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The Happiness of the Three-Legged Horse

Updated: Nov 29, 2018

Sometimes in life we don't need to change anything, just the way we look at things.



The happiness of the three-legged horse.


Once upon a time there was a horse who lived a life of freedom: He spent his days wandering through fields and forests, eating when he wanted and doing what he wanted. His mane and tail were filled with knots and brambles, his hooves were long and always muddy and he only had three legs, but he didn’t mind, he loved each one of his legs because they were his legs and they brought him wherever he needed to go.

He often though to himself how lucky he was, he believed his life was truly the best it could be and he was thankful for everything he had.


One day this horse was wandering through a land he had never been before. He came across a large, fenced field. In the field he saw another horse, a brown horse. This horse was cantering around and every so often it would buck and rear, this horse had four legs and for the first time the three-legged horse thought to himself how lucky this other horse was to have four legs. For the first time he wished he too had four legs so he could move like this horse.


He made his way towards the brown horse, but he moved slowly, trying to control his movement as much as he could, so the other horse wouldn’t notice how awkward the three legged horses’ movements were.

As he reached the fence the brown horse trotted over to greet him.

'You move with such grace he said to the brown horse, I really wish I could move like you but because I only have three legs I’ll never be able to move that way. You must be the luckiest horse in the whole world - I wish I was like you.' He said.


The brown horse nodded and said she once was the happiest horse she knew, once she was used to plow the fields, was taken care of by the family and on occasion the children would plait her hair and mane but she had grown older and when the children go a new horse, they stopped coming to see her. Their new horse was used for jumping and moved much better than she did and the children spent their days with this horse in the arena and their weekends at shows. Their new horse jumped so well and wore the most attractive saddle and bridle and was loved by everyone of the family. The brown horse didn’t feel so happy anymore because it was left in a field alone.


The three-legged horse decided he’d go to see the horse with the beautiful saddle and bridle and so he made his way across the road, up a lane and in a small arena he met the other horse. The three-legged horse was so impressed with this horse that he was worried to go over and talk to him, after all the three-legged horse had mud covering his legs, brambles in his mane and tail and had began to realise he didn’t smell quite as nice as the other horses.


Finally he decided to go over and spoke to the horse who chewing on his bit.

'You must be so happy he asked the horse, you are well cared for, you have muscles all over, your mane and tail are cut and brushed and you look so beautiful, I’ve never seen a horse as well cared for as you, you really have everything.'

'I was happy once', said the horse.

'I was the happiest horse I ever thought existed, until one day I was at a show and there I saw the most beautiful horse I’ve ever seen, she was white like snow, her mane and tail were like silk and she wore the most luxurious black leather I have ever seen, it made my saddle and bridle look dull and lifeless. She was a dressage horse and she won so many rosettes. When she passed everyone watched her move and the crowd followed to watch her compete and cheered and clapped for her. She must be the happiest horse in the world. Yes, I was happy until I saw her but I’m not as happy anymore, you should go and see her!'


For the first time the three-legged horse felt nervous, he wasn’t sure about going to see the white horse because he wasn’t sure she’d want to see him with only three legs and a dirty unkept coat and hooves that had never been cared for. He eventually built up the courage to go and see the dressage horse and found her inside a stable sleeping. She woke to the unusual sound of his three uneven hooves on the concrete, he apologised and began to leave but she asked him to stay. She told him she rarely had anyone come visit and the only time anyone came to see her was to bring her to work or to a show. She enjoyed what she did but she wanted so much more than being locked in a stable, as clean and warm as it was, she wanted so much more than having crowds of people cheer at her, she wanted so much more than winning awards.


She asked the three-legged horse about his life and what he loved to do. He told her of his days of wandering the fields and nights of sleeping in forests, of the friends he’d made and that he could eat whenever he wanted.

The beautiful dressage horse sighed and said

'I wish I could eat when I wanted, I wish I could travel where I wanted, I wish like you my hair was filled with nots and brambles, so three-legged horse, you must be the luckiest horse in the world.'


The three-legged horse though about this, he thought about how it would feel to have all the things this dressage horse had: to be looked after; to be cared for and fed but he realised what he had was so much more precious, he was free and he remembered how much he loved his three legs and how they always supported him, he remembered his friends in the forest and how he didn’t mind the nots and brambles in his hair. He said goodbye to the dressage horse and went back to the life he loved, happy he was the luckiest horse in the world.


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