Editor's Postcard

The Gift of Horses

The Gift of Horses
Catherine Madera

On Being a Lifelong Student

by Catherine Madera


There was a time when I thought becoming a horseman was like getting a degree. After assimilating enough information, I’d arrive at a point of proficiency. Whatever that means. Instead, over the years I’ve discovered, with each new horse, how much I still need to know. Like life itself, horsemanship is a journey and you never “arrive.” If we are open to it, working with horses has a way of spotlighting weaknesses and inviting personal growth. This is their amazing gift to us.

“My daughter and Chance.” Photo credit Catherine Madera

So far, I have probably learned the most about training from a difficult and neglected pinto that came to live with me several years ago. He represented many “firsts” in my life with horses: First stallion ( gelded), first older start under saddle (at age 7), first aggressive horse. Sadly, he was also my first horse with neurological problems and after four years we put him down. I still think of Chance and am thankful for the lessons he taught me (see nwhorsesource.com, December 2008 for his story).

Very recently I adopted a 3-year-old BLM mustang I am calling Mateo. It is Spanish for Matthew (“gift from God”). I believe all horses are a gift from God and I know I will be on a learning curve with Mateo, once again.

“Mateo.” Photo credit Catherine Madera

This month we focus on learning opportunities. It’s an extra special issue for me. First, our cover story highlights the wonderful combination of Oregon youth and yearling mustangs. Also, my gifted friend Leigh Shambo shares about the growing field of equine facilitated therapies. Lastly, senior horse essay contest is coming up. We’d love to know how horses have helped you to grow. Email me at editor@nwhorsesource.com.

Ride on!


Published August 2013 Issue

Click to add a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Editor's Postcard
Catherine Madera

Catherine Madera attended Walla Walla University in Eastern Washington where she majored in communications/journalism. After winning a national competition for Guideposts Magazine in 2004, Catherine concentrated on non-fiction inspirational stories. Since then, she has published numerous personal and ghosted stories for Guideposts and their affiliate publications. Catherine has published in many regional and national magazines/newspapers and her work is included in several anthologies. She specializes in equine-related topics and profiles and serves as editor of The Northwest Horse Source. In 2010 Catherine’s non-fiction story, A Hero’s Work, received the Merial Human-Animal Bond award given by American Horse Publications. She has also authored three works of fiction and provides editing/writing assistance through Word Horse Writing Services.

More in Editor's Postcard