Written by Alex's mother:
Dear Bridle Up Hope,
I cannot begin to express how much this program has helped my daughter, Alex. She has such a fun personality, tinged with lots of anxiety. After her dad left, her anxiety became almost unmanageable. She was finding it easy to make friends but impossible to keep them. She was struggling to deal with emotions and it came out as anger and was taken out on everyone around her. My oldest daughter had volunteered at Bridle Up Hope as a trainer. When she saw how bad Alex was struggling, she signed her up for the program.
Alex loves, loves, loves, loves, horses. So when she found out that she was going to be able to take lessons, she jumped at the chance. When she found out that it required her to read a book about the 7 Habits, I saw her hesitation. After all, who wants to read a book with no plot or exciting adventure written on the pages? I was sure that I would have to poke and prod her to get even slight cooperation, but to my utter astonishment she started reading the 7 Habits book on her own. She did better than I did at reading the book. I started seeing quotes from the book written on paper and taped to walls or mirrors. I began noticing a change in Alex. She was gaining confidence in herself, as a person, and not just in her ability to ride a horse. She began to think things out instead of following the knee-jerk reactions she had allowed to rule her relationships for years.
The mentors that help these girls through the program are the most amazing girls. When I first walked in the door at Bridle Up Hope, one of the teenage girls came up to me and started a conversation. I remember thinking how out of the ordinary that was, and I was kind of taken back. After we learned about the program, I connected the dots and realized that girl had accomplished something that even most adults struggle with: she had overcome her fear of putting herself out there in a public way, and I knew nothing could stop her. Can you imagine her in a job interview? Confident, capable, and fearless. I would hire her. I knew then that Bridle Up Hope was more than a horse riding lesson place. I have seen this change in my Alex also. She has come out of her shell a lot. She absolutely idolizes her riding instructor and mentor. There were many times I was tempted to ask Alex’s instructor, Brittany, to tell Alex to clean her room, because if Brittany said it, it would for sure get done.
One thing that I really liked about the program was the volunteer aspect. It gives the girls the reigns, so to speak, about earning their time. I know it made Alex build a stronger bond with the horses. You tend to take more care of something when you know they are dependent on you. The best thing I ever saw was the hay truck being unloaded by all these teenage girls and thinking that in life, they might be told they could not do much, but after that, they would know they could do anything. Alex came home so tired and sore, but with a glowing sense of accomplishment. I am so grateful that we had the opportunity to go through this program.
Bridle Up Hope is the perfect thing for girls that are struggling. You are giving them life skills, coping skills, confidence, and unconditional love. I do not know of any other program that could provide all that in just 14 weeks. The impact the horses and the 7 Habits have on them is a miracle. I am so excited to see where Alex can take this. Providing just one girl with the skills this program teaches might one day change the world.
Thank you, from a very grateful mother!
(Names changed to protect privacy)