Written by Catherine Sampson/trainer/owner/clinician at Trillium Equine Complex/Trillium Morgan Horse Farm, Orono, Ontario
“LET US MAKE HORSES RELEVANT AGAIN to a whole new generation that is lost to organized sports, technology gadgets, peer pressure and unhealthy lifestyles and choices.
There is NOTHING more gratifying than to give trustingly of one’s self both emotionally and physically than when you work with horses. They can be an enlightened path in a world of torment and temptation. They make for a strong mane to cry into when no one else seems to notice. They will challenge you and reward you in ways you never thought possible. They will also stand by you and listen to your words in whatever language you speak. They will unload the mind of its troubles of the day by simply allowing the person to focus on them and not themselves. They are the perfect stress fighter and best friend who never judges or belittles.
Many of my generation knows the value and life lessons horses teach. They are incredible mentors in a child’s life. They represent physical strength, strong emotional bonds, the importance of respect, trust, giving and sharing. They are not a hockey stick, basketball, football, dirt bike, tennis racket or any other inanimate object. They are a living animal with moral values to teach us and lessons to be learned. They are partners.
As riding and driving companions, horses demand physical effort and strength. They demand we have courage, sound thinking, awareness, sensitivity and above all confidence in ourselves. They make us look deep within and learn about who we are and discover how capable we truly can be. This is such a fragile comparison between size and strength, yet the minds of both bodies intertwine as strong as any steel when trust binds them together. I can think of no other sport or animal that defines us so strongly as humans because of this emotional link between a horse and its rider.
The horse has been with us for such a long time. I’m sad to see its numbers steadily decline and its popularity wane in a world that so desperately needs to find itself again. For those of us who still live passionately through our horses, we owe it to the horse to educate and promote their benefits to an unknowing public.
Reach out to the youth and people in our communities. Promote the horse and all the wonderful attributes it contributes to society from physical activity to emotional support and beyond. The horse can be a life changer and a game changer for so many people waiting to discover its magic.”
~ Catherine Sampson
*post script* I’m a former client of Catherine Sampson. When I wanted to learn how to drive a carriage, all other clinicians told me my horse Dalrahza was, at 15, “too old to learn anything new” (she was a former working cow horse who competed in the US Nationals, and later my lower level dressage and trail horse) But Catherine knew that horses (and their people) can always learn new things, and Dalrahza embarked on yet another career as a competitive carriage driving horse.
Life is short. Be brave. Love horses. Take some chances and learn new things. I might be too old to take up competitive cheer-leading, but learning itself never gets old.