Tuesday 10 May 2016

Horsey Snuggles

Riding is my happy place. It's where I can fully focus on the horses and push aside any of the other stresses in my life.

Any horse related activity is good, but they aren't all equal. Working hard on bending the horse's ribcage around the inside leg, or adding energy into the collected trot is one kind of therapy. However, for certain situations, nothing beats being able to hug the neck of a special horse and breathe in their horsey smell. For me, that's truly good for my soul.

My last mare Ellie was great at that. I had her for 14 years and she got me through a lot of crappy stuff - middle school bullies, first crush drama (no judging, I got Ellie when I was 11 haha), more serious breakups, moments of not knowing what to do with my life, a disease diagnosis, and even the deaths of family members.

The late, great Ellie

In the saddle, Ellie was not above bolting or trying to buck me off. But on the ground she was solid and I could always count on quality time with her.

Kachina is the opposite. In a lot of ways, she's a horse that I can trust more while riding and do more with. However, she's not a horse who has much patience at all with standing. We've done a lot of work with groundwork and we're improving, but there's a number of days where it's a bit of a fight to get her groomed, saddled, bridled, and led into the arena. The fun doesn't usually start until I mount up. Even in her pen, Kachina is happy to come and say hi or be caught, but she'd rather do a lap of the area instead of standing around for pets or scratches.

On Sunday night, I was having a tough time. I had been feeling sick all day. I had just found out that a couple of my good friends are moving far away. I was stressing out about work. It had been a long, tiring weekend out of town (filled with horses, but not with my horse). I just really wanted some horsey snuggles with Kachina. And you know what? She stepped up. She started walking towards me the second she saw me. She was happy to hang out and let me hug her neck and breathe in her horsey scent. She politely ate all her treats. And she stuck around until I was ready to let her go.

Happy to hang out

Ellie was definitely a heart horse and can never be replaced. Yet, I'm starting to gain a bit of that connection with Kachina and that's pretty awesome. This weekend showed me that I was craving time with My horse, not just any horse time. The ten minutes of horsey snuggles with her made everything else seem okay. Tonight we'll go back to trying to get her bent around my inside leg.

Bonus, semi conformation shot
- I'm really happy with her weight and condition right now
P.S. this is after a week of no grooming, so that shine is all her

How about you? Is it all about the riding for you or is the personal connection with your horse an important piece of the puzzle? How long did it take you to form that bond with your horse? Was it immediate or did it slowly grow over time?


  1. For me it is everything. I love the challenge of riding (I struggle if I have to go too many days without riding) but I also like spending time with my horse. If I'm not in the right mindset for riding I'll groom him tell him he is pretty and shovel food in him.

    I get attached easily but I feel like it took us about a year to really bond where he trusted me.

    1. Ya, I love riding, but non-riding horse time works fine for me too. That's great that you know the bond goes both ways with your guy.

  2. Aww glad she let you cuddle her. Carlos my old horse got me through a lot as well, normally he wasn't much of a cuddler but he seemed to know when I needed it most and would let me.

    1. Animals are great at sensing our moods. That's great that Carlos was there when you needed him. I felt the same about Kachina this week.