I have loved horses since I was a girl. I asked for one but of course I couldn’t have one. I was 12 when I was first introduced to barn work. I always wanted to ride. Unfortunately I was never allowed to by my stepmother. She never allowed me to go to the ranch but allowed my sisters to go to work for their lessons. At the time I never understood why, so from there my depression thickened. No one knew what I was going through. I met my first love named Stormy. I brushed him once and we bonded instantly. He was the original horse my stepmom and dad were going to buy for my sister. He didn’t really like them. He was a grouch and so she found a different horse. This beautiful sorrel horse with his white face captured my heart and vise versa. Any chance I got there at that ranch, thanks to my dad, I would run to him or the other way around.. I called him and he would come running. It was like the end of the world when I left, he would stand and whinny. “What did you do to that horse?” My dad asked. What he didn’t know is every chance I was with him. I loved him, unconditionally and he loved me back, no doubt. When grooming him I would talk and vent to him wishing he was mine. I tried so hard to control my rage for at home my stepdad would be. The only way I could make people see was to cry out for attention. 13, I was afraid sometimes to go home because I never knew my stepdad’s mood. My mother worked three jobs to keep us fed and housed, while he would go out and drink. Him coming home is what I would fear the most, for fear of being bruised or worse. A three year old sister I had to watch often, doing his job instead. I would scrape stuff into my skin just to feel a different pain. I thought of how nice it would be to die, perhaps I wouldn’t feel so miserable. The only place I truly felt sane was that barn with the little red horse, my knight, my drug. But one day my problems got the best of me in school, as I was always in trouble. It was that which turned my chapter darker yet. ”Go get Stormy” my dad requested for he knew I knew that horse the best. It was storming that day and he knew with me he would come without a complaint. It was then my heart snapped in two as I realized I was bringing him to his new owner. I ran to the bathroom to cry, the only one who understood me ripped away from me in the worst way. It got worse from that point, my depression took over me like a monsoon. It wasn’t until I turned 15, my mother allowed me to volunteer at a rescue farm called Wiscountry Dreams. It was there I learned the true meaning of a bond between horses and human. A joy within me sparked seeing all these poor creatures once suffering, happy and eager to work with me, and to please me. I had the responsibility of working with those 14 horses and their lovely owners. That was all I ever asked for, I started improving in school. I LOVED them like I was part of the herd. I played with them all in the field. I ran and they all came galloping behind me. I was their alpha, the leader, and I loved them with a passion. They loved me back. How was a 15 year-old capable of all this? It was the unconditional love I had for them. As a victim of previous abuse, having depression, and anxiety, they were therapeutic. They listened to me when no one else would. It was almost as if our previous abuse was what brought us together and together we healed. Bonds ever so strong it was a joy to see some go to a loving home. With radiating love, I gave them confidence again, just as they did the same for me. Of course there was heartbreak. A couple hadn’t made it from such abuse they endured, but they passed knowing they were loved and cared for. Since, I have yet to get a herd. These experiences with these horses touched my heart. I will never forget all the horses that changed my life for the better, even if the painful memories still remain, that is why horses are my drug.