Natural Horse World

10 Things My Horses Give Me

Cynthia on Rosie at liberty
Me on Rosie enjoying the sun.

When people ask how many horses I have and I answer ‘fourteen’, they often look at me with surprise or say ‘wow – that’s a lot of horses to look after’.

Yes, it’s a fair bit of work, especially as two of them are 30+ ‘oldies’ who need ‘intensive’ feeding year round and rugging in the colder, wetter months.

Horses have always been my passion and to a large extent have defined who I’ve become.  While I’ve had them in my life for 50 years, I’ve been making a living with them for the past 20 so I’m used to the work and responsibility of caring for them well.

When people ask me what I do with that many horses, I used to get uncomfortable, and wonder how to explain that essentially I don’t do anything traditional with them like ride for pleasure or sport, breed or sell them on once they’re trained or rehabilitated.

But now I’ve come up with an answer which goes something like this: ‘My horses are my family – I’ve raised most of them from birth and some are in their mid-twenties so parting with them is like getting rid of your 4-year-old child.’

Girls Herd Shelter from rain
My ‘Girls’ herd sheltering from rain and wind in front of my house – it’s so easy to observe them living so close to me.

‘They’re also models and product testers for my online shop – and that means they’re a tax deduction.’
Whew, at least they do appear to have a ‘valid’ use!

But in reality, my horses give me so much more. It wasn’t until I lacked motivation in the office that I gave up trying to do anything meaningful and went out to trim hooves and hang with the horses. Then I realised something… there are many things my horses do for my physical and mental health – so here’s ten in no particular order;

1. Inspiration – being with them clears my mind and allows new ideas to flow. They provide topics for my writing and motivate me when I have ‘writer’s block’- this post is a good example. They are subjects for my interest in photography and other artistic ideas.
They also inspire me to develop new products that benefit others such as my LightRider Bitless Bridles.

Trimming and hanging out with the herd
Trimming and hanging out with the herd are my 2 favorite things.

2. Relaxation – I’m fully ‘in the moment’ with them and I forget all my worries and agendas especially when I just hang out, say hello and do some mutual grooming (which is mostly me scratching them!).

3. Time out in nature – it’s so important these days where we spend a lot of time in front of screens, driving cars and inside buildings.
Now there is also evidence that being in nature allows us to take in ‘good bacteria’ which is great for our gut and therefore our overall health.

4. Exercise – walking, occasional riding, trimming hooves, feeding, lifting hay bales/nets and feed buckets, fencing and grooming are all good and varied forms of exercise.

LightRider Natural bridle on Sassy the mule
Even Sassy the mule can be a photographic model.

5. Skills – I’m constantly learning new things from and with my horses in order to keep them in good health. For example; new rope knots, training techniques, ways of feeding them better, things to enrich their lives, pasture and soil management etc.

6. Friendship & relating – horses are social beings and so are we. Mine are usually less demanding to be with than people, although sometimes I wonder when they’re all lining up to have their bottom’s scratched!
Without realising, I’ve learnt a lot about relating, becoming more aware of body language and considering the other person’s/horses point of view. This has allowed me to respond thoughtfully rather than react to difficult situations.
They also bring new friendships into my life with the helpers from all over the world that come to stay with me and love learning from my horses.

7. Research and photographic models – I test out all the products I sell before adding them to my online shop – in fact, I usually only sell stuff that my herd and I find useful and that works well. Most of my horses cooperate well to model the bitless bridles, halters, bareback pads and other apparel I develop and sell. Having 14 horses gives me a variety of size and colour choices.

Armero & Cynthia.
31-year-old Armero leaning into an itch with me this summer.

8. Challenges – we all learn more from getting out of our comfort zone and horses challenge us to look for answers and try new things. Sometimes those challenges are mental – (how do we find out when and what to feed an insulin resistant horse), sometimes emotional (when do I need to euthanise the ‘oldies’) and others are physical (how do I stop that pony getting through the electric fence!).

9. Entertainment – I love observing my horses from the house – no need for a TV here during daylight saving hours! When I hear galloping hooves I look up to see them running and check why or what from (the neighbour has scary sheep!). I especially enjoy watching their herd behaviour and how that changes over time as herd friendships develop.

10. Motivation – things need to be done even if we don’t feel like getting out there. Feeding, hoof care, worming, fencing etc. and once you’re moving, it’s easier to feel like tackling other tasks outside. Once we’re out there with our horses we see the beautiful sunrise/sunset, we notice what needs doing, we enjoy being active and so life goes on with this amazing animal – the horse.

What else do your horses give you? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

My herd following me.
The girls herd following me to the back pasture.


8 thoughts on “10 Things My Horses Give Me”

  1. Anne Grovestock-Thompson

    Our horses became just pets becuase we have to put their needs before our own as they are family. We enjoy interacting with them so much that their not wanting to be ridden (Murphy is blind in one eye and started to struggle turning to his blind side and we found out that Dafydd had fallen under a previous rider) wasn’t a problem. I read research that indicated that riding them was damaging their backs anyway. I do miss riding but our relationship is not about force – I want to go trail riding at a local stables but am struggling with the ethics of this, especially as none of their horses are bitless. We recently had Dafydd put to sleep and because Murphy needed horse company we asked our horse neighbour to put hers in with our boy and this helped him settle.

    1. Cynthia

      Lovely to hear you are putting your horse’s needs first Anne.

  2. Agreed! My family aren’t “horse people” but they get it. We were having dinner and I said, “I don’t know why, but I’m feeling out of sorts today” and my son said, in all seriousness, “you didn’t have enough horse time today.”

    1. Cynthia

      It’s lovely to hear your family understand 🙂 Yes ‘horse time’ is essential!

  3. Somehow, some way you & I must be related 🙂 There is no one in my family that ever had a horse or gave them much thought & yet the story goes that as an infant I was not happy unless I was staring at horses on the TV. My Mother said the first work out of my mouth when I learned to talk was “orsey”. I am 64 yrs. old now & my adoration and passion for horses has never diminished or taken a backseat to much. I’ve had 4 horses in 31 yrs. and they are still teaching me life’s lessons. Mainly I’ve learned :
    Undying Patience
    How to love a living being UNCONDITIONALLY
    HOW TO NOT need to see a “shrink” – just muck my stalls, Watch the horses in their natural environment or take a bareback/bridleless ride in a full moonlit pasture
    Perhaps most of all they’ve taught me that no matter what the living creature may be-dog, cat, rabbit, mouse, or horse- they are capable of deep, devoted, all-encompassing LOVE.
    I would be in quite a miserable state without the experiences I have learned from my 4 legged family members through the years esp. HORSES.
    Thanks for letting me share.

    1. Cynthia

      Thanks for sharing Ondrea – yes we may well be related from a past horse life – perhaps we were pasture buddies 🙂

  4. Natasha

    I love this Cynthia, it’s so spot on! When giving people my answer to the question ‘what do you do with them’ I often add the comment ‘they don’t care if they’re ridden or not!’ It’s also very true that they keep me mentally healthy and that’s the most important thing of all. When I’m with them I don’t think about anything else ?
    Thank YOU for being my inspiration.

    1. Cynthia

      Thank you too! Yes I’m sure horses don’t care if they are ridden but if they are, I’m sure they care about the way in which they are ridden, and what tack is used 🙂

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