When I was ten years old, my family moved from New York to Mississippi. It was 1965 and racial prejudice was at an all-time high. This prejudice came in all forms, and I soon discovered that I was one of the main targets. The children were cruel with their hatred and ridicule, and being extremely sensitive, all I could do was cry. The tears wouldn’t stop and the depression was so long and severe that I developed stomach ulcers. I was taken to a psychologist, but the negative beliefs that I learned through my pain were only able to be healed through the opposite of hate, which was love. My parents tried their best, but the lies I believed about myself needed to be replaced with truth…and God had to do that. So He sent a horse.
Princess was a very young filly who had been abused. She had been very sick, and her owners dragged her behind their pickup truck to force her into a certain gait, or trot, that they knew she could do. Every time she “broke gait,” and went into a canter, she was beaten. She was so skinny that an adult could touch his feet together underneath her belly while seated on her back. She was very nervous, jumpy and fearful of people. She was difficult to handle and unpredictable, so it was decided to send her to a trainer. Unfortunately, the way of training horses back then was to discipline them into submission, so when she came home, she truly was “broken.” The wounds on her mouth and flanks told me that she was in pain, and I related to her broken heart. We bonded. The journey God put the two of us on was a long one, full of one adventure after another. She constantly got into trouble. She tore open her chest on barbed wire, foundered and coliced, broke out of her pasture repeatedly–traveling over a bridge and highway, almost died from throat paralysis and a calcium deficiency, drank a container of lye and severely burned her mouth and throat…to name a few of her antics. I had opportunity after opportunity to sit with her and show her love. And when a hurting heart gives to another, the healing process begins. She became my confidant, listening to me and my troubles over and over. As the years passed, the love she gave me is beyond words. I cry as I write this, because she became the friend I ached for, and temporarily filled a void in my heart that I later learned God wanted to fill. Through Princess, God taught me the truths that replaced the lies in my belief system: I learned that I had something to give. I learned that I was lovable. I learned that hard times were to make you stronger, and I learned that I was not alone. He demonstrated His unconditional love to me through this little horse, and I will never forget her.