February 9


Hero’s Journey: Love Lessons from a Girl and a Pony

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After observing this afternoon’s competition between two little girls about who was the best and who had the best outfit and pony and watched them throw the reins at whomever was closest and continue this discussion in the middle of the arena, my heart was sad.

They were only focused on themselves and left the ponies who had given their all to them as asides and leaving them to others to look after.

Life Lessons

I remembered a little girl who was 5 when she first came to the barn. She was blind, deaf and mute and had lived in an institution since she was born and her parents gave her up. Her social worker had just taken her as a foster child and brought her to the Therapeutic riding program at the barn. She was not used to being touched and didn’t like it at all. It was hard to communicate with her so I watched her movements and sent energy with my thoughts.

We got her near the little brown pony so she could pet him but she just beat him and us with her fists. He stood still. As weeks passed we got her on him with her beating his neck and he just walked calmly on. Then she began to stroke his neck and his shoulders and then hug him and rub her face on him. And then we added some trot to the routine which she accepted much faster. She relaxed in the movement and a big smile came across her face.

Love Language

We had been drawing on her hands what we were going to do and developed our own language with her. The pony moved and protected her as if she was a foal. Everything that she accomplished happened on the pony first and then transferred to her foster mom and us.

When I left that barn she was trotting on a long line on a circle and going over two small X jumps. She would feel the muscles tighten as the pony started to jump and she would get up in the jumping position, go over and sit down at the landing. All with a huge smile on her face. She would not let any of us groom or tack or walk the pony at the beginning or the end. That was her favorite time. To cuddle and thank her friend.


I watched her jumping on my last day and my heart was full with gratitude for the wonders of the blossoming of this little girl and for the angel of a pony that had encouraged it.

Every day another step. Another gift of learning for all of us. It truly was a Hero’s journey that I was blessed to have been part of.

Join the Master Key Experience when the next class starts in the coming months to start or continue on your own Hero’s journey!

Read more articles by Janet Keith

About the author

Janet Keith is a mentor, writer, and student of horses and life. She is on the path of the Master Key Experience and following her bliss! Janet is training to be a Guide so that others can do the same.

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