Awesome time with the horses yesterday

Mom2vegan

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I've had so much going on in my life and with my emotions lately and have been horribly depressed. My horses usually help with my depression, big time, but it's been such a bad summer. For the first half of the summer, the trails were under water. Then the heat got so bad the horses would have been uncomfortable being ridden. I'd given up on doing any riding at all this summer but yesterday was a beautiful day and my husband talked me into it. My depression has lifted and I'm happy again!

I know a lot of vegans feel that riding horses is bad, and I totally get that. I've posted my opinions on it before so I don't want to get into all of my reasons that I'm definitely OK with trail riding but not with many other horse related things including breeding etc. I don't disagree with what vegans say about breeding, racing, training etc. I can't call myself vegan because, although I eat a whole-food plant-based diet I do have dogs and a cat that eat regular food etc. and I ride horses.

Anyway - first of all, just loading them into the trailer fills me with joy. Just seeing these huge animals willingly and eagerly jump into the trailer to go for the ride fills my heart. They seem to be as excited as me about going for a ride! That means so much to me because I feel like it takes so much to get to the point where an animal will trust you enough to actually want to leave the safety and security of his pasture with you.

The way they agree to do everything absolutely amazes me. When I first got into horses, the person who taught me was not a very good horse person. She was very experienced but her horses did not like her at all and it showed. If a horse doesn't like you, you know it! When they love you, you know it too. When I say "give me your foot" and my horse willingly lifts his foot and holds it so I can put his boot on him, then puts his foot down exactly the right way so that he steps into the boot.....I feel like he's saying "I like you."

Yesterday we did a very slow easy ride, just walking the entire time and allowing the horses to eat whatever vegetation they wanted to eat. They enjoy the variety. Our horses are 20 years old and have been on hundreds of trail rides, plus their pasture has a very large wooded area. They know what plants are safe to eat and what aren't, and which ones they like. It was so enjoyable to just sit on my horse's back and watch as he picked out which tree leaves he liked and which plants on the ground he liked. He ate mostly from the same 3 types of trees and there were 3-4 ground plants that he really enjoyed. He'd grab a mouthful and walk, grab another mouthful and walk. He was happy to be moving along the trail munching. We brought one of our dogs and he walked behind us. Once my horse lifted his head quickly and I followed his eyes and saw a spotted fawn very close to us.

At one point I leaned forward and pet his neck and he turned his head to look at me. I said "I love you so much. I can't even tell you how much I love you!" and he nickered softly back to me as if saying "I know you do." Brushing them after the ride, they make funny faces when we find spots they really enjoy having scratched. They load back up into the trailer for the ride home, and when we get home I walk them back to their pasture - both of them walking easily along beside me. As I open the gate they step to the side to let it swing open, and walk inside to our mare who has been waiting for them. When I take off their halters, they don't run off. They stand beside me for a while and then slowly meander away and then roll on the ground, relaxed.

We're riding again today. If we're lucky, my niece will come so we can bring all 3 horses. There is a piece of my soul that gets filled with horses in a way that it doesn't get filled with people or any other animals.

I shared this because I know everyone on this forum loves animals in a way that even most of my horse friends don't understand. I wonder - do you care for animals that fill your souls? What do you think of the human-animal bond? Do you find it magical? Do you have certain types of animals that you bond with more tightly than others?
 

Mbeth

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I don’t have horses, or any experience with them, but feel the same way when I take my dog out on the trails. He absolutely loves it. He for sure knows the words “hike,” “run,” and “bike ride.” He also can recognize when we’re dressed to hike, run or ride. This summer has been too hot for him to go along on bike rides with my husband, and he puts on such a show of disappointment when he can’t go along, that my husband often will change his plans and ride in the evening just so the dog can go, too. The dog knows an extensive trail system and will wait at intersections to see which way we’re turning. I don’t think I would enjoy my time on the trails as much if I didn’t have his company.
 

Emma JC

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That is a beautiful story @Mom2vegan and thank you for sharing it with us.

So happy that you were able to bring joy to the horses and they were able to restore joy to you!

Emma JC
 
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