A Horse With a Big Heart Brings Joy to One Little Girl

By Amanda Moore

When it seemed at times that there was no one to hear a little girl’s tearful call for help, a horse with a big heart, named Shiloh, answered the call with love and reassurance.

One of my favorite stories is of an 8-year-old little girl who was a foster kid from China that had reactive attachment disorder (RAD). RAD is where kiddos don’t form healthy emotional bonds with their caretakers (parental figures), and go within themselves and start taking care of things for themselves because of emotional neglect or abuse at an early age. They’ve learned that when they cried, nobody came to their aid—and so what happens is they are conditioned to believe that it’s every person for themselves.

These kids can be difficult; exhibiting signs of withdrawal, fear, sadness, irritability, and they have trouble managing their emotions. This little girl was at the Ranch doing a session with her family and we finally got to a place where she wasn’t afraid to stand in the paddock while we were working with a horse named Shiloh.

She doesn’t engage in social interaction or allow her family to connect with her—and she doesn’t connect with them. While she’s a member of the family, she’s really like an invisible member of the family. The whole purpose of this interactive activity was “How can we get you more connected?”

Shiloh happened to be standing right next to this little girl. Just as the girl was standing there, she started sobbing and said, “I’m not worthy of anybody loving me, I don’t know if I love myself.”

And—at that very moment, before the girl even finished her statement, Shiloh reached over and wrapped her head around the little girl’s body, pulled her into her neck and just held her there—and this little girl just started sobbing. We said to her what was obvious to us, “My goodness, Shiloh believes that you’re loved—and she loves you, so why on earth do you think you are not loved?”