My horse Whisper and I leaned on each other for support in hard times.
A rider and her horse, Whisper, help each other to heal and grow.
Imet Whisper when I was in college. A young thoroughbred, she was a bit spooky and a lot green. A year later, I was in a major car accident, suffering a traumatic brain injury that would change my life. I battled dizziness, memory loss, sensitivity to light and sound, and migraines— and that’s just the short list.
Doctors told me another head injury would be catastrophic, and a fall from a horse was a risk I should not take. An ex-racehorse wasn’t the ideal match for me, but when I rode Whisper a few months later, she was quieter and dependable. Instead of spooking at invisible monsters or trying to break into a trot or canter, she walked quietly as I relearned how to balance. It wasn’t the last time Whisper walked me through tough times. I purchased her a year to the day after my accident, and she became my first horse. After graduating with a double major in English and flute performance, I learned I had a medical condition and injuries that would end my music career. This was devastating; I’d sacrificed so much for my future, and it was taken from me before it began.
I turned to Whisper. Riding her took much concentration, so it was the only activity that kept me from agonizing over what I’d lost. And Whisper was there when I needed to sit in the pasture and think.
We had countless adventures together. We went for rides in the snow and learned equine agility. We even took part in an episode of Horse Master with Julie Goodnight. Julie taught me more about riding than I’d learned in years of lessons. Whisper was injury-prone, so I also learned about equine rehabilitation and first aid.
Last fall, I bought a house with a small barn and brought Whisper home with me. She had to be fully retired at 16 because of medical issues, but she’s now teaching Lyric, a younger ex-racehorse, about manners and behavior.
I know I won’t have Whisper forever, so I appreciate every day. On paper, she may not have been the right horse for me, but life sometimes gives us exactly what we need. Thank goodness I have a soft spot for thoroughbreds.
Whisper will always be a winner in Paige’s heart.