Horses, Healing, and Self-Discovery

Horses, Healing, and Self-Discovery

I’ve always struggled with uncertainty, but I thought that the best way to deal with unfulfilled dreams and hopes was to just work harder, be better, and all those blessings would be earned. So, I did just that. I poured a considerable amount of time, energy, and money into trying to achieve my dreams of being a scientist as well as a wife and a mother. I achieved the first dream, but the latter has continued to elude me. And that unfulfilled expectation has weighed painfully and heavily on my soul for years.

I have spent a lot of time thinking about why I’m not good enough, what must be wrong with me, and how I can fix myself to conform better to what people must be looking for in a partner. But after years of fighting this battle, I determined that the problem was simply me. Thoughts like, “I’m not enough.” “I’m not worthy of the love I seek.” “These things aren’t meant for people like me.” had a constant home in my mind and heart.

A couple of years of therapy under my belt has helped me considerably to recognize and deconstruct these maladaptive thoughts. Therapy is still an invaluable tool I utilize weekly for maintaining my mental health, but I was still struggling to love and trust myself and have hope for the future. After praying for God to give me hope for months I stumbled upon Bridle Up Hope online.

I came into the program tired, defeated, and honestly more days than not disappointed to wake up at all. I also came in anxious. I’ve always wanted to ride a horse, but I’ve also been terrified of them. So, signing up for this program was a huge leap of faith, but by the second week in the program I knew something was changing inside me. As I worked through the 7-Habits and learned to operate within my circle of influence while letting the rest go, it was like I was meeting parts of myself for the very first time.

The horses taught me so much and I will carry with me the lessons I’ve learned from these sweet boys for the rest of my life. Kokomo showed me the magic of authenticity and the strength that comes with self-confidence. Stockton reminded me that life is better when I embrace its ups and downs, rather than resisting its natural flow. And Mufasa taught me the joy of pushing beyond my comfort zone and embracing new experiences.   

Each horse I’ve met has mirrored aspects of my own journey, teaching me to relax, be confident in the face of challenges, and seek balance, not only in the saddle but also in life. Riding for me has become a metaphor for living, reminding me to enjoy the good times, face the challenges with courage, and never be afraid to ask for help. Uncertainties are painful, but they can also be embraced as an opportunity for a great adventure.

For me, the barn has been a grand adventure and has become a place of hope, peace, and joy in my life. It’s where I discovered that I really am enough, I am deserving of good things, and my circumstances do not dictate my worth. I wake up every day with a sense of happiness and contentment that just simply wasn’t there before. Often, I’ve prayed that God would change my circumstances, and sometimes he does, but this time God sent me 19 horses, 7 new habits to work on developing, and a new community of amazing people to help me push through and prepare for the challenges of the future. I’m so grateful for this program and the people who work tirelessly to keep it running! It has literally changed my life.

—Women's Participant

Share this post