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When I first began writing my blog I wrote about Harriet- my Percheron horse and love of my life who passed away a few years ago. Losing her was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to face. She was my life.

My mom called me a couple of days ago when I was in class. I checked my voicemail and heard a tone in her voice that I don’t know I’ve ever heard before. She sounded better than happy. She was elated and almost awestruck. One of her dear, life-long friends had called and asked if she and I could help them out with something. They had just gotten two new horses- three-year-old Percheron brothers- and wanted to know if we could help train them. Of course, I called her back and excitedly agreed to this endeavor. After I thought about it though, I got a little lump in my throat, and wondered if this was something I could actually do.

I have ridden maybe three times since Harriet’s death three years ago. And all of those times I rode my sister’s horse, Murphy. I still have trouble bringing myself to get back in the saddle. I feel like I’m betraying Harriet. Often times I tell myself if I’m going to ride it will be her, and since she is no longer with me physically, that’s poses quite the challenge.

I talked to Mom again yesterday. The first thing she said to me was, “Amy, I am covered in dirt, I’m so tired, but I had a blast. You have GOT to meet those two babies. We have an appointment with them on Friday.” Again, my mom had that jubilant tone I had heard just days before.

Harriet is a tough subject to talk about. For a lot of people, I’m sure she’s “just a horse.” But if you know my family, you know that there are times we love our animals more than each other. They ARE family (there have even been a few occasions when my sister and I have brought the horses into the house). The family that reached out to us for help with their babies probably has no idea how utterly thankful I am to them. I haven’t even met their horses yet- that’s coming in a few days- but I feel like they will bring a part of Harriet back for me. And that is one of the greatest gifts I could ever receive.

I’m nervous to meet them. I’m excited, I’m anxious, I have no idea how I will react to riding a Percheron other than my own; but somehow, I’m feeling like Harriet is going to be there with me. I’m slowly getting closer and closer to being alright with riding again, and this will be my toughest challenge to date.

That’s the thing about challenges, though. They aren’t supposed to be easy. They are supposed to make us do something we might not want to, in order to make us stronger. They come when we need them most, even if we don’t think so. And somehow, they make us better people.