The Power of a Horse Named Magic
I read an interesting story recently about a horse named Magic.
This woman named Jody McBrien bought Magic as a three-year-old at auction. The horses wasn’t in great shape when he got him but there was something in his eyes that sparked as soon as he clapped eyes on that horse and it seemed that there was nothing for it but to shell out his $1,000.
Magic was a scarred horse – both mentally and physically – but he and Jody got on fine. Then, Magic went blind. His eyes had to be removed to save him further pain and it was a difficult thing for Jody to have to face up to, but she wanted to save her horse, blind or not.
It goes to show the resilience of a horse, particularly if he has an owner who is patient enough to train him. Magic was taught voice commands and hand commands. He even began to use echo-location. Just like a bat, the horse could sense things and the only way that Jody could explain it was that Magic was using some sort of echo system to “see” where the obstacles were. She first noticed it when Magic maneuvered his way around an old washing machine that was out on the road.
McBrien settled in this part of Georgia in 2005. Working with USF Sarasota-Manatee, she works with refugees and has done some wonderful work with children who were caught up in conflict, being forced to fight and serve as prostitutes.
She passed her beloved Magic on to an organization called Sarasota-Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, or SMART for short. They’re all about riding therapy to help those that have undergone major trauma from war experience or disabled kids.
Today, Magic is 19 and shares a stable with a real old-timer who’s 32. The partner’s name is Mr. K and the two have become great friends. Mr. K acts as the eyes that Magic no longer has. For example, whenever there’s thunder, Mr. K goes up close to Magic, reassuring him with his presence and not allowing him to pace around the stall with nervous tension. It’s as if Mr. K knows that Magic can’t see and is always looking out for him accordingly.
Similarly, Magic has been helping Mr. K out, by giving him a renewed sense of purpose and helping him to maintain his position in the herd, so they both gain from one another in a sweet way.
McBrien then started a project writing a book for children all about the two horses. In it, the horses talk to one another about their problems and how they overcame them. In the case of Magic, it’s the scar on his hip and his blindness, while with Mr. K; it’s his lack of height.
There’s a local literacy program and it seems to be one of the kids’ favorite books, supplemented with visits to the protagonists of the book too.
But the story of Magic in particular is one that touches the hearts of many of the veterans: his spirit of continuing on despite the odds and of adapting to a new reality have really given hope to a lot of people who have taken deep psychological blows to their personae.
With autistic children, the effect is even more pronounced – truly magical, you might say. McBrien herself is always proud but never too surprised at just how great an impact Magic has had on the lives of so many people. She knew it the moment she set eyes on him and says that Magic always was “the perfect name for him.”
Today, however, Magic is undergoing treatment for another problem common to all horses – flies getting rid of them. The fly infestation at the stables was so bad last summer that something had to be done. They brought in an organic pest control program to sort out the blue green fly and the natural stuff turned out to be the best mosquito repellent. So it’s goodbye to those blue flies and mosquitoes for the two barn buddies.