By Ann M. Taylor, Equine Specialist for The Meadows
Breed: Running Quarter
Have you ever met a person who you intuitively knew you just wanted to know better? They have that heavy weight of wisdom earned by walking those long miles of life, someone with so much to offer but who hides behind walls?
I know a horse like that.
He is a horse that would make any rider look good. At one point in his life he was a professional dressage horse, with an extended trot that is a delight and a rhythmic cadence. The kind of horse an up-and- coming would delight in until their talent surpassed his endurance and they found a brighter prospect. Years of professional performance work and lack of a steady riding partner have affected Casper. He has a very hard time with intimacy. Ask him to do a task and he is more than willing. Ask him to stand with you and just be... there is where things become interesting.
Loving hugs and pets are often tolerated or avoided all together. A subtle cue from a rider is so much easier for him to understand than the subtleties of intimacy. Even in the herd with the other horses Casper is mostly alone, he chooses to be. So isn't it curious when you look over your shoulder and he's nuzzling someone from behind? Ears perk up and an inquisitive lip starts playing with a jacket or hat. A great grey head wraps knowingly around a person for a brief time or he lowers his head just long enough for a scratch on the ears.
More often than not the people who are drawn to Casper are those who can relate to his story. Casper isn't asked to do anything other than just be Casper. In this, he changes lives and those lives change him. He can explore relationships for the first time. He can have boundaries instead of walls now. He can play on cool days and nap on warm sunny ones. Casper can just be a horse.
His gift to our program is that we get to see these things grow and unfold as Casper, in his time, explores them. A purposeful turn of his head, an easy languid blink of an eye and suddenly you know so much more about the person who is in the arena with him. He is more than willing to share what he knows but you must be willing to listen.
Casper is truly a gifted therapy horse and amazing teacher.