Hi, I'm Jessica, and just wanted to share. LOVE the blog!

Why I Love Horses

I’m going to attempt to put into words the multitude of reasons I love horses. Of course, as you know, it’s never quite possible, and anyone who doesn’t love horses would never understand, but I’ll try anyway.

I’ve always been interested in horses- I literally can’t remember a car trip that I didn’t scan the roads for horses, or a time that horse books didn’t excite me. I’ve read them all- the classics, like Black Beauty, National Velvet, and the Black Stallion. I was OBSESSED with the Saddle Club books- I seriously think I’ve read every single one. And, more recent, the Heartland books, and the Phantom Stallion. Mostly just anything I could get my hands on- I have 3 different horse encyclopedias, a bunch of riding and care books, even a book on horse barns. And most of my horse exposure up until 8th grade was just that- in books. My thoroughly middle class family lived in the suburbs of Chicago- no land, and boarding was a premium. Lessons were something like $40 for one half-hour. I always gravitated towards the horses whenever I did see them, and my uncle who lives in Georgia owns mules, so I got some “real world” experience in the mountains with him once a year. I distinctly remember one year riding every single day for two weeks- a mandate my uncle made and my cousins hated. No one could really understand it; no one in my family was interested, I had never had lessons, and my parents didn’t really encourage the obsession- they mostly just tolerated it. I still try to figure out why I started to love horses, and I guess that’s where I start.

Horses are beautiful. I mean, really- just look at them! Grazing, messing around in a field, or in movement, I was always amazed at the pure beauty of all horses. As a girl, I guess I’m drawn to this beauty sort of like I’m drawn to pretty flowers, or jewelry, or sunset views. I’m pretty confident that’s why most girls go through a horse-crazy stage. But it goes deeper than that. Why didn’t I just grow out of it, like most do?

Horses are powerful. Their beauty, along with their awesome strength, is something I wonder at to this day. I guess mostly I just wonder at the fact that, at any moment, any horse could say, “screw you!” Pull away, or trample any human. But they don’t. They don’t want to. They continually lend us their strength, never asking for anything in return. Wow. If only I could be like that!

Horses live in the moment. I started having regular contact with horses just about the time I went through the worst years as a kid. My friends all dumped me, I wasn’t doing well in school, and my mom and I had a fight every day, it seemed like. I would go to the barn, and none of that mattered. Suddenly, I had a friend that loved me no matter what- as long as I had treats! I had someone to take care of, and if I made a mistake, it didn’t matter. I fixed it, and five minutes later, everything was good again. I had control of this part of my life when everything else seemed to spiral into chaos the moment I touched it.

Horses love you. All the time. No matter what. I’ve seen horses starving to death in a field of dirt come up to the fence and nicker when someone approached. How can horses love so deeply that even when everyone forsakes them, they still try? Or the horses who put up with EVERYTHING- upside down bits, bouncy kids, see-sawing hands, and work until they drop. They never complain or act up, even when you can’t even believe you’re watching a 10 year old practice her vaulting on her old gelding- who doesn’t especially like the constant crashing onto his back in the field.

Horses trust you. With parents that pretty much strangled the life out of me as a teenager, trust was huge to me. The horse I feed trusts me to give him his food every day, without fail. The horse I ride trusts me to tell him what to do, even if he doesn’t like it. In the barn, I’m trusted with barn doors, gates, feeding schedules, vaccinations, and countless other literally life and death things that make me feel important, even when I’m not that important out in the real world.

Horses don’t lie. If they’re mad, they let you know! If they love you, you know that too. There’s no back-stabbing, no doing one thing and thinking another, and definitely no laughing behind your back. It’s all right there, in their faces. And there’s nothing better than when they nicker and trot to the fence as soon as they see you. Likewise, you can’t lie to a horse. You can’t pretend you’re not scared or nervous or mad- they know. So you have to learn to control your emotions, and you have to feel whatever it is that’s bothering you. I’ve got a habit of sucking all my bad stuff inside and running away from it, but with horses I can’t.

Horses are fun! There’s so much you can do- want to be casual, and just poke around at home? Trails. Want to compete? Shows- in pretty much any discipline imaginable. Want companionship, or just to hang out with other people? Competitive trail, or riding in groups, or joining a barn. Want an adrenaline rush, or have a need for speed? Jumping, rodeo, or eventing. Want to get into shape, or really exercise? Endurance, or Ride and Ties. There’s literally something for everyone!

When I’m with horses, I’m not the clumsy, shy, disorganized, chubby nerd who doesn’t quite fit in. I am confident in the fact that I know what I’m doing, and how to do it. I have tons of friends at the barn! And who could be clumsy on the back of a galloping horse? Sometimes when I ride, I feel like grace in motion. My room is a mess- but I’ll spend hours organizing the tack room, cleaning stalls, or sweeping the hay loft. I live and breathe horses. And some people just don’t understand, but at least I’ve tried to explain.

So, feeling down? Saddle up.