Horses inspire us in so many ways! For some, they’re a regular source of strength and hope. For others, they’re an unexpected inspiration throughout a particularly rough time. In honor of hope throughout Breast Cancer Awareness month, we’re encouraging you to help pass hope along to those who need it most!
Send in a story of how your horse helped you find hope in a difficult time. Include your name and email for contact information, as we will be picking a random entry each week to receive a $25 Action Rider Tack gift card and a special gift bag – to spoil your horse!
Visit our blog to keep up on stories and photo entries. Send all entries to firstname.lastname@example.org – your story could help to inspire someone in need of a little hope!
Read Entries Below:
“I have been undergoing some medical issues the past 3 years that have left me discouraged and depressed. Throughout all of it, my Icelandic horses, Geisli, has been there for me during the toughest times and the lighter times with no thought of judgement.
It has given me hope that, with his steady presence, I will be healed. I think that all of us who share our lives with horses can feel the hope through our relationship with our equine partners, if we only give them a chance. This was his first trip to the beach. He wasn’t crazy about the surf, but he took good care of me nonetheless – as always”.
“I am writing to tell you about my Haflinger, Billy. He helped me write my English dissertation –
I was stuck for an idea, and spending time with him made me realize I could write about horses! I passed with flying colors, and he has a home for life with his mommy!”
“I wanted to share my story of a couple rescue horses that have changed our lives forever.
My adopted daughter Katie came from social services in Tennessee. In Tennessee, once a foster child turns 17 they are dropped off at the local homeless shelter. I had only met Katie one time, and agreed to go to a meeting with her case worker. I called my husband when I saw the conditions they were going to leave her in – she was still in high school with no way to even get there. Needless to say, I brought her home.
The case worker tried to hand me her [very thick] file, stating she had “behavioral issues”. I said “no, this is her opportunity to start fresh with a family“. I put Katie in the car, and told her the same thing. I told her she has a chance to start fresh. I agreed if she finished school and kept her “behavioral issues” to a minimum, we would eventually get her a horse, as she knew I was into horses.
Katie completed her junior and senior year of high school at the same time – at the top of her class. She is a wonderful young lady that just needed a chance!
On to the horses:
This last year we rescued 2 yearlings from slaughter off the range. Katie has since found her 2 best friends. She has learned about responsibilities and how to live and care for beautiful, loving, creatures. She spends everyday with the babies. When she is having a rough day, she sits with them.
The question is: ” Who rescued who”?
The babies – Patience and Maizie, have helped Katie with a lot of sadness from her past. They know when she is having a rough day and demand her attention. She does all the ground work under my direction, and she cares for them everyday – for hours.
Point of the story:
Who really rescued who? These horses have been such an inspiration for her, and it heals her heart. I wanted to share our story of a girl that was told she had no hope, rescuing these 2 yearlings who also had no hope; becoming the best of friends, and a team of healers.
Horses are wonderful healers who love you for WHO you are not WHAT you are or what you have. They will be with us for the rest of their lives as well as Katie, my daughter, will be apart of ours.”
“It was the fall of 1996. I had just bought my very own house. I had a new love in my life. I was finishing up a successful season of endurance with my horse and in general, loving life.
“My then boyfriend Guy (now husband) was snuggling on the couch with me. He found it first. I froze when I felt the lump in my breast. My mom had died of cancer ten year prior, and watching it had made me very, very afraid. I tried to be calm and not over-react and made an appointment the next day for a mammogram.
When I got the call from the lab, I dropped the phone as my knees buckled. I got to feel what abject terror felt like. I’m here to say you do come out of it, but while you’re in that hell, it’s a lonely and dark place.
The usual procedures. Consults. More mammograms. More tests. Surgery scheduled. Follow up radiation therapy. Blah, blah, blah. All the while, the abject terror hovered around me, over me, in me.
Eight weeks of radiation therapy, everyone will tell you, is cumulative. What that means is you feel fine—for a while. Then you don’t feel so fine; you feel….tired. Very tired. And kind of sick. And at the age I was—45—it was terrifying to feel so old, so weak, so vulnerable…so defeated.
Eight weeks of daily visits to a hospital. Eight weeks of being put in a cold, silent room, with people talking to you over an intercom because they don’t want to get hit with the same things hitting your body. Eight weeks of trying to keep abject terror from consuming you. Eight weeks of just trying to get by. To endure.
I did it. Thanks to friends and family and a supportive work place, I did it. But the strength, the stamina, the ability to just put my head down and keep going? I owe that to endurance riding. I owe those 100 mile rides in the middle of the night when you don’t know where the heck the trail is and you’re beyond exhausted—and you keep going. I owe those days of being with my horse and my horse alone, trotting along for hours and hours, and feeling his strength and stamina and willingness to just-keep-going-no-matter-what. I owe it to remembering how bloody good that finish line feels like, when you’re done, and you can hug your horse and your friends and your spouse and know you’ve accomplished something really really big. Without endurance, I would have never known what it means to truly endure.
And damn it, I had to learn it all over again, ten years later. Another diagnosis of breast cancer. Same routine. But this time, it was just a tiny bit easier. I knew the drill, and I knew—I really knew—I could endure. I AM a survivor. AND I thrive.”
-Sandy Cheek, Survivor
[Congratulations, Sandy! Our first winning random-pick of the month!]
“My story isn’t something extravagant, but for me personally, horses provide a daily dose of happiness and hope for a brighter day. I went through an abusive marriage and after getting out of it I’d lost most joy in my life. I had grown up with horses as a child and remembered the close bond I’d shared with them.
So, when an opportunity presented itself to ride in exchange for mucking stalls, I jumped at the chance. My oldest daughter and I did it together and I was able to share this love of horses with her. After some time I realized this was something I’d missed tremendously, and I then bought a horse to share with my kids and from that time forth we have been a horse crazy family.
I believe they are truly therapy for the soul and just having the chance to spend time with them is joyous beyond measure! I believe we are able to overcome anything and we just have to look inside ourselves to find the strength to get through it!”
“I’m a senior citizen who grew up during WWII. As the only child of two alcoholic parents, my childhood was somewhat erratic. To escape the drunkenness, rowdy parties and loud fighting, I would sneak out of the house at night and race away on my horse – often stopping to fall asleep under a tree, far from home.
My parents are long since deceased and I’ve gotten past much of the trauma of those days, but horses are still a source of comfort and joy for me, a reminder of just how much healing peace they can bring a stressed out human being, of any age.”
“I rescued Sage when she was a yearling – Found her abandoned in a field, starving and sick. She was my best friend from the start.
We learned together, from ground work right on up to trail riding the most rugged terrain Vancouver Island has to offer. She has seen me through divorce, depression, to finding myself again. She is my Heart Horse in every way, and I cannot imagine where I would be today without her solid grace to guide me.”