8 Heartwarming Horse Tales That Changed People's Lives

Here are some heartwarming stories from riders that will either make your heart ache or make you hee-haw out loud.
8 Heartwarming Horse Tales That Changed People's Lives

Life with a horse is definitely a journey: from tentatively getting to know each other to nurturing a strong relationship and beyond, you and your riding partner get to form so many memories together. 

For this article, we checked out one of the best equestrian communities online–the subreddit r/horsesand collated some of the nicest equestrian lifedata-style stories we could find to go with the inspirational horse quotes we’ve recently featured. We’ve classified them into three categories:

We hope these make you appreciate both small and big moments with your equine friend even more!

Stories about meeting your first horse

Do you remember your very first riding partner? Whether you’ve recently met or the memory triggers decades-old nostalgia, your first horse will always hold a special place in your heart.


A Christmas Present

User Laimoes recalls meeting their first horse on Christmas Eve back when they were only nine years old. 

“I had been what I thought was half-leasing a quarter horse mare. She was around 13 years old.” Little did they know that their parents were buying the horse.

“It was Christmas Eve and we had just finished dinner and my parents decided to go to the barn (which was about a five-minute drive from our house) to give the horses some Christmas carrots (my sister owned a horse at the time as well).” After going through a blizzard that turned the five-minute drive into a 20-minute excursion, they reached the barn, where they saw something unusual.

“I noticed my half-leased horse’s stall was completely wrapped, with a huge bow on it and a huge sign that said ‘Merry Christmas. Laimoes, Love Mom and Dad’. I thought they had bought the stall! I was in shock. Needless to say, it was the best gift I have ever received.” 

Laimoes ends by sharing that the mare stayed with them for five years. “She taught me a lot.”

Starting them young

Meeting by Accident

Sometimes, you meet your riding partner in the most unusual situations, such as what happened to user sarabara2013.

“I got an 18-year-old, 17-hand chestnut Selle Francais mare four years ago by chance.” According to them, the previous owner had to get away from her abusive family and asked sarabara2013’s family if they can board the Annie, the horse, at their Aunt Libby’s farm.

“We said, ‘Sure, we’ll be glad to help until you get back on your feet.’ She dropped her off and said ‘I hope you enjoy her!’”

They found it odd that Annie’s owner would say that. “We were like, ‘Wait, you’re getting her later, right? She didn’t answer–just got back in the truck and left.”

Annie wasn’t in the best shape. “She dropped her off with her mane still braided from a previous show, [with] rain rot so bad it was bleeding, and [she] was at least 100 pounds underweight,” said sarabara2013. “We took care of her rain rot and weight then decided we needed to find out who this mare was.”

Her Aunt Libby did a bit of research on the mare’s family tree, “and discovered that Annie had been an amazing Grand Prix jumper, a ‘prissy princess’ and, as many told us, ‘not a beginner’s horse’ and was ‘hard to ride and get along with’.

“Libby looked at me and said, ‘Now, you can put your big girl panties on and learn how to ride her, or I can send her back to a previous owner in Ocala.’”

sarabara2013 took it as a challenge to get to know Annie, and through the years, they’ve created a beautiful and lasting bond.

“Since that day, Annie has been nothing but amazing. She’s taken care of me, taught me things no horse has taught me, and has given me many memories. She’s been patient with me (unless it’s feeding time, of course), and has become my best friend. For someone who didn’t particularly care for mares, I sure do love mine.”


A Second Lease in Life

Horse auctions have a sad backstory, as many horses that don’t get sold end up being slaughtered. Getting a horse from an auction means, more often than not, that you’re saving their life.

User BrittForte shares that she got her first horse from an auction. “[I] went to the auction house with my family. When we left the barn, the first thing they told me [was] ‘We are not getting a horse today, so don’t even ask.’”

Of course, things (thankfully) didn’t go as planned when she fell in love with a pony she saw. 

“My parents came and looked at him and realized, ‘Oh hey, we just found an awesome first pony for our daughter’... We were the only people to bid on him for $300.”

Since they weren’t ready with a trailer and even a halter (they weren’t planning on getting a horse after all), the family that picked the other horse from the same seller had agreed to help them bring the pony home. “After we got him settled, we went and got basics that we didn’t have yet (most of the tack we had were Arab-sized).”

When BrittForte had the pony checked by a vet, they realized that he was actually older than they were told and that they needed to get his wolf teeth removed. 

“And that’s how I accidentally got my first pony. We kept him for a long time until he turned into a pasture pony with arthritis.” There’s nothing more memorable than saving a life.

Nostalgic horse racing stories

From the arena to the track, being with your horse makes a huge part of your collection of core memories.


“Racing is my baseline”

On the r/horseracing thread, user shine-notburn shares how much horses and racing have turned his life around:

“I was 15, homeless, hungry and alone in the world. I had grown up riding horses and knew plenty about them. I was (and am) an avid reader and always had a library book or three with me."

"There was a small cafe that I would go to most days, if I could afford a cup of tea. It gave me somewhere familiar and safe and warm to be while I read, and the staff didn’t mind if I was there a lot longer than what it took to drink my tea. Before long, the chef started bringing me snacks. Usually it wasn’t actual menu items, but food she had put together for her own meal, and made a little extra for me. She’d always bring it out to me herself and ask what I was reading. It was normally horse books of one kind or another."

"After a few shared meals she said, ‘I don’t know if you’d be interested, but my husband trains racehorses, he could use some help in the mornings.’”

The offer was the break that they had been waiting for.

“Obviously I was interested. I started that week. I found someone who would rent me a single room in a house close to the track. I made friends, I went back to school because I wanted to get into a racing course that was available through the community college."

"Racing saved my life then. And racing saved my life again 12 years after that when I had to leave an abusive marriage with nothing in place, nowhere to go, a corporate job that I wouldn’t be able to keep.”

With horses and just beyond the track, horse racing became the lifeline that held things together when life got rough.

“To me racing is my baseline, the thing I might leave occasionally, but the place I will always come back to. What’s funny is that I don’t bet. I barely know anything about betting because from the first time I touched a racehorse, I knew I wanted to only ever care for them, and never to exploit them. I only ever place small bets on the horses I am taking out to race meets for luck (I don’t know if it’s the same where you are but in my part of the world it’s terribly unlucky not to back your own horses)."

“I’m getting old now and I wonder how long I can sustain the racing life. It makes me terribly sad to think of leaving.”


Starting Them Young

For user DuxFan07, the racetrack was simply in their blood. “Started with my dad and Grandpa taking me to the racetrack while I was in diapers. Live near the Del Mar Racetrack so I would go with my dad and grandparents all the time. Summer was me always wanting to go to the track and see the jockeys and horses and everything." 

“Eventually got into reading the daily racing form by age 12 and started handicapping overtime and loved everything more. Didn’t hurt to know people to go on the backside and meet some of the better horses at the time in California. I mean, hell, today I’m walking over to Del Mar to enjoy a nice quiet Fall Day.”

Funny Horse Stories

Horses have strong personalities, and can often be quirky, too. Living the true equestrian lifedata-style means spending a lot of time with your riding partner and would inevitably result in having a lot of crazy experiences to last both of you a lifetime.

In r/Horses, one Redditor asked for funny stories they could share with their dementia patient who loved horses, and of course, the community delivered.


A Little Too Playful

User gdbecca shared a time when their horse enjoyed their windbreaker a little too much:

“I wore my windbreaker to the barn last spring. It has an elastic waist with one of those little metal fobs that you can use to tighten it up. My horse was fascinated. He played with it, bouncing it around with his lip. Then he grabbed it, pulled it way back and let go when I yelled at him. 

“And that’s the story of how I got a golf-ball sized welt on my rear end. Sat on an ice pack for days.”


Big Shoes To Fill

A lot of funny stories about horses include light riding mishaps. For user pnwhorsetrainer, it involved them, a horse, and a pair of boots.

During their younger years, pnwhorsetrainer and their dad headed out to the barn for a bit of horseback riding after a large snowstorm. 

“At the time, I was about 12 years old, but had tall riding boots that my mother figured I would ‘grow into.'"

“I was riding around at the walk and trot when all of a sudden a large chunk of snow fell off of the tin roof, making a loud thud as it hit the ground. My horse spooked and bolted off straight forward, causing me to sort of roll off of her butt–essentially she moved forward so quickly that I reverse-somersaulted over her rump and landed on my butt in the dirt. I was fine, but I noticed a breeze a moment later, on my feet of all places. I look down–just socks. I look up–my horse is about 30 feet ahead of me, turning around to look at me. She has both of my riding boots still in the stirrups.”


Escape Artist

Every equestrian has a story about escaped and loose horses. These recollections posted by user carbonarbonoxide are two of several that they listed on the escaped horse story thread:

“Trainer friend had a pair of Haflinger brothers who could unlatch/untie any gate, and it was not uncommon to see them by the side of the road as I drove up to the barn to feed in the morning. Eventually, we got to know the neighbors very well, and they would call/text if they saw the boys had figured out the new latches/knots/whatever we were using to keep them in that week.

“A horse I had as a kid figured out how to open her stall one night, and let out my best friend's two horses and one other mare. They wrecked everything–we thought raccoons had gotten into the trash and blanket storage bins. Nope, it was the ponies.”

For all the great and crazy stories that your horse has shared with you, it’s only right that you give them the love and care they deserve, as well as the proper equipment to keep them comfortable. Check out Kavallerie’s catalog of gel pads to go with your pro rider saddles to avoid slippage and keep weight properly distributed on your horse’s back. 

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