For interior designer Emily Adams - who spent her childhood in rural Portsmouth, Ohio, riding horses on the
family farm - inviting Elijah, a 7-year-old Arabian, into her life was a natural step. "My career made it very hard to
keep horses," she says, "but after a while, it became painfully clear that I missed having riding in my life."

So she started looking for the perfect horse. When she saw Ilijah, she knew he was it. "I'm a fool for him," she
says. "I love him so much it's hard to even explain it." Not only does he enjoy the peppermint candies and
carrots she brings to the stable - Adam insists that he isn't an avid apple eater - he whinnies whenever he hears
her voice. Now, Adams and Elijah, a National Champion Western Pleasure Horse, spend quiet evenings together
clip-clopping up and down the levee.

And for Adams, the hours they share are more than just a good time - it's an exhilarating and life-changing
experience. "Seeing the world from the top of a horse puts you in touch with nature in a unique way," she
says. "As humans, we have limitations, but while riding, they all seem to disappear." She also notes that it is a
serous venture. "It's a risk getting on a horse, so you have to develop courage and an awareness of your
environment," she. "They are so powerful that being close to them and having a relationship with them is very

But even though keeping a horse is a labor-intensive commitment, it isn't all work. Adams says it is also play time,
freedom and , above all, a spiritual experience. "It strengthens your mind, body and soul," she says. "It's quite
an amazing thing."

Denise Trowbridge
New Orleans, Louisiana 985-515-7677