I met IHP almost three years ago and I spent the most beautiful summers of my life there, but also many rainy and cold days, which were just as beautiful. After such a long time I find myself writing about what this Association means to me because I hope to be able with my words to bring someone to join it. At IHP you learn many things and not only about the world of horses. I have learned that these animals are very different from what is believed, but above all I have learned that animals have different characters and different personalities which I had never thought about before. I have seen things that might seem incredible if not experienced. I saw a bardotto who was thought to be the greatest of all and behaved as such. I saw horses running free at sunset with their manes in the wind and I felt myself a little more free with them. I saw two horses in love, I saw the wisdom and sweetness in the movements of an elderly mare, I saw the confidence in the steps of a blind mare towards her partner, I saw the love in the eyes of an orphan filly and that same love in the eyes of a horse to whom I was particularly fond of. I saw the respect and the sense of protection that a horse can have towards its partner or life partner.
But I also saw the pain and agony of losing a partner. I cried on the neck of a horse, trying to console both him and myself. I have heard unanswered desperate neighs that will remain etched in my mind for a lifetime.
I learned to love with a love that I had never felt, a true love without expectations, but which instead gave me more than I ever thought. I learned to work hard, to wake up at 6 a.m. and get out of bed, whether it was sunny, raining, too hot or too cold. I lifted amounts of food that I did not think could go into a stomach and shovelled amounts of droppings out of the stalls that I believed they could not get out. I learned how to put eye drops into a horse, give it a shot or medicate it I learned the names of more than 60 animals, which I initially thought to be impossible and of each I learned to know their character, their history and their individual needs. But I also learned to work with people, to live 10 in a house and to collaborate to keep it going. I also learned the beauty of struggling together with other individuals from all over the world who shared my passion who certainly without this experience I would not have known and have now become so important to me. I have learned many other things and the list may never end.
IHP is not an experience for everyone, in my opinion you need to be motivated to do it otherwise it becomes hard. If you are a person who loves this world, who is willing to work very hard every day and all day during this experience, willing to live with other people and get to know them, willing to learn so much from others both animals or humans, this Association is for you. Keep in mind that all the effort the sweat and tiredness will be amply repaid as you will learn what true love is and how wonderful it is. Perhaps, as I did, you will also learn what pain is, the real one, maybe in its own way just as beautiful. Also remember that there is a risk that you could fall in love with that place so much that you would never want to go back to your previous life which will seem immensely boring and banal, but it is a risk worth taking.