Healing Through Horses

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Gillian accepts services from Imagine!’s Out & About department, and last year, joined the Horsin’ Around class for the first time. Held at Medicine Horse in Boulder, participants learn how to build relationships with the horses, care for them, and ride them.

“I like hanging out with them. Getting to know each of their personalities is really rewarding to me,” said Gillian.

A few weeks before Gillian attended the class, she found out that her cousin had died. “I was out of sorts,” said Gillian. “I remember thinking ‘I need to find something to help me cope.’” After spending time in the stalls grooming and feeding the horses, Gillian realized how therapeutic this was for her, “Just being outside, grooming them, and being around them helped me cope.”

With over ten horses on the ranch, Gillian created a bond with one in particular: a white, starling blue-eyed, gypsy pony named Frankie. “It felt like he knew I lost somebody. Animals sense what’s wrong, and it seemed like he was there for me as much as I was there for him.” Gillian recalls a favorite memory in one of the arenas with Frankie. “He rolled around on the ground and got really dirty. I laughed so hard.”

After a few classes of learning how to groom and lead the horses, participants saddled up and furthered those relationships with riding. “My cousin used to ride horses, so every time I rode Frankie, I could feel my cousin’s spirit,” said Gillian. “I felt the spirit say ‘it’s okay, I’m fine.’ It helped lift me out of a fog.”

“I’m still coming to grips with being okay (about cousin),” said Gillian. “I was glad to take the Horsin’ Around class again this year as it’s helped me get more closure.”

Gillian has found that this class also helps with work she does on the side. “I take care of my neighbor’s dog down the street. I’ve always had a love for animals,” said Gillian. “Horsin’ Around has taught me to be more patient and careful around all animals.” Gillian has worked with three different dogs over the past few years, deepening her passion and care for her four-legged friends. :)