts at friendship, put an end to it.

But I never forgot their eyes…fringed with delicate lashes, liquid awareness as they looked at me. There was never a need to fill the silence with meaningless noise. I loved them, but kept my distance.

Then a retired race horse moved in next door.

Sophie was long-legged, elegant, and before arriving at her new home, had been terribly neglected. Yet despite her own suffering, she had a loving and gracious personality. While I gardened she would amble over and hang out at the fence with me and my dogs. I found myself talking to her as though she was another person, one who understood, one who never judged. I’d had a big loss in my life and she gave me what I now understand to be the best of equine therapy. A connection.

Once in awhile I patted her nose and fed her a windfall apple. And if I pulled up some really succulent new grass, she got it. Her whiskery lips would gently brush my palms and the connection strengthened. We were friends.

I look at the videos and pictures of people who have experienced physical and emotional trauma, quietly hanging out with the horses at Courageous Connections, and I get it. Sometimes, when people are too distant or scary, or life is too hard, you just need a horse to become a friend, to let you begin to heal – to listen.

Author: Susan Brown

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