Therapeutic benefits of Horses by Emily Wardle

''Owning a horse has to be one of the greatest things that I could have done for my personal development, well-being and enjoyment. There must be no greater feeling than to be within the presence of a beautiful beast who relies and thrives on your existence.

As an A level student, I am under great pressure to achieve at school and to work as hard as I can to allow me to be able to fulfil my aspirations in life. This means that at school and during my own private study time, I need to be putting in one hundred percent of myself into all that I do. Therefore at times I need to be able to wind down and be able to refresh myself for the stresses of a new day. My own horse, Trudy, is a tool and the key to opening my mind to a new set of challenges which juxtapose my requirements in school.

Therapeutic benefits of Horses by Emily Wardle
My parents bought me my own horse over two and a half years ago, after previously proving my commitment by having two horses successfully on loan. When I first got Trudy she was a real beast of a horse, who was up on two legs as much as she was down on four.

Both me and my parents doubted our decision in buying her and we were all terrified for her next drastic move; Throwing me off her back, cow kicking at cars and leaping and rearing above our heads.

Fortunately, we were able to get through this terrifying stage and discover the real Trudy, that we now know and love. Her quirkiness and affection that shines from within her is a power stronger than anything else has ever given me and probably ever will.

Something that Trudy does which makes me smile is, as you bellow down the field ''TRUDYYY!'', she bounces back to you a neigh that gives great satisfaction and pride. She then canters down the field to you in a spectacular fashion, with her knees high off the ground as she appears in a cloud of dust,only to give you a kiss on the cheek. Yes, this is a horse. Yes, this is something that she has learnt to do herself as a mirror of the affection that we give unto her.

Therapeutic benefits of Horses by Emily WardleWhen I am feeling down, depressed or have generally had a stressful day, I squat in the corner of the stable whilst she stands and eats her hay above me. Usually, I end up encased in a pile of hay that has fallen from her hay net as she eats, only al lowing me to feel a greater part of her atmosphere. With only the gentle sound of her teeth grinding down the golden strands of hay, I can study her athletic and beautiful body, realising how lucky and fortunate I am to have the respect and time of such an enchanting creature. This time also allows me to soak up what surrounds me, the structures of the buildings are as patchwork as the meadows, being added to century by century, covering cracks and gaps with cement from every era. The age of the buildings show as they crumble, so beautifully, and yet still so rigid and solid, safe and secure. The spectrum of smells so lovely, whilst they may repulse others. The smoke of the old tractor, so fumey and dense against the sweet smell of freshly mowed hay, ready for bailing. The warm musky sent of the horse’s wild fur and the smell of the burning muck heap. Every Texture is unique, varied, not synthetic nor fake; this is real, organic and fresh. All so different and a statement of what I love.

Riding her for recreation also brings a new set of challenges, emotions and senses. Riding across the lovely Leicestershire countryside is a wonderful experience when sat from the saddle of a horse. Being able to ride across Bradgate Park, Swithland Woods and many other places, from a higher perspective, viewing scenery between the ears of a horse, is a recommendation for anyone and I challenge you not to love it.

Not only do I ride for recreation, but I also compete regularly in Show Jumping competitions. Trudy has an outstanding natural ability to throw her half tonne body and of course, myself, over a course of Show Jumping fences. Working as a team to compete and often win. Despite our successful days, horses being unpredictable animals of flight, at times can also provide a serious challenge as Man V. Beast. It only takes a slight miscommunication between the two of us, for it all to go horribly wrong. Therefore, the days that it doesn't go right my mum is a constant reminder and often regurgitates the phrase ''It's all character building!'', as you have to have the downs to appreciate the ups.

It doesn't matter who you are or whether you have your own horse, you may even ride someone else's horse at a riding school? As long as you give them the respect and correct treatment that they deserve, you too will reap the rewards of this beautiful partnership.''