In the months before ever knowing about it, I was afflicted by crippling depression and severe anxiety. I couldn’t sit through my high school classes, I was in the counselor’s office once a week, and I was miserable. Graduation seemed impossibly far away, besides being unattainable. I thought I was done for.
Then. My closest friend recommended the Bridle Up Hope program to me. I didn’t have the mental capacity to remember it, and my friend got annoyed, so she made me sign up in the middle of art class. She texted some people and the next day, she told me they had a spot for me. Surprised, I texted my mom and told her.
It’s been one thing after another since then—I started volunteering, I entered the program, I made friends, I bonded with horses, and now I’m here.
I couldn’t have defeated my anxiety and pushed out my depression if horses hadn’t shown me that I was worth the effort. If I had never been introduced to Bridle Up Hope, I don’t know where I would be, but I know I don’t like it. I love that the 7 Habits were taught as well. My favorite Habit is #4 – Think Win-Win. It opened my mind and deepened my understanding of animals to think about what they want out of a situation.
Now, I’m a pet groomer in training, a more empathetic person in general, and my life has turned completely around. I’m so glad I got to participate in the amazing Bridle Up Hope program.
Letter From Lela’s Parents
We are so grateful that Lela has been able to participate in Bridle Up Hope. She has struggled with anxiety and depression for years, and even though we tried everything we could think of to provide relief, there wasn’t a single thing we could point to that was definitely making a positive difference.
Through Lela’s ups and downs, I learned that the Bridle Up Hope staff had her best interests at heart, and were very professional in the way they treated her, while also giving her support and praise and friendship. We appreciate everyone at the barn for that.
A key component of Bridle Up Hope is the physical volunteer work. Getting outside, doing physical work does wonders for mood, and when it is paired with animals—it suddenly was something Lela was interested in. Some days it felt like she wanted to live at the barn. Coupled with the over-arching strategy of the 7 Habits and the horse interaction lessons, we feel like the program has been a huge benefit to Lela. Incidents of self-harm and anxious behavior, which seemed like un-breakable habits solidified over three years, have pretty much disappeared. We credit a lot of that to the barn.
Thank you for allowing her to participate in this program. It has meant a lot to her. It has meant a lot to us, to have a safe place, with staff we can trust to treat her with professionalism and love no matter what state of mind she shows up with, and for her to learn and grow in her understanding of herself and others.
Stacie & Andrew