It’s true, I’m sure of it. I’ve been lucky enough to have had 6 exceptional horses in my life so far and they have all taught me so much. I’m sure they have made me the person I am today.
Let’s start with Pooh Bear, my first shetland. Pooh introduced me to the world of horses and perhaps one of the most valuable lesson of all. He taught me responsibility. From a very young age, (although not as young as photographed here!), with the help of my Mum, I had the responsibility of looking after another living creature. He was reliant on me turning up to feed him and look after him.
This lesson continued with my second horse, Domino. Although I didn’t have him for long, I was older then. I had other commitments in my life that needed to be juggled around looking after and riding my horse. That was, and always will be my priority.
Earning my way. Every weekend I would hack down to a local riding school and spend the mornings mucking out and taking care of the horses there. In return I earned a riding lesson at the end of the day. This taught me to appreciate my lessons, rather than just expect them as a given right. I had earned them and I was going to make the most of them. (Despite the fact I loved every second working at Kim’s yard!)
Pegasus. Pegasus was my first challenging horse. He had been left in a field for 3 years without work before we got our hands on him. He was incredibly naughty, but with a lot of hard work he turned out to be a little super star, I had so much fun on this horse. For this reason, the main lesson he taught me is that determination pays off. He also taught me a couple of other lessons;
Before I learnt lesson 3, I had to learn how to lose. As I have already mentioned, Pegasus was naughty. I competed him a lot and was never particularly successful to begin with. My Mum called it “character building”. I just learnt that life goes on, but try harder next time!
In the process of lesson 4 I also learnt about manual therapies. I fell off of Pegasus, ALOT! A friend suggested that Mum took me to a local Chiropractor to help me with a back injury following one of these falls. Debbie, the McTimoney Chiropractor, was lovely. She opened my eyes to the world of manual therapies. An insight that GP’s, mainstream medicine and painkillers aren’t the only option. From about the age of 14 I was determined to become a Chiropractor.
Sadly I grew too big for Pegasus and we bought Brennin, a horse to share with Mum before we decided on another horse for me. Brennin taught me another very valuable lesson, “it takes all sorts”, I don’t want this to sound horrible, Brennin is lovely, he has also been a little super star, a rock through hard times to follow, but he just wasn’t for me. Mum LOVES him to pieces, he’s just perfect for her. But for me? He’s grumpy for a start and really quite lazy – cross country I swear it would be easier to carry him round and do it myself, he’s just not sparky enough to have fun on, for me. Yet Mum and many others have had many enjoyable rides on him. Proof that everyone and every creature on this Earth is different.
Not everyone wants the same things or outcomes as I do. Something I try hard to remember to this day.
Rupert. Rupert taught me to enjoy life and laugh a lot. Ru had such character, if you got stressed with him, he knew and it made handling him all the more difficult, he drove Mum mad on numerous occasions. Yet, if you laughed at him and joked with him he was as easy as anything to handle and ride.
Getting stressed and upset about things doesn’t get you anywhere, it usually just makes you more stressed and unhappy about things. Shake it off, learn from it, chill out and have fun.
Again, with Rupert. A lesson valuable with my patients today. Sadly, we were cross country training one day when Ru pulled his front shoe off over a fence, the shoe then pierced his hind frog, (back foot), when we landed. Ru was enjoying himself so much, his adrenaline was flowing, he didn’t stop. We weren’t aware of his bleeding foot until we returned to the yard. Despite rest and rehabilitation, Ru never fully recovered from this injury. It’s so important to listen to your body. Stop when it tells you to.
Lesson 9 is a series of many, many more lessons. Including my path to becoming an Osteopath. I feel this chapter is still ongoing, hopefully one day I will be able to piece it together and see how much Dougal has really taught me.
Just like humans, each horse is unique, they have their own special make up and quirks.
All of my horses have been so different and as you can see have taught me many things. They are each unique, and require different things from us, their owners, to keep them fit, healthy and most importantly happy. Dodson and Horrell have developed a new feed to help horses who struggle to keep good condition whilst still being low in starch and sugars. Whilst this isn’t for every horse, (certainly not for the Brennin’s of this world), it is be super for others.
More information can be found at www.cushcarecondition.co.uk
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Available to purchase at Beechcroft Animal Feeds and many other stores!