When you live with a chronic illness, you seek comfort in any place you can find it. For me, comfort came in the form of a 1,000-pound Thoroughbred mare. Whisper, an ex-racehorse, entered my life while I was in college. I bought her just before my senior year while double majoring in music performance and English and promised her a forever home.
I could never have guessed what an integral part of my life Whisper would become. Unbeknownst to me at the time, I was suffering from fibromyalgia and had been for years. My fibromyalgia would go undiagnosed for three more years, but I knew that something was wrong. Chronic pain, fatigue, brain fog…I had all of the symptoms, but no one had been able to put them together.
As my symptoms worsened and intense back pain was added to my ailments, Whisper became more and more important. I suffered “flare” days when the pain in my hands was so great that I couldn’t saddle Whisper, so I took to hand walking her around the neighborhood and into the wooded trails that stretched for miles beyond the barn. On days when I could mount but suffered from back pain, I climbed into the saddle and let Whisper’s motion and body heat loosen my sore muscles. Often I felt better after a ride than I had all day… Continue reading here.
Source: Cerulli, Paige. “How the Comfort of a Horse Helps Me Deal With Fibromyalgia.” The Mighty. August 25, 2015.
Reprinted in part with permission of The Mighty.