Thursday, July 26, 2012

Equine Therapy

Equine Therapy

When times are tough, the tough get riding. There’s no staying home, moping about. That’s no way to feel better. Saddle time—that’s what’s needed.

With the passing of my father, I just needed to ride. Ellen, my sister, and I met each other at the barn the following morning and headed out for a ride together with Cole and Ranger for the first time in over a month, and it felt good. There were moments that I actually forgot for a little bit. My sister and I also got to talk about what was going on, and that was good for us, too. We did it again the next day, too, but it was an even longer ride. Of course, when I got back each day, I went for a ride on Cruiser, too. Ellen caught up with us on the way home and walked with us—just like we used to. Things are starting to get back to normal.

We went on a quick ride the following day on Cruiser and Ranger. We didn’t have time for Cole Train because we had to go to the wake. The ride made us stronger to face what was ahead. There wasn’t time on funeral day, but we were there the next day. It was my last bereavement day, and we had another terrific ride together.

Then came the tough day. I went back to work. Work itself wasn’t the problem. The problem was that it was an ordinary day. I always called my father twice a day, and when those times came, the pain came with it.

After work, I rushed out to the barn, saddled up Cole and headed out for a solo ride—no Ellen or Kevin. It was wonderful. Riding by myself meant I could go as fast as I liked without worrying about the other horses. As soon as I got to a good part of the trail, we were cantering away. I felt that I could canter faster than the grief. The more we cantered, the faster he went. It was as if he understood the urgency.

Despite the speed, he still behaved. He slowed down when I asked him, and I was very pleased with him. The last section of the trail is all out in the open going along the street. I only cantered him there a few times in the in the past. It can be a little intimidating until you trust your horse. I decided I trusted him and just let him go as fast as he liked. I got far ahead of the grief that time. My heart just soared. I felt great.

We reached the end, turned around and headed back at a trot. Even after the excitement and with the fact that we were trotting toward home, he behaved. He may have been tired. We did a combination of walking and trotting for the next 15 minutes, and then I decided it was time to cool off. It was a hot, humid evening up into the 80s, and he was quite sweaty.

After about 5 minutes of walking, the sweat on his neck began to dry. I was very pleased that he was cooling so well after such a vigorous ride. I pushed him harder on this ride than I ever did before. Fifteen minutes later, when we got back to the barn, he was dry except under the saddle. I sponged him off and took Cruiser out for his quiet ride.

I got away from the sadness for a little while. I recommend horse therapy to everyone.


~Allison said...

So sorry about your dad :(
For whatever reason, the animals do help us get through the tough times!

achieve1dream said...

I'm so sorry about your dad. I can't even imagine the pain you are in. Equine therapy definitely is the best. I'm glad you have your boys (and you sister) to help you through this.