When I lost my horse Daisy a few months ago, I was devastated. I loved her dearly. Plus, she was my friend, and we needed each other. Daisy came to me fully trained and very ridable, but she began to lose her eyesight, a forerunner of what would eventually take her life. As she slowly lost her vision, I had to re-train her so that she would rely more on sound and touch than sight. I had no idea what this was doing for me as a trainer. I learned so much of what I now need to know to train my little filly, BB, an orphan who probably shouldn’t have made it from the very start. Though both of these beautiful animals learned a lot from me, my mom, and everyone else who helped with their training, in the end they have taught me so much.
I have learned to appreciate the small things. When Daisy would cock her ears and make a move to avoid hitting a tree, I was so happy! With BB, I smile each time she listens and remembers to turn left or right or simply stop. I don’t think about what a great riding horse she will become; I just enjoy the little lessons she is learning right now.
I have learned to have patience. With a blind horse and with a young horse, the lessons are not learned easily. Day after day we go through the same routines until the lesson is learned. I really believe that good things come to those who wait. Only when we look back do we understand how far we’ve come.
I have learned that trust is a very important part of teaching and learning. I need to know that they won’t pitch me or bolt, and they need to know that I won’t do anything that will hurt them or make them fearful. Trust is built through kindness, consistency, and nurturing.
I have learned to have hope. When I found out Daisy was blind, I couldn’t believe it. Some people told us put her down. Others shook their heads. A few, like my mom, said that she could be re-trained. Mom was right. With BB, her mother’s death could have easily been her death, but so many people stepped in to take turns tending to her and making sure she had what she needed physically and emotionally. Hand-raising a horse is not easy, but it helps you see that God works miracles through people – all the time.
The greatest of these is love. The bond based on trust, patience, appreciation, and hope between a human and a horse can result in nothing except love. I miss Daisy every day, but her memory lives on in BB as I use what Daisy taught me to train my little orphaned filly. God gave us horses to help us be better people.
About the Author: Taylor Zamora is an 8th-grade student at Flour Bluff Junior High. She loves animals of all kinds, especially horses.
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Retired from education after serving 30 years (twenty-eight as an English teacher and two years as a new-teacher mentor), Shirley enjoys her life with family and friends while serving her community, church, and school in Corpus Christi, Texas. She is the creator and managing editor of The Paper Trail, an online news/blog site that serves to offer new, in-depth, and insightful responses to the events of the day. She also writes and edits for The Texas Shoreline News, a Corpus Christi print newspaper.