How working with equines has calmed me nerves...
Horses have been used for therapeutic processes since the days of the Ancient Greeks. In fact, the Greek physician Hippocrites, known as the “Father of Medicine”, wrote about the therapeutic potential of horseback riding.
Riding later became more popular as a therapy tool in the 50s and 60s. In 1969, the North American Riding for Handicapped Association was formed; later becoming the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) International.
I’ve never grown up around horses. I just loved watching ‘Black Beauty’ (1994) as a child and feeding the horses behind my Grandpa’s house in Wales sugar cubes.
My newly-found passion for horses began in summer 2020. It was post-lockdown, I was fat as a house, and me, my mum and my sister went for a walk on Clifton Canal. There’s a field near there with three horses and a Shetland Pony. One of them is a brown and white therapy horse named Marley and the other is a real-life black beauty named Bella who nuzzled my coat.
Visiting these horses and feeding them grass has become our weekend fixture. Call it our animal welfare check as the horses are always covered in mud and burrs, very badly-kept.
It’s often very cold - -1 and bloody freezing and I’ve had to buy thick gloves. The worst bit is getting water for the ponies in the morning and finding the tap is frozen, but there’s always a very pretty girl there to show me what to do.
I’ve been doing this since October 2020 and now consider myself a fully-grown farmer. My favourite experience, however, was when I finally got to ride a horse. They let me mount Charlie - the biggest and broadest horse on the block. I needed that because I’m 6ft2 and 213 lbs and a big guy needs a big horse. I’m not a little tot.
The ride was great fun. They taught me how to trot, to gallop, to turn, all around an indoor riding school. It definitely made me feel calmer. I felt like Arm in ‘Calm with Horses’.
Working with horses has certainly calmed me as I battle my day-to-day battle with OCD. I wonder whether it will benefit others...
Freelance film critic, journalist and writer based in Nottingham, UK. Specialises in cinema.
Roshan's Top 5 Films of the Week
Follow Me on Twitter