Dear Bridle Up Hope,

Thank you so much for letting me experience this program. I feel so blessed to be a part of it, and it really has made such a difference to me. This program not only taught me how to ride horses and gain confidence, but also taught me about friends—real friends.

Before I came to Bridle Up Hope, I had low self-esteem and almost no confidence. I felt like I was being compared to all the other girls at school. Everyone judged you based on how popular or pretty you were, and I hated that. I was in a large group of “friends” who were so wrapped up in themselves that they really weren’t good friends. Those girls were rude, and they would make plans that didn’t include me, while they knew I was standing right there. I felt awful about myself and I would just come home from school and wish that for once I could have some real friends. That situation didn’t help my confidence, and it didn’t help my self-esteem.

Then I came to the barn for the first time, to volunteer. I was totally shocked—I couldn’t believe what I saw. These girls weren’t rude or fake, their smiles were genuine, and they actually wanted to talk to me. They immediately introduced themselves and started a conversation while we fed the horses. There were no cliques, no drama, and everyone just made friends with everyone.

I realized that this was a whole different environment from school, and I felt so comfortable and happy with these new friends. I thought it couldn’t get any better, but It did. I started learning how to care for and ride a horse. I was a little nervous at first because I wasn’t super experienced, but I love animals, and it didn’t take me long to love these amazing horses.

I also had the chance to work with two amazing riding instructors, Kaitlyn and Sadie. Kaitlyn taught me to believe that I could do anything, even if it was hard. She helped me become more confident with horses, and she would help me feel safe and comfortable also. Sadie became my instructor after Kaitlyn had her baby, and she was also amazing. Sadie would talk to me about what was going on in my life, and she would relate it to riding. She taught me that I can’t control everything, but I can control myself, and how I react to situations, which makes all the difference.

I learned so much from Sadie and Kaitlyn, and I am so grateful for them. As I progressed in riding, I came to realize that these horses aren’t just big grass-eating animals, they are amazingly smart and each one has a unique personality. I started to appreciate them more, and soon I was riding with more confidence than I ever had. Not only that but I was happier than I had been in a long time.

After being in the program I was able to find new friends at school, and make changes in my life that I never thought I could. I became so much happier, and anything bad that happened, didn’t affect my happiness anymore. I gained self-esteem, and I am more confident than ever. This program changed me so much, and I will always be grateful for that.

So, thank you Bridle up Hope, for giving me confidence, both in working with horses and in myself. For giving me real friends, both human and horse. And for giving me hope.

Thank you so much,

Kellsie

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