INTRODUCTION

From Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover's Soul II

Introduction

What is it about a horse that captures our hearts and minds?

Most of us can’t remember a time when we didn’t love horses. Some of us dreamed of horses before we ever saw one or we spoke of “horsey” shortly after, and sometimes before, the words “Momma” and “Dadda” came out of our mouths. We played with Breyer horses inside miniature corrals while friends were content to play with Barbies or Tonka toys. Were some of us just born with an inherent bond with these large and magnificent creatures, while others acquired the “horse bug” during infancy? In conversations and confessions with men and women from coast to coast, of every age, race and breed preference the collective answer in a shout is, “yes!”

Certainly, the love of horses goes much deeper than that of a typical hobby like gardening or golf. Being a horseperson isn’t a lifestyle like that of folks who love exercise or the arts. Breed preference for a horse is much stronger than the partiality for a certain make or model of a pickup truck. Many women define their meeting of horses at a richer, deeper level, as nothing short of a calling in life. To some, the horse is a mirror into their innermost being, reflecting who they are and their purpose in life. To others, the horse is a connection to God, to the earth and to their spirituality.

We have found horses to be a conduit to becoming closer to spouses, children, neighbors and friends by involving them in our equine activities. We learn many of life’s lessons by groundwork with a horse as well as atop its strong back.

Many women speak of the nurturing instincts that a horse evokes in them. An animal that is so large, so strong, and at times so unpredictable, has come to rely on us to feed, care for, train and love it. We love the fact that they need us as much as we need them. Perhaps part of the magic is that this large and powerful animal responds to the gentlest of touches and gives back kindness and trust when treated with the same.

The companionship of a good horse is one of life’s greatest joys. Being out on a mountain trail and experiencing its tranquil beauty, with the only sounds being the horse’s breathing, hooves on the forest floor and the far-off gurgling of a clear, cold stream is therapy for the soul.

Time spent in the company of our horses takes much needed pressure off our other roles as a wife, husband, mother, father, friend and neighbor and makes us more human to other humans.

Those who compete in dressage, English, Western pleasure, rodeo or endurance know the “thrill of victory” and the “spills of defeat.” Being in competition with a well-trained horse that responds to the subtlest of cues, and channels our expectations and dreams seemingly through thin air, is to be one with an animal. Whether you cry because you won a ribbon or because you have dirt in your eyes doesn’t seem to really matter. Win or lose, you’re a team. To one day say good-bye to a horse as it is humanely put to sleep in your arms is to know love, sadness, pain and reflection at the deepest level.

We invite you to enjoy what the writers in Chicken Soup for the Horse Lover’s Soul II have to share. Their connection with horses allows us to not only laugh, cry and remember our own uniquely special experiences with horses, but to also celebrate the special bond each of us shares with our horses and which connects us to one another.

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