They say horses have healing powers―whoever ‘they’ are, they’re right.
I’m a naturally highly-strung person. I can’t sit still, and I have the patience of a gnat. With horses you just can’t behave this way, but for me it is more than that. My boys calm me―when I am with them, any stress or worry I am holding onto falls right away.
It’s a long story, but I adopted my horses twice. Both times they were in need of some TLC. The first time they came to us they didn’t even know what a carrot was, so you get the idea.
I work from home, so I am with my boys twenty-four/seven. With seventy acres of undulating hills, creeks, and wildly varying native Australian grasses, sometimes I lose sight of them―but never for long. Each evening we come together for a scratch, cuddle, and pat, but more importantly, for a moment together.
We just stand together and look out across the mountains, or we’ll nip at each other playfully (yes, two of my boys believe they can play with me as they would another horse―I sometimes have to remind them that I don’t weigh half a ton as they do!) For a while I had to work on leaving my stressful-franticness-fidgeting-self behind to create a tranquil environment for them, but now I don’t even have to try. I am automatically calm. Everything slows down. Nothing else matters but being with my herd, my furry-family.
I’ve had my fair share of sadness. Memories of a devastating loss many years ago can still pick up my stomach and flip it inside out. And those horses know. When I need to re-align my roller-coasting emotions they stay with me―they wait until they know I’m okay. Of this, I am sure.
At times, I am over-whelmed by the responsibility of ensuring four big horses are cared for properly. Am I doing the right thing by them? Are they happy? What more can I do? My husband says, ‘There is no one in this world that would love and take care of them as much as you.’ And he’s right. ‘I can’t believe how they almost cuddle you!’ my mum said on a recent visit, with tears in her eyes.
They’ve all changed too, those boys. Now, instead of a ball of rock hard, tight, terrified muscle, Neddy is calm, playful, and relaxed―and rather smart. Charlie’s lips rarely quiver any more. Instead they gently nuzzle: ‘She’s got a carrot hidden somewhere!’ He’s even started to play a little! Dom’s sad eyes are now bright, looking forward; and Joe, well, he’s a newbie with a different story. We almost lost him in the first twelve hours of joining our family, but he made it through. He’ll make a bid for leadership one day―not just over the horses, but all of us!
My boys no longer approach me only when they want a treat―they come to spend time with me. They want to be with me, and I consider this a great privilege. They are in their forever home and they will have the best time of their lives every single day.
The second time they came home was a year ago, and they’ve only just settled back in. Their need for calmness and gentleness has changed me. I am softer, placid, even tranquil! Our land―where we are currently building a home―is harmonious and soothing and this has reflected on us all.
And Noel, my long-suffering, wonderful, husband, will always count the horses when he returns home―convinced there will be more one day. I must say, he knows me too well. I’d rescue them all if I could.
But those boys―their hoof-beats are my heartbeats.
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About the author
Jackie is a professional mariner and author from Australia who runs a publishing business, but most of all she is passionate about horses. Her husband Noel is a marine surveyor and builder, and has almost as much passion about horses as Jackie. They are always happy to say g’day to like-minded people. Check out Jackie’s Sistership Magazine here or on Facebook, find Jackie on Facebook or her personal website, and follow Noel and Jackie’s journey on Facebook and their website.