Grateful for Galloping!

“Horses have been my greatest teachers… ”

Every day, there is so much to be thankful for in so many ways. As horse folk, we know it is a privilege to share the space we do with them, and it is not easy to find the places, the time and the money to do that, but it is beyond worth and words to spend that time. Here is a compilation of gratitude that stems from horses.

The friends I have lifelong connections with because of horses.


I am grateful for all of the horses that bring that calm in my soul every time I look at each one of our herd; they are our kids. I am happy when they thrive and all the babies

we raise.


Caring for others as in caring for animals (horses), i.e. brushing, grooming, feeding, loving, etc.


Friends! Lifelong special friendships that are present because of horses!


All the lessons I learn from my horse that help me be a stronger and better person for myself and others.


Purpose. Even on the worst of days, I have to get up and out to the barn to feed and take care of my equines.


The places they have taken me, the lifelong connections and the everyday physical effort that keeps me out of the rocking chair!


So many things—all those mentioned, and this summer, especially, building a partnership and working toward a common goal. That moment when you realize your horse is having just as much fun as you are and is radiating pure joy.


For all the things everyone shared already. And for how horses have illuminated my strengths and weaknesses—so I could see them. And for the way Onyx nickers when he sees me. The joy and calm that brings me is a gift beyond measure.


I love how horses communicate without speaking. They help me understand that sometimes there are no words needed.


I love how horses hold space for my emotions and I love that I have learned how to notice my emotions when I am around horses—working with them—riding. I notice how my emotions don’t belong in the saddle or in my energy when working with horses. Especially horses that are sensitive, green or both.


I’m so grateful I’ve been able to help so many horses that were either emotionally misunderstood or physically hurting without a way to communicate with their owner. Their recoveries have inspired me.


Horses have been my greatest teachers with countless lessons repeatedly learned that trust is earned. And if you think you can “break” a horse by brute force, you are possibly breaking what could have been a lasting bond that can only be cultivated by talk, tone and touch.


I’m grateful I don’t own a horse… but I love them when others own them. Beautiful animals.


Robyn: Long story short. My beautiful, beloved Morab, Ferrals Rae, aka “Tyon.” We won our championship western class. That horse was so hard to catch. I moved on and then my little sister Shannon could catch him and ride him with just bailing twine. She went on to show him and won in her classes. Last time I spent time with him he was in his 30s. We took a walk down the road, me with a cup of coffee, and who did we come upon but “Nick,” the Quarter Horse, that was the daddy to two of my mom’s horses. Tyon went crazy! Two geldings thinking they were battling stallions. Coffee cup went flying, two hands on the lead. Haha, such an unexpected, crazy moment. He lasted late into his 30s. God bless that wonderful horse to bring our family so much pleasure.

Meghan: That’s such a wonderful story! Shannon had the gift with him as he was so hard to catch! But my god what a pleasure to ride. The best horse I ever had!

Shannon: He was the best horse ever!

The sanctuary of the space my horse occupies, a place I always belong and feel better when I leave than when I arrived.


A horse’s tacit knowledge when she is around an individual with special needs/disabilities… kindness “horse-onified!”


There are so many things to be grateful for, but the best I think is knowing I can always improve both on my understanding of horses and on my riding.


The challenge and reward each day of learning to partner with and respect the 1000-pound other team member who has a mind of her/his own but who is pure truth.


The companionship of moving together across the earth as a team.


Having the joy of my youngest sharing the same love for horses that I do. Watching him develop a relationship with his pony and getting to support him through all those tough lessons and successes is the same kind of wonderful that Christmas morning is with kids. I’m also incredibly grateful for his pony who is an absolute saint, very smart, and gives 1000 percent with as much forgiveness with a new rider.


Everything horses have taught me in my 45-year career, and also to many students who have also taught me by what they have accomplished. It’s a never-ending journey and made a very rewarding career for me.


The warmth and soul of a horse.


Thank you to our horse community for the inspirational reflections! This season is the perfect time to reflect on all we are grateful for and reflect that back to our equine partners. Happy Thanksgiving!

Heather McWilliams © 2023