Monday, March 20, 2017

What Difference Do These Horses Make?

This came from one of our newer program participants.

"I feel moved to give my testimony, and trust me, as an empath, when I feel, I feel deeply! I reached out to Steve after reading an article about him and Ashley that also moved me in a very emotional way. I intended to thank him for what he did for her, explain how it touched my heart and why, and ask if there were any volunteer opportunities. I ended up writing him a lengthy email painting a picture of my own abuse from my stepfather beginning at age 3, after my father died, and how it had led to my own struggle with Depression, Anxiety and Complex PTSD. I also told him of my very traumatic experience 20 years ago, working with horses as a barn manager, and trainer apprentice for a man I trusted, who later sexually assaulted me. Because of my great love of the horses and the fact that I then was only there alone on weekends, I stayed on, until I got thrown on labor day 1998, and broke my ankle. I wanted to let him know, short of pleading, how very much it would mean to me to have a new opportunity to be around these beautiful creatures and get a fresh start.

I have only been out 3 times, but there are no words to express the life-sustaining hope, strength, and inner peace it has given me. I have been inundated with more stressful situations than I can effectively handle since October, and it rendered me incapacitated and struggling to get out of bed.

I brought my 14 yr old daughter with me the first day, who also battles Anxiety. We watched as the veterans worked with the horses, and then the troubled boys. We listened as he taught. We helped gather logs to build the fence. The next time I brought my boyfriend, and along with a group of home-schooled children, we learned so much about the animals, their origins, the farm, what he's doing and why. It was the way he spoke with such passion that captivated our attention, and it made me sad to think of how much my daughter is being robbed of the things that really matter in public school. Before we left he talked about horse behavior and why they act the way they do. I almost cried when I heard him say that horses don't care about anything besides security, and are looking to be lead. I had a revelation about my own relationship with my daughter...  I had spent most of my life giving my power away, and have done so with her Dad, I had no confidence in myself or in leading her. She is just like the horses; fearful because she does not feel secure, sensing I am an incompetent leader, and it makes her angry. It has been an astonishing revelation! I knew then that I was going to forget everything I had been taught about horses and start over, and would apply what I learned to make me the strong leader my daughter needs me to be.

As I made the hour long drive on my 3rd trip, I thought about how coming here was the best therapy I'd ever had, and how it had given me new life; something I very much looked forward to every Friday. I never imagined I would be so lucky to go on my first trail ride! I felt like a giddy little child on a carousel, so intense and heartfelt my joy! It almost felt too wonderful for me. I haven't yet been able to express what I learned that day. Somehow, without words, I know it transformed me. It was truly one of the greatest gifts I'd ever been given.

Steve's generosity of spirit is huge, and I am delighted to have this opportunity to volunteer at this amazing place. Even more astounding is how deeply he touches everyone's lives who have the good fortune to be lead here. The benefits reaped cannot be measured in monetary value. My heart is full enough to burst."

 And you can be part of this effort. Go to our website and make a contribution today. We are a 501 (c) 5 non-profit breed conservation program and as such contributions are not tax deductible. We are in our sixth day of our month long social media fundraising effort. Feel free to share this with everyone that you know who cares about horses and people.

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