Bridle Up Hope has entirely changed my life. When I first heard about the program, I was having a really hard time with my life. I had developed unhealthy coping skills that made people in my family worried about me. At the time, eight people had died in my family, including my mom, and I was having a really hard time with all of it. I was extremely depressed. I blamed myself for everything and thought that I could have done something for all those people. I felt alone and felt like there was no more hope for me in my life. Everything felt like it was falling apart.
But then I started Bridle Up Hope. I began lessons and volunteering, and my life started to change. I learned new things about myself and strengthened the traits I already had. Both of my instructors were extremely understanding and patient with me. If I had a hard decision I had to make in my life, I would go to my instructor and ask for some advice—but I still made the decision myself. My instructor would help me just see both sides of the decision. I helped me a lot.
Now that I’m done with the program, I feel like I am in more control of my life, and I have some healthy coping skills. I keep volunteering, and I am always in a better mood anytime I go. The program has improved my attitude towards myself and others. I made a lot of friends and feel like I have purpose. Yes, my depression doesn’t just go away. But when I do get depressed, I don’t go back to my old coping skills.
The horses themselves have taught me a lot, too. They have taught me how to work together with others and that I’m the only one who can control me and my actions. Whenever I would ride, my instructor would ask me, “What does the horse represent in your life right now?” Sometimes it would be my parents, sometimes life in general. But the most important thing I’ve learned from the horse is that I’m supposed to take charge and be leader and be confident in myself. If you’re not confident in yourself, then it’s hard for you to take the reins on your life.
My favorite habit I learned is Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (Habit 5). This habit has helped me gain more perspective. If you don’t understand something or are in an argument with someone, you just need to listen and understand them first. Then, you can help them understand your point of view. When my friends wanted to talk about something that was bothering them, I used to just guess how they felt and would oftentimes make the situation worse. But now, I just listen to them. I won’t talk. Most people just need a listening ear, not someone to tell them how to fix their mood or problems. That’s why Habit 5 is my favorite habit.
Bridle Up Hope has helped me in so many different ways, and I am a better person because of it. The things I learned will always impact my life.
(Names changed to protect privacy)