Updated: Jan 17
Highlighting Resilience I can not help but look around my life and often see clear examples of resilience in horses and humans. The accomplishments and resilience demonstrated by one horse/human pair at Dusty Dog Farm I feel deserves a highlight. Sophia Carreras came into my life as a young and small girl, with a deep and burning passion surrounding horses and riding. She has gained a connection with horses through years of hard work and persistence. I have seen it. She has learned courage, gratitude, forgiveness and compassion with the help of her equine companion, Zara. I interviewed Sophia to gain her perspective of the journey. Following are quotes, please enjoy :
How many years have you ridden? I have been riding for 6 years.
How long have you had Zara? I bought Zara in January of 2019.
What are some accomplishments you’ve had with Zara? Some of the accomplishments I’ve had with Zara are, winning the $100 Coco Classic at the fall Dusty Dog show with a score of 84, winning the $200 2’3 hunter derby at finals with an 81 out of 22 riders, and getting reserve champion at finals in the Modified Children's Eq Medal!
What are some hardships that you’ve had with Zara? Some of the hardships that I’ve had with Zara include, when I first started riding her she didn’t understand anything and got very frustrated when I wasn’t clear, last year Zara sprained her fetlock a day before a show resulting in her having to be on stall rest, and my recent upper body twisting negatively affecting Zara and getting in the way of her performance.
Why Zara? When I went to meet “Julia”, now known as Zara, she was skin and bones, and very malnourished. She was not the horse that I was looking for, but we really clicked. She was a lot like me, in a lot of ways. She was very loving and playful but was very stubborn at times. I was not thinking clearly, and got on her bareback in a halter, even though she had only been sat on a handful of times. Though she was spunky, we got along right away. It just felt wrong leaving her there, to live in a stall and stay hungry. Everyone thought I was crazy, but I had a gut feeling, so we made a down payment on her and scheduled a pre-purchase exam with the vet. Once we got the results from the pre-purchase exam, we decided to go through with the purchase! She arrived at Dusty Dog Farm on January 6, 2019. She looks nothing like she did when I first met her anymore, and has become my heart horse.
How do you think your journey with Zara has taught you courage? I have been taught courage from Zara because when I first bought Zara she was basically untouched. She lived in a stall with little food and minimal light. She knew nothing under saddle and was very underweight. I didn’t know anything about starting horses, but I wanted to give it a shot. I have taught her almost everything she knows under saddle. From what leg pressure is to jumping, I have taught her all by myself. It has definitely not been easy at times, but we’ve worked through it, and have always come out of it learning something new.
Have you changed how you think about gratitude as a result of your relationship with horses? For sure, horses have given me a lot in life and taught me some of the best life lessons. They have taught me a lot of patience, but also, to be very clear with what I ask of them.
How do horses help teach forgiveness? Horses are very forgiving animals. One good example is just the other day I was taking Zara’s blanket off and it was very staticy, so I shocked her as I was pulling it off. I felt awful because she freaked out and became very scared of me and did not want me to touch her. She couldn't understand that I didn’t mean to shock her, so she took it really hard. The next day all she wanted was for me to shower her with love. She was a little weary at first, but she had forgiven me for shocking her. It was very cool to see how much she trusts me and had forgiven me after shocking her the night before!
Would you say you have grown more compassionate due to your connection with horses? Yes, being in this sport has given me a lot of compassion for the well being of animals and the hard work entailed.
Thank you so much Sophia for sharing what resilience means to you! All my best, Christina