50th Anniversary

Horse Love


February is the month of red roses, chocolate hearts, valentines and love.  Everyone at High Hopes who was asked what they felt about horses thought of that very same word, love. There is the life-long love of every horse, and the beginning of life passion for a single pony. There is that feeling of wonder at an animal at once so powerful, but so gentle, strong enough to run with us on their backs, but sensitive enough to listen to our hearts beat. There is the love born of gratitude for the dear, patient horse who taught us to balance and sit strong and tall in the saddle, then gave us the world from their back. There is that much beloved horse who helped us fly when we were barely able to walk, and find our voice when we had yet to speak.

Horses are strong, yet vulnerable, powerful yet sensitive. They are 1,000 pounds of mysteries and contradictions, and some of our best friends. We form bonds with them, and we do love them. The sound of hoofbeats becomes our music, their scent our perfume. Their honesty is treasured. They listen to our stories and keep our secrets, requiring only that we be honest in return.  Horses don’t care what we look like, or what we wear, only that we earn their respect with consistency and kindness. They teach us lessons we need to know to be better humans.

Horses are beautiful inside and out. There is as much beauty in the equine soul as in the body, which when running, has so often been described as poetry in motion.

Being with horses is calming.  Looking into a horse’s large, soft eyes is a journey to friendship. Grooming, working our way through their warm coats, says, “I care”.  Relaxing into the motion of the brush says, “I know”.

Once a horse is in your heart, it will be there forever.

– Judith Cohen, Volunteer


My horse love started, as with many a little girl, being absolutely obsessed with horses.  I was always drawing pictures of them.  Some of the full body renditions really resembled a bovine or a canine more than an equine.  I cut out photos of the horse I would someday own, reading Black Beauty, National Velvet, the Misty and Stormy books over and over again.

In high school I had access to a sweet old mare named Lady at my dad’s friend’s farm.  His daughters were away at college, so I got to visit anytime I succeeded in getting my dad to drive me.  Lady was a gentle, western riding horse and I was thrilled to spend any Saturday riding or mucking out her stall.  I always remember picking out her hooves.  I’d finish one foot and she would have the next one hanging in mid-air ready for me.  I loved grooming her and talking to her about life, the smells of the barn, her big brown eyes and shaggy winter coat.

I took lessons at different times as an adult, some dressage, a little jumping. I attended horse shows to watch my friends’ daughters compete.  Alas, I was not destined to own a horse of my own.  But I am more than content to have found High Hopes where I can get my “horse fix”.  Although, I don’t have a lot of expertise in all things horse, I have found a niche with side walking, especially enjoying the little riders and the gentle giants that carry them.

How can you not feel horse love in that??

-Deb T-S, Volunteer

Sign up for our newsletter