Editor's note: When we asked you, our readers, what your horses mean to you, boy did you have lots to say! We had so many fantastic responses, in fact, that we didn't have room to print all of them in the September 2010 issue. Here are the ones that we had left over.
I recently lost the first horse I really bonded with, and I cried, and cried, and cried. But then I found my current horse, and he has made all the difference in the world. He and I also have a bond. That bond is the only thing that really makes him mine. If I didn't have him, I would still be crying and my friends would still have to comfort me. All I can do is thank him by taking care of him and riding him. Now he is my comfort and my go-to buddy for life.
Maddie Mefford, Ohio
My two Morgan horses are my beloved partners and companions. They are my responsibility and rely on me for their well-being, both physical and otherwise. When a problem arises that I cannot solve myself I try to find someone else who can. After my mare, when on the trail, several times suddenly exploded, throwing me and eventually causing a traumatic brain injury, I contacted an animal communicator. I was told the mare has a TMJ problem that causes her, when her head is in a certain position, sudden and intense pain. When my older gelding, who loves to trail ride, began stopping after short distances and refused to continue for no apparent reason, I again contacted the same animal communicator. Her diagnosis was bone spurs on his back, making it uncomfortable to bear weight. Fortunately he does drive, so I can still do that with him. Had I not taken a further step to investigate these problems, I would have continued on in frustration not knowing the causes. Although there is not a remedy for either of these problems, I now know they are not caused by my horses' behavior or me.
Helen Dillon, Vermont
My horses mean everything to me. They are treasured friends, teachers and family members. They offer love and friendship, strong shoulders to cry on, kind ears to listen to my ramblings and the willingness to never say, "You're crazy!" My Belgian/Thoroughbred-cross helped me through losing my father about two years ago and again when I recently lost my job. He has taught me patience and persistence. My Thoroughbred means comic relief. There are days when he does something crazy, and I just have to shake my head and say, "What did you do that for?"
Karen Paul, Virginia
I am 12 years old and my leased Arabian, Chocolate Moues (Tommy), means everything to me. When I am having a bad day, all my problems disappear after a ride. Tommy is the very BEST horse you could have. He always listens to my cues and never runs out of energy! Tommy makes riding even better.
Amelia Hein, Pennsylvania
Read more answers to this question in the Rider to Rider column in the September 2010 issue of Practical Horseman. Also, you can share what your horse means to you in our forum!