Positive Therapy: How a Horse Turned My Life Around
by Colleen Bond
Many times when I hear of young people being bullied, I think back to the days when I was. Name calling was an issue at our school. It was so bad I didn’t want to go and my grades suffered because of it. I’d get called names like ugly and dumb, etc. Kids didn’t want to be near me because others would say, “She’s got fleas.” It was devastating. It’s hard to think back, but I’ve come a long way. When it was at its worst, I got help in a unique way—my dad bought me a horse!
When I was about 12, my family moved to a different farm, a bigger house and better land. One of the first things my dad did was buy me a beautiful, tall bay mare. She was 19, gentle, and I rode her every chance I got, sometimes from right after school until dark. Her name was Linda and I fell in love with her. I spent lots of time brushing her or sitting on her warm back, just talking to her. She would be called a therapy horse today. She was the start of a very interesting life of love, horses, healing, and friendships of a different kind. I got into horsemanship, 4-H, fairs, and trail rides. My dad could see what it did for me, so after Linda he did a lot of buying and trading horses and I had some beauties!
My parents had saved money for me to go to college. I didn’t know what I wanted so they sent me to a cooking course in The Pas, Manitoba. It was a one-year course and then I could get a job anywhere. I worked around Saskatchewan at restaurants and for road crews. Then I went to British Columbia where I worked at dude ranches. I always had a horse to ride when not at work. One horse I really liked was a tall palomino gelding called Partner. He was loaded with energy, I could feel it while riding him up and down mountains. He was also a swimmer. I’ve never owned a horse like that since.
I moved back to Saskatchewan and married my best friend Bob, we lived on a farm and always had horses. Our children learned to ride and came with us on countless trail rides. Now, as we are older, we live in town and don’t have horses, just a lot of good memories. Every time I hear of therapy horses, I think of how blessed I’ve been. How a horse turned my life around, gave me happiness and goals and more!
Positive pointers: Get your child a dog, cat, or horse if they are being bullied. If getting a horse, then get an older, quiet one so they will feel safe.
Colleen Bond is a reflexologist who lives in Kelvington, SK, with her husband Bob. Their health food store closed permanently on June 30. To contact Colleen for reflexology call (306) 327-9090.