For a short period of time we are making the pdf version of this book available for free. To download your own fully illustrated copy of this story send us a quick e-mail to email@example.com, follow this link to access the file on drop box, or request it in the comments section below, and we will share the file with you. The paper version of the book has now also been published and is available through our online shop or by sending us an e-mail.
The Empty Water Trough
“Why do you always get in such a pickle about everything, Pickle?” Teddy snorted at his own cleverness and trotted across the field, black mane flying behind him like a triumphant banner. Pickle eyed Teddy head off, feeling like the smaller pony even though he was taller than Teddy. Why did he get so upset about everything?
Pickle was trembling, his legs quivered uncontrollably, and he was a little out of breath—all because of the scary something he’d thought was hiding in the trees. Not long after venturing out into the pasture for some green grass that morning, he’d seen something moving, heard a rustling, and felt his heart racing. Before he knew it, his quick legs had him running for home.
He’d barrelled into Teddy just as Galileo, the farm’s friendly barn cat, emerged from the trees and sauntered off towards the barn. Pickle watched Teddy squeeze into the shelter next to another pony, Thor, and settle in for a snooze. No wonder Teddy made fun of him.
Pickle gave one big shake and wandered over to the water trough for a drink. Gulping the refreshing water, he remembered Thor’s words from a few days ago, when Pickle had run away because the farmer drove a tractor into the yard.
“Just don’t think about it, Pickle,” Thor had advised, between mouthfuls of the fresh hay the tractor had dropped over the fence. “If you decide to think about all the good things in life instead—like this yummy hay here—you won’t feel afraid anymore.”
Water dripped from Pickle’s muzzle. Could he do that? He’d tried not thinking about scary things before but somehow that seemed to make them get bigger, not smaller. Like the day last month when the farm dog had run in the field and snapped at the ponies’ heels.
“Ignore her,” Thor had advised, “she’ll stop soon enough.”
“Stop worrying and start doing something about it,” Teddy had commanded, aiming a kick in the dog’s direction before he found a spot in the fence with just enough space for him to crawl under, leaving the other ponies and dog behind. Pickle couldn’t ignore her, but he also didn’t know what to do. Even after the farmer had called the dog away, he’d run around the field until the sweat ran into his eyes.
Pickle shuddered as he found a spot behind the shelter close to Skye, the herd leader. He tried to nap, but images of tractors, dogs, and scary things in the trees kept him awake. Why couldn’t he relax like the other ponies?
The next day, after another restless night, Pickle opened his eyes to see white everywhere. The ground was white, the fence was white, even Skye’s mane seemed to have turned white.
“It’s just snow, Pickle,” Thor yawned, “nothing to worry about.”
Pickle has seen snow plenty of times before. Some days he loved to play in it. He stretched each leg in turn, shaking off a layer of frost. Ugh. He didn’t really like all this cold, but Thor was right. Snow was nothing to fret about. Pickle trotted over towards the water trough after Thor, tossing his mane the way he’d seen Teddy do. Boy, was he thirsty.
This time it was Teddy who ran into Pickle. “The trough is empty!” Teddy exclaimed, barely stopping. “No water in there, nothing, completely dry.” Teddy picked up speed again, “Follow me, I know what to do.”
Pickle blinked. No water? When he arrived at the trough a moment later there was a crowd of ponies staring at it.
“Teddy thinks we should all go eat snow,” Thor said, from the edge of the group, “but that’s silly.” He started to walk away, “I’m going to enjoy my breakfast; at least we have lots of hay to eat.”
Pickle watched Thor walk one direction and Teddy run the other, and felt his body start to tremble again. How could he be happy about having hay to eat if there was no water to drink with it? And wasn’t it bad for a pony to eat snow? He paced to the shelter, and back again to inspect the water trough. Still empty.
Pickle’s breath came in short bursts and his legs started to wobble. If only he could do something about this problem, like Teddy. Or focus on the good things, like Thor. Why was he standing out in the cold staring at an empty water trough? What was wrong with him?
To read the rest of this story – and to see all of the illustrations that go with it – just follow this link to dropbox, send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or request it in the comments section below, and we will share the file with you to download your free copy of the book.
Available for a limited period of time!
There is no cost to download this books from Healing Hooves but please share our page and resources with others, and tell us what you think of our stories in the comments below or on our page!
If you’d also like a physical copy of the book please let us know!
What a great sensitive way to address such silent struggles ..
Thank you Monica! I’m glad you liked it!
I have shared the rest of the story with you through dropbox so you should be getting an e-mail with instructions on how to access it. If you have any problems with it let me know and I will try again.
We have more stories on our blog if you’d like to check them out!
Would love the link for the book. Thanks.
I have shared the book with you!
Thank you for the offer. Would love to download the story.
You are very welcome Alexander – I have shared the file with you so you should be getting an e-mail from dropbox. Enjoy!
I would love to read it to please
Hi Hope! I have sent you the link (will come as an e-mail from drop box). Enjoy!
Thank you so much for the offer, I’d love a copy.
I have shared the story with you Natalie!
I would love a copy of this please. And will share this wonderful resource.
Thank you for sharing your stories Sue, they are so well written. I would love to read the rest of the story,
Thanks Susan! I have shared the story with you so you should be getting an e-mail from dropbox with the link. We have a few more available this way too, so let me know if you’d like them and I will share those too!
I would love a copy please.
I have shared the story with you!
All the questions in the mind that can raise anxiety when not challenged or “check the facts ‘ and then our mind/body reacts.
I would also love a copy please.
Thanks for sharing all of the knowledge and wisdom that we get to benefit from in your posts. I have read them all and can’t wait to get started tomorrow!
I wouls like a copy please send the link to email@example.com
I will send it your way Deb! It will come as a link from drop box and is a large file!
Great story! I would love a copy, please.
What a wonderful story! Would love to read the rest. Would I be able to download a copy? Thanks so much!
Hi Dana – I will send you a link for the rest of the story. I’m glad you like it!
I am intrigued would love to continue reading:) Could I get a copy?
I have shared it with you Shari!
thank you I downloaded it 🙂
This is a great story! Read it during our Foundations training, so cute.
What a great story! I can see its indirect applications to clients with persistent anxiety.
I’d really appreciate a copy of this story, Sue.
Hi Shreyasi, ‘The Empty Water Trough’ is included in a story collection which you have access to through the training course – in sections 10 and 17
When you are here in person we do have physical book versions of all of these you can take a look at and are welcome to buy. I find a ‘real’ version much more useful if you are using them with clients and/ or want to rad them to someone.
Great story Sue. Poor Pickle!! Will pick up the reading in the other sections! Thank you
Lovely story about validating those “big feelings” such as worry and the struggle to trust rather than trying to fix things outside of our control.
I love all of your stories!
I’m glad! Remember we have ‘real book’ versions of them all here onsite too!
I would to read the rest of the story please Sue. Thank you!
Hi Trinity – you can access the rest of the story here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/e7v4vzktc4w2xac/The%20Empty%20Water%20Trough.pdf?dl=0
I love your stories Sue, they are full of valuable lessons!
Another great story Sue! I always feel like part of the herd when reading your stories!
Great stories from the horses perspective.
I think this is a great story about fear and anxiety. Sometimes we might struggle with with more than others, or more than other people. I think it is important to remember that we might process differently than other people and vise versa. I also love that this might make us stop to think what our animals might be feeling or how they might interpret thing.
🙂 I look forward to checking this out for real! Real soon!
hopefully it will be a full and functioning water trough when you see it though!
THANK YOU Sue for these beautiful stories!
we do have paper copies of all the stories (we have ten in total) if you think you’d use them Michelle or many of them can be downloaded in pdf format for free
As said earlier what a wonderful way to discuss a very important issue that is not spoken about.
I would love to read the rest of the story please.
Hi Denay – you actually have access to this one as a part of the collection in the frustration section of the training course
I really like this story it is such a great story about perspective and how we react to situations.
This is a great story – there are so many reactions in the horses to relate to. The opportunity to see ourselves reflected in the horses’ emotions and to learn new ways to respond by looking at horses that we don’t immediately relate to.
I really enjoy the portrayal of different ways of reacting to the situation and the gentle humor that sometimes our reactions don’t always pan out thew ay we expected. Such a great relational modeling of coping with adverse situations and learning from the wisdom of others.
Pickle’s friends have a lot of advice, but the advice may be too direct for sweet Pickle.
So helpful to read all the different responses to Pickle from the other horses, whether that be helpful suggestions to distract from Thor or providing comfort by just being there like Skye. Lots of useful material to observe and discuss with clients here on different ways to respond to fear, and how to process our feelings.
Forever enjoying the indirectness of these stories.