It’s been one year since I came to Bridle Up Hope for lessons. I started going for service hours, and I had esteemed it my home-away-from-home instantly. Back at my place, school had been bringing me so much anxiety and depression. Homework swamped me, my teachers disregarded me, I had friend problems, and I felt hopeless, dejected, and discouraged. In seventh grade, I told my parents I wanted to ride horses, but they didn’t have the financial means to pay for lessons, so they put my dream on hold for who knows how long. I didn’t know if it was worth living any longer if all life was for me was trudging through the drudgeries at a high school I abhorred.
Then, a miracle happened. My neighbor got a free scholarship to a barn called Bridle Up Hope, and they wanted me to have it. I took it without a second thought! The first day I went to service hours, I was entranced by the barn, horses, girls, environment, program, and culture. I was blown away at how nice the girls were to me. I kept coming and coming, sometimes attending service hours and yoga four times a week, even though I had to drive for forty minutes to get to the barn. Within two weeks, I got my fourteen service hours, and I continued racking them up in the following months.
My instructor, Jenna, has become my best friend. I’ve learned so much from her as I progressed in the program. I have also grown to love every single horse here, from little Arwen to big Captain Jack, from easy-going Diego to resolute Valentino, from mellow Teddy to sassy Maui. With fourteen program lessons and sixteen earned lessons and counting, I will never stop coming to Bridle Up Hope. I am now saving up my money to buy a horse and studying how to train them.
The impact it’s had on my life is insurmountable. I would not be here if not for this incredible, life-changing experience. Bridle Up Hope gives me the motivation and incentive to endure and tolerate one day at a time; pretty soon, weeks, months, and years will pass, and I would not have it any other way. Because at the end of an exhausting day, I know I can find peace, happiness, and fulfillment at the barn.
I wrote this in my journal on February 23, 2020:
“You know what, since maybe [three years ago], I’ve actually been…happy. I think there’s a lot of factors: I’m exercising and doing something I generally like (yoga)...I’m around my favorite animals, horses, every week, I think I’m finding a new friend group, I’m discovering new hobbies…and I’ve been discovering who I am…”
Names have been changed to protect privacy