In my 20s I was diagnosed with a rare brain condition which is claiming my sight, permanently and painfully. I didn’t want to live.
“Never again,” I promise Mum as I begin to think about what would keep me from trying to end my life. Horses were at the very top.
I didn’t know whether I could balance enough to sit on a horse let alone ride, but the only way is to try.
I find a local riding centre and despite my growing agoraphobia and anxiety, I know I have to do something to change my life before I attempt to end it once more.
I manage to ride around the school confidently and with a smile on my face. It is a whole new world of happiness for me. A word I didn’t commonly use before!
In the shadows lurks a large grey horse with matted mane and tail, wild frightened eyes, she watches my every move and spins round to follow me. I am warned not to go near her as she is dangerous and known as “the scary horse”.
I grow in confidence as my lessons progress and soon ask if I can be put on a more challenging horse.
I arrive at my lesson to find this large grey mare — aka “the scary horse” — tacked up and ready. Who is to ride her? Me, of course! As I gently climb aboard I feel our bodies meet and our questions answered: “Yes, you are my friend”.
She doesn’t take her ears off me the whole ride and none of the stories I’d heard about bolting and spinning happened. She is the perfect mount and I ask to ALWAYS be put on her.
Her name? It’s Coco.
The weeks go by and the bond between us becomes so strong that I finally pluck up the courage to ask the yard owner if I can buy her.
Amazingly, they say yes and I am able to welcome my new best friend into our family forever.
Bringing her home is the happiest day of my life. I immediately insure her and get my vet to check her over.
My heart stops as they shine a torch in Coco’s eyes and find that she, like me, is blind in one eye. TWINS! We were meant to be!
Some would lose confidence with a blind horse, but knowing this about her makes me feel even more proud to be her Mum. Nothing can stop us!
Breaking the stigma
Coco helps me overcome my feelings about my own disabilities and I go from the person who had been bed and housebound for nearly a decade, to wanting to spend every second with her.
Never looking back.
Coco has had such a profound impact on my own mental health that I want to share this with her 12,000+ Facebook followers and use our page to help break the stigma of mental health.
I hope our story helps even just one person, whoever and wherever you are.