As a horse-owner, the question I’m most often asked is: do you ride your horses? I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know that horses actually serve many purposes, riding being only one of them (which is why, every now and then, there’s a little dust on my saddle!). Following are some of the alternate “uses” of a horse.
Companionship: I can’t even imagine not having horses on our little farm… there would be less purpose and it would just feel “empty.” When I’m outside I always have company and interested eyes watching me. On days when I’m really lucky, as soon as I walk out the door I get a hello-whinny from my Sunny-girl… pretty hard not to smile at that! There are many books about the relationship between a special horse and their human, such as Soul of a Horse: Life Lessons from the Herd and Horses Never Lie about Love: The Heartwarming Story of a Remarkable Horse Who Changed the World Around Her. Horse traits can even be applied to better our own lives, as the man known as the Horse Whisperer, Monty Roberts, explains in Horse Sense for People. Monty has also written a book about all of the horses he has befriended, called The Horses in My Life.
Serenity: When I’m having a stressful day all I need do is look out the window and see the idyllic pastoral scene of horses peacefully grazing. The view changes daily depending on the weather and season. Sometimes the horses are shiny and resplendent in the sunshine, standing in their green pasture with a bright blue sky overhead. Other days the grass is golden and the horses are set against a background of orange autumn trees. And in the winter their coats darken and stand out in sharp contrast to the winter-white world. You can get the same effect from a book with beautiful images of horses, such as The Encyclopedia of the Horse or The Horse in Art. The Black Stallion is a visually beautiful movie, or perhaps you’ll be inspired and learn to draw horses with a book such as Draw Horses.
Entertain the kiddies (and big kiddies too): When company comes over with their children all I have to do is hand the kids a bag of carrots, a brush and they’re happy for hours. I’ve actually had my nieces outlast my horses… several hours of brushing later the horses were so drowsy and relaxed they couldn’t stand up and had to lie down and have a nap! Kids have a long history with horses – for example in rural Canada there were “school horses,” those friendly, reliable farm staples who are remembered in the book When the School Horse Was King: A Tribute to Faithful Friends and Companions. There are many horse books for children in the Winnipeg Public Library catalogue… take a look at our listings here.
The reward of saving a life: As with all animals who are companion species or hold other value to humans, many horses sadly end up unwanted and homeless. Black Beauty is the classic story of a horse who bounced from home to home. For a true account of a rescued horse, try Chosen by a Horse: A Memoir, and if you’d like to read about rescued horses plus a variety of other animals, get out the tissue (happy tears) and try Where the Blind Horse Sings: Love and Trust at an Animal Sanctuary. Fortunately there exist organizations to rescue just about any species, horses included. In Manitoba, one such rescue is Papa’s Ranch, located north of Winnipeg near Clandeboye. This sanctuary has horses, dogs and cats available for adoption. Don’t have room for a horse but still want to “adopt” one? No matter… at Papa’s Ranch you can do an on-site adoption where the horse stays put and he’s yours to go visit, brush, give treats to and spend one-on-one time with…..perfect!
A little dust on my saddle? That’s fine with me! Happy reading and happy trails to you.
When Judy is not at work as a Customer Service Assistant for the Winnipeg Public Library, she’s busy brushing up on her horse sense.