The following blog post was written by Global Gap Year Fellow, McCarty Hudson.

Dear Boo,

Thank you. Thank you for welcoming me into your home. Thank you for all the playful energy you’ve given me. Thank you for showing me how to connect with horses. Thank you for being my therapy horse.

  Ever since I got to Horses of Hope, I was drawn to you. As the small guy in the herd, the loner, the little kid who gets picked on, you have always been the horse that I connected with the most. I knew nothing about horses or horse therapy when I walked up to you for the first time in late August. Yet you opened your world to me. You knew what it felt like to be the new one, the inexperienced one, the one who made mistakes. And that was exactly what I was. But to have you as my teacher was the best possible way for me to learn how things are done here. You showed me how to clean the paddocks by playing with the rake and the wagon. You showed me how to be a leader by pushing me to get your attention simply by raising my energy. You showed me how to be confident by being spunky while I worked with you. You showed me how to bring play into work by having a positive attitude while working. And you showed me how to connect in the most meaningful way.

About a month ago, my dog, Pepper, passed away unexpectedly from a car accident. The night that I found out about it, I was a wreck. As someone who is not typically very emotional, I was quite the opposite that night. But Elaine, my host, came over and told me I should go sit with the horses. So I did. And that’s when the most incredible connection happened. You came right to me and initially played with my hat as I cried and cried. Then, you put your nose to my head and simply breathed with me. This went on for a long time. But eventually, our synchronous breathing was no longer gasps of air through blurry eyes. You calmed me down. I could feel your love in each breath that we shared. Without that, I don’t know how I would have calmed down enough to go to bed. And that strong, meaningful connection hasn’t stopped there.

  Every time I come out to get all of the horses in, you’re the first to come galloping over to me. It is the best greeting I have ever gotten. And I get it every day! I see the smile on your face and the joyful energy in your canter. It fills me with so much happiness and love; it’s remarkable. And when I scratch you in the right spot and you reach your head up to the sky like a giraffe, I know you feel the same happiness and love.

Right now, as I am writing this, I see you in the pasture laying down in the shade and I know that if I simply called your name you would get up and come running to meet me. Woah, you actually did just get up. I’m telling you, sometimes it’s like you can read my mind. And if anybody could read my mind, I would want it to be you.

Thank you for everything, Boo. You have changed my life and I am so lucky to get to spend another month with you!