Proud2Bme | Raise Your Wings: What Horses Taught Me About Recovery

Raise Your Wings: What Horses Taught Me About Recovery

By Treena Hall--Imagine a world full of darkness. Imagine a world full of pain. Imagine a struggle so powerful that it takes over one's life. This world is a life bound by the chains of an eating disorder.

Anorexia is a life-threatening disease, and one that I struggled with for many years. It was a hell on earth kind of existence. Well, actually, it wasn't even an existence at all! I functioned daily in a zombie-like state, only caring about how much I ate, how much I weighed, and how I could get out of eating my next meal. Every thought and movement I made in my life was encompassed by anorexia. It had become my world, and one that almost took my life. I had fallen so far down that my family, my doctors and everyone else around me started believing that I would lose the fight.

What saved my life was my love and lifelong passion for horses. I've always felt an extraordinary and safe connection to them. They never expected anything from me, my love and kindness was always enough. I felt that they understood me when no one else did. I would look into their eyes and feel that I was alright... simply loved for who I was. They never judged that I was starving myself to death, that my life was slowly slipping away from me.

Feeling their strength, love and warmth became the foundation for 
my recovery.

The unconditional acceptance of equines provides what most people with eating disorders long for. If you are kind, loving and respectful to the horse, they give the same in return. Horses don't judge you based on physical attributes like size and weight, socioeconomic status or any other esoteric trait. This unconditional acceptance is a very powerful piece in the recovery process that was life-giving for me.

Horses are master teachers of unconditional love and acceptance. They're very sensitive, intuitive animals, and thus they mirror the motions we display with our body language. This can be a very helpful tool for people with eating disorders, making them aware of the energy they're putting out and how they're thus perceived by others.

My journey into recovery was a slow one. I'd spent years identifying myself as anorexic but now needed to re-identify as an intelligent, capable, kind and loving woman. It took time to discover "who" I really was, rather than who I thought I was. My negative self-image was false, self-imposed. I discovered that it was actually not what others saw in me at all!

Because of the monumental affect horses have had on my recovery, I believe that there is a purpose for me, that I do deserve love, happiness and a new life. I just know that if I hadn't had that horse connection, I probably would not be here today.

I now want to share the same opportunity that I was given - the chance to bond with a horse. That is why I've created Raise Your Wings, Inc. to create that experience for others in need.
Raise Your Wings is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization. There's no charge for our services; the only requirement is that participants must be under the care of a licensed professional (therapist, physician, etc.). We're located at Lakewood Equestrian Center in Los Angeles County's Lakewood.
We welcome volunteers who believe in our mission and we can be reached at or through our website.


This article was originally published in California Riding Magazine and is republished with permission.

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Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

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