A Cheerful Day Spending Time With Horses

It is April 29, 2014 as I am sitting at my desk reflecting on the  previous day. We got to experience a few hours with some of the most beautiful creatures in the world… horses.

We arrived at Kathy’s house at exactly four pm. I emerged out of the car and stretched, and then, with a surprised look on my face, I saw them. The horses.

I had always loved horses, but to be face-to-face with them, IN their pen, was especially exciting to me.

I have had a few encounters with horses. For example, in Orlando, Florida, when there were horses in a fenced area and we fed them carrots, and, when we have seen wild horses and cattle running along hills and plains.

Elisha petting Flo and Gus

Elisha petting Flo and Gus

As Kathy Taylor talked with my parents, I observed the horses. How they ate the grass (a special treat for them) swiftly, their beautiful manes and hooves as they galloped and walked around.

Kathy Taylor told us some horses prefer being greeted quickly, while some are more comfortable being approached slowly. She said the horses sense fear, excitement, anything you feel, including your intentions.

She said if they do not like one of your actions, they are not afraid to express themselves. They will toss their head, smack you with their thick and heavy tail, and leave!  We must also do this, by not being people pleasers, not faking our emotions, setting limits, and letting people know what is okay and what is not. 

The horses are very intelligent emotionally. If you are afraid, they get scared themselves, and if you doubt they will not follow your command, they stop dead in their tracks. So I learned that we must be confident so others (including horses) are confident in us, as well.

 Horses have unique personalities, just like us. Kathy’s horses names are Flo (female), Roxy (female), Gus (male), and Rooster (male).The two females are 16 years old . They could be approached either way, while the two males, around 7 years, had to be approached slowly.


Roxy grazing while I scratch her back

Roxy grazing while I scratch her back

Roxy, their leader, was not so easy to please. She was the one who tossed her head the most. I finally was told when I was massaging her, it felt like tickling. I scratched her roughly, and that she liked. She is a dark brown color and has white on her coat, as well. Her mane is completely black.

 I was also told that if I wanted to lead her, I had to prove I was a better leader. I had to command her to do things, not ask. Asking is a sign of doubt, so when you do that, they lose trust.

 The lesson of this is to pursue your dreams, no matter what. It’s wonderful to consider the opinion of others, but if it’s going to make you give up your dreams forget about it!  In Latin, the phrase Carpe  Diem means,”Seize the day!” Think about this, “Seize your dreams!”

Flo, who was similar to Elisha, liked to bond with whoever she could. She loved snuggling and being massaged. She is a ginger-bread color and has a white mane.

So, comparing the two females, they’re totally different. Let’s take a look at the males.

Gus, one of the male mini ponies, was calm but cautious. After a few tries, he let me pet him. I was given a rope to guide him around. Boy, was I in for a surprise!! He was STUBBORN!  I was given a strategy I will never forget. Stand a few inches in front of your horse. Point to your destination. Pat their rear-end and say, “Let’s go, [horse’s name] !”   If they  resist, give a slight nudge. Sometimes everyone needs a little push or reminder.   Encourage them to be their best, and be your best as well.

And last but not least, Rooster. This shaggy little horse was very fearful. Kathy said almost nobody could pet him. Unfortunately, at first, he would not allow us. But, we would not give up, (we were persistent) and he finally gave in. Maybe it’s time for you to step out what you think is safe (your comfort zone) and stop limiting your dreams.

The horses kept on biting themselves. I was worried about them until I learned flies were bothering them. When a fly bites a horse, it’s like getting pin stuck in your skin. I now realize sometimes we should be like those horses: saying no to things, relationships, people, and circumstances that just aren’t working and are bothering you.

I observed that the horses had huge eyes. Kathy explained that horses have the biggest eyes compared to any other mammal. Their only blind spots are directly in front of them and directly in the back of them. We must closely observe our life, even if we can’t see it visibly.

Elyssa's drawing of a Horse's hoof

Elyssa’s drawing of a Horse’s hoof

Kathy showed me how to lift  a horse’s hoof: you go down the leg, squeeze the chestnut, go down further still squeezing, and wait for the horse to walk. When it takes a step, catch the hoof with your hand.

A guide to the parts of a hoof: The curvy top part is the heel, and if you go straight down, you see the frog. The bar is v-shaped around the frog, and just outside the middle of it are the bores. The sole is just below it, in a u-shaped design outlined by the white line and topped off with the hoof wall. The hooves are not delicate, but still, horse shoes are put on to protect them from things such as sharp rocks or other objects.

What you may call the front leg is more like the front arm. The “shoulder” is the bump you see around the neck, then the “arm”, and a few inches above the hoof the “wrist”, and then the hoof can be called the “hand”, and the tip of it the “nails” and “fingers.”

Here are my top three favorite quotes about horses:

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.” – Sharon Ralls Lemon

“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.” Buck Brannaman

“I may not speak your language but when you spend time in my presence and listen with your heart, you will hear my voice.”  Anonymous

Horses truly are beautiful creatures. They can be role models to us. I encourage you to protect their homes and habitats. There are many ways to start. I also ask that you become a friend to the animals. Remember, they have the capacity to hurt you, but they don’t. Spending time with horses is an unforgettable experience.


1 Comment

  1. Nancy Sustersic on May 11, 2014 at 10:08 pm

    Elyssa what a beautiful journey into the world of horses. I can see now why people may misunderstand (as I have) the personalities of how a horse (and person as you mirror so well) may respond to how we connect to their temperaments. I not only was timid and fearful when around horses in my youth thinking they were big and scary but now I see I projected that lack of confidence to them and they were uneasy with that feeling too.

    Elyssa what a blessing your story is to so many of how they can change their thinking and the things that have not served them well in their lives so far. You helped me realize that early on, while starting my leadership journey and mentoring in my home business, I may have projected that same feeling and created less than “confident” results by not being assertive enough in the actions that are necessary and need to be implemented to be successful. Even a horse wants to know where you stand and can then decide if they want to be part of your space). In business I would ASK (knowing it was a volunteer army) instead of expect, command as you shared, and guide people on the system in place to achieve success.

    Thank you for the lessons you so beautifully share with the world in such a magical and fun way!

    Love you and your family like CRAZY!

    Nancy Sustersic
    (One of your Naples Grammas)

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