What I Learned from a Lame Horse
April 29, 2015

What I Learned from a Lame Horse

“All your horses are a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you won’t like what you see, sometimes you will.”
– Buck Brannaman (he was inspiration for the book, The Horse Whisperer)

Without a doubt, horses truly are the mirror to your soul. I’m always learning so much from mine (his name is Hockey) but last year he taught me something very special.

It was a Monday morning and I received a call from the barn owner, Sarah. She’s an amazing, no nonsense horse woman and I never hear from her unless there is a problem. When I saw her name pop up on my phone display, I knew there was trouble.

She told me Hockey was favoring his right front leg. He had been perfectly fine the night before but now walked with a severe limp. No swelling, no cuts, nothing obvious to indicate injury.

I’d been through this before, he was getting an abscess.

In horses, a teeny tiny bit of something can somehow work its way up into the hoof and cause a sore to develop. The poor horse can go from being totally fine one day to looking as if he’s broken a leg the next. The trouble with an abscess is it usually stays up in the hoof for several days until it “breaks through” and can finally drain and start to heal. About the only thing you can do is soak the foot in hot salt water several times a day to encourage it to surface more quickly. An abscess is slow and painful for the horse and an exercise in patience and faith for the owner.

I had no idea how I was going to account for the extra time in my week now needed to make a trip to the barn 1-2x a day and soak Hockey’s foot. But… this is my horse so it had to be done.


We sat and soaked. My brain raced with all the things I still needed to finish for the day. But…it was great to see Hockey. My favorite place in the world is anywhere with my horse.


We sat and soaked. While I still had plenty to do my brain took a breath. It slowed down. I looked around at the clear blue sky, geese swimming in the pond, and my computer desk at home didn’t matter quite so much. Hockey


We sat and soaked. I liked it. I was happy Hockey was lame. It was a great excuse to go out and see him more often. Of course I don’t want him in pain, but he helped me realize something very important.

I needed to SLOW DOWN. I needed to spend more time in the special place in this world that is only for me. Nobody was making me work at a frantic pace.   I was doing it to myself.   Taking care of him, forced me to take care of me.


We sat and soaked. The tasks I pushed back to make room for him, still got finished with no harm done. In the time I spent with him, new ideas rushed in. Solutions to challenges came to me easily and when I did get back to my desk I was more productive.


We sat and soaked. The abscess still had not made an appearance and it was fine by me. His spirits were good and so were mine.
Thankfully, by the weekend the abscess did finally break through. It was only a few days later and Hockey was up and running around the pasture.

Though the abscess is long since in the past, even today I’m still so grateful for the lesson he taught me that week. To honor my own working pace, stop running around like mad, and just sit and soak up life for a little bit every damn day – no matter what!

So tell me…when will you take some time today to sit and soak?




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