Horses are my therapy.

I recently watched a video of a para-dressage rider who is wheelchair bound but through horses she competes at the highest levels of para-dressage. What stuck with me is the incredible power of the horse. I explained why I skydive, but its time for why I horseback ride.

Not much has changed in over 18 years. Photo credit: Debbie Leishman

Horses are calming. When I think of peace, I think of listening to horses munching hay as the sun rises on a summer morning. The stable is where I go to unwind and relax.

Horses teach us about commitment. I was doing barn chores while other 13-year-olds were hanging out in malls.  Horses cannot be put on hold. This lesson stuck with me for life.

Horses teach about fair competition. I started participating in horse shows at eight-years-old. I competed on the local level all the way to the national level. There is the ugly side of competition but I know the accomplishment of training daily to reach my goals.

Horses are therapeutic. Equine therapy is a widely respected field. Horses allow disable children the freedom of movement. They teach about positive interaction through herd dynamics. They have a lot to offer.

By: Maegan MacKimmie

Through horses I met some of my best friends. Horses tied us together as kids and still tie us together as adults.

Horses are for life. Ian Millar a ten-time equestrian Olympian is 68 years old. There are endless opportunities with horses from therapy programs, to hunter and jumper, to dressage, to eventing, to vaulting, to reigning, to barrel racing, to racing, to driving, to para-equestrian and simply riding for pleasure.

Horses are a passion that sweeps you up and encompasses a lifetime. This is just the beginning.

Why do you ride?

5 thoughts on “Horses are my therapy.

  1. I couldn’t agree more. My daughter, as a young teen, was headed to hell in a hand basket. Then she discovered horses. The same girl who the police used to round up and bring home in the wee hours of the morning was going to bed early, getting up a 6 a.m. and happily mucking out stalls. That passion has continued into her adult life.

    1. Hi Irv! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience with horses! I have seen many young girls (and guys) find similar safe and constructive environments at the barn! I really believe that horses can help people in many different ways. Take care! Maegan

  2. I ride (and drive!) for an escape. I find I can’t think of anything else when I’m riding, even if I’m out on a bareback hack. I’m in almost a meditation. Once my feet hit the ground again my mind will go back to everything else in my life but for the short time, I have no worries and am most relaxed.

    My grandfather was horseman and it was for sure our “thing” that even my horse-fearing grandmother supported. When I moved in with my mother and they both passed it was something that kept us together. Even today I push myself to be a better horseman for Gran and Pa, I don’t do it for anyone else. I think horses just keep me in touch with a better, happier part of my life.

    1. This is awesome Ali! It is amazing how horses can run through generations and tie people together.

      I find some of my best memories of riding are not necessarily at horse shows, but galloping across a snowing field, riding into down or just hanging out.

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