When we stop and think, we have a lot to thank our horses for; whether it's dealing with failure, pushing our boundaries or teaching us what fun really means. Kathleen Kear, equine manager at Many Tears Animal Rescue in Carmarthenshire, has put pen to paper to share those thoughts about the horses she has ridden — starting in a riding school to horses she's owned and also taught with

Dear Taran,
Thank you for teaching a seven year old how to dream. Thank you for creeping into her mind, just before she fell asleep and carrying her down bridlepaths and across beaches, through fields of carrots and over the clouds, until the morning arrived. Thank you for letting her clumsily sit on your back, once a week in her class and showing her that dreams can come true. Your lessons led her to keep following her dreams and always believing in them.

Dear Prince,
Thank you for teaching an eight-year-old that it’s OK to fail. Thank you for showing her that it’s OK to be scared, for teaching her that sometimes you fall, that it can really hurt, that it’s OK to cry but that as soon as you can, you should get back up and try again. Your lessons led her through great adventures in her life, failing lots of times but always standing back up as soon as she could.

Dear Spring,
Thank you for teaching her what it’s like to push past fear and fly. Thank you for showing her that even though she feels scared, if she digs deep, she can reach past that fear. Thank you for carefully jumping over those fences. I know that you thought they were small but you taught the 10-year-old sitting on your back that she could achieve anything if she really believed in herself. Your lessons helped her to keep finding belief, even when it seemed impossible.

Dear Woody,
Thank you for listening, for trotting when she asked, hearing her when she praised you and blowing warm air against her cheek when she kissed you. Thank you for working with her and showing her what teamwork felt like. She spent her life believing in great leadership, mentorship and wanting to support those around her.

Dear Chrissy,
Thank you for teaching her what commitment is. Thank you for showing her what it is to work hard before the sun has risen, that she can still be beautiful with calluses on her hands and that heavy rain might make the day harder but that she should still step outside and dance. Thank you for teaching her about planning her time, taking responsibility, how to make goals and what it is to stay loyal, even when those around her doubted its worth. Thank you for listening to her when she got picked on and for staying by her side. Your lessons helped her to become one of the most loyal people you’d ever meet.

Dear Hail,
Thank you for teaching her what fun really is. Thank you for showing her that sometimes all it takes is laughter and the world becomes a different place. Her life took her down some difficult roads but she craved joy and made sure that she found it.

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Dear Spike,
Thank you for refusing the jumps at her first big event and getting eliminated. Although she cried she learnt that ego has little use. Thank you for winning the puissance and teaching her what success could feel like. Thank you for galloping across country, leaping over picnic benches, through hedges and down drops that stood taller than she did, for letting her experience adrenaline firing around her body, while tears were blown from her eyes. Thank you for showing her what it meant to have success without ego, to have rosettes but also humility. Your lessons stayed with her, throughout every part of her life.

Dear Grace,
Thank you for keeping her first student safe. While she proudly stood in the centre of the school, teaching your rider, she learnt about how to empathise, how to build confidence in others and that teaching was her passion. Your lessons led her through a life with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and never ending desire to teach.

Dear horse…. Thank you.