The Barn Is My Doctor

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Friendly Horse
The doctor will see you now.

I recently woke up before work and felt like, well, dirt.

I mustered up the determination needed to muddle my way to the office. I had a sneaky suspicion it was going to be a rough, fairly unproductive day.

Around mid-morning, I called and made a doctor’s appointment for that afternoon. Sadly, the only time they could fit me in was 5:15 p.m., and I had a lesson at 6:00 p.m.

I accepted the appointment but held onto a glimmer of hope that I would suddenly feel fabulous and be able to make my riding lesson (while simultaneously avoiding a doctor’s appointment). As the day progressed, I felt slightly better, and honestly really, really didn’t want to miss my riding lesson. Naturally, I cancelled my doctor’s appointment and decided to go ride my horse.

I’m going to guess that my fellow horse enthusiasts won’t be the least bit surprised to hear how I felt once I drove through those barn gates. Wouldn’t you know it – I felt like a million bucks.

That $50 riding lesson was almost the same price as a copay. A riding lesson beats a copay at the doctor any day, and it definitely beats sitting in a waiting room.

That day confirmed something I’ve known for years. The barn is my doctor. Horses make me feel better. There’s just no substitute for time at the barn.

Maybe it’s the distraction factor, or maybe it’s self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps it’s even supported by scientific studies.

Hand Grazing Horses
Stressed out from work and other life obligations? Feeling unappreciated? Prescription: a quiet ride followed by 20 minutes of hand-grazing your horse on the lawn. Instant cure.

Just this week I had a terrible, terrible headache. I couldn’t shake it. I tried to take a nap, drink more water, drink coffee, eat vegetables, eat a sugary snack, take Advil … nothing worked. I was grateful it was only a headache and not a migraine, so I drove my headache-ridden self out to the barn.

And the barn doctor worked its magic again. By the time I left the barn, I realized my headache had finally abated. Healthy again!

The barn is such an incredible place for a horse enthusiast. It’s a place to hang out with fellow horsey friends, a place to learn as an athlete, a place to learn as the caretaker of an animal, and a place to feel your best.

I feel at home when I’m at the barn. I’m not saying I don’t love a quiet night curled up on the couch with my dog and a good TV show, but I just love my time at the barn. It’s not listed on Google as a healthcare center, but that doesn’t matter. Whatever magical powers it has, I’m lucky to benefit from it.

ALLISON GRIEST is a freelance writer based in Texas.

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