The Horse Physio - Delivering care with expertise since 1992

14.2.2022 How a horse helped a human through her grief

‘He is my world’: how a special horse helped his rider deal with grief

This is the title of an article that appeared in Horse and Hound online in January 2022. Kerry Humphries talks about her relationship with her horse, One Pekan, who has helped her to handle the loss of her mother last year.

Kerry says “I’ve spent a lot of time just sitting in the stable with him, cuddling him. I just sit in his hay while he munches and he nuzzles me…He acts like a tough horse, but he knows when I’m down. They know. They can sense it on you. He is the reason I do everything. He is more than just a horse to me, he is my best friend. He is my world… We’ll go out on a hack and I’ll chat away to him about my day. If I’m having a bad day, I can let it all out and he doesn’t judge me… I think everyone who knows Pekan and I do understand what we have done for each other. I’ve given him a home out of racing, and he has helped me in tough times.”

As horse owners and riders, we know just how important our horses are to helping us through the tough times. It can be difficult to gather the scientific evidence for this, but sometimes it’s not enough just to ‘know’. If we are going to retain equestrianism’s social license to operate (keep the non-equestrian public on our side in terms of owning and riding horses), then we need to show proof that spending time with horses is good for the horse as well as for us. As part of my research towards writing my next book, on recognising pain in the ridden horse, I’m looking at the studies that are beginning to be done on how we can recognise happiness in horses, and why the mutual relationship between horse and rider is a good thing for both. Sign up to my newsletter at to be kept up to date on the book, and if you have a story of how your horse has helped you through and would be willing to share it, drop me an email.

You can read the Horse and Hound article and see some video of Kerry talking about her relationship with Pekan here.

© Sue Palmer, The Horse Physio 2021

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