Relationships, Leadership, Purpose

April 17, 2fence014

Yesterday was an incredible day getting back into the routine of training horses with some of our teens. It was a nice change of pace after all the cold, wet and snowy weather we have endured this winter. The horses seemed to be eager to get back into the routine of exercising and for the season to begin. They miss their students and look forward to reconnecting with them and meeting new ones.

I want to share with you a breathtaking moment in time that happened yesterday. Change in a horse or a person happens by one baby step at a time which turns into a series of baby steps. After a course of time, the baby steps, with their ups and downs, can be looked back upon and progress and growth can be seen.

Yesterday was that sort of day for one particular teen where the baby steps taken during the past year and four months came together and shined. It was that moment when all the pain, suffering, hard work and never giving up was worth every step to get to this point.

One of our 16 year old teens came to Stillwater Stables December 2012 at a particularly dark time in her life. She had lost hope. She was being swallowed up by the darkness of depression and living had become a day to day struggle. She had made several attempts on her life in 2012 because the situations in her life had become unbearable.

In March 2013 Miss Jay came to our program and the two of them instantly bonded. Actually, they had bonded before Jay even came to our program. The owners were contemplating donating Miss Jay to Stillwater Stables so I took our teen over to meet them. I had a feeling that she was going to be a perfect match with Miss Jay. When we arrived to the owner’s facility, they drove us out to the field where Miss Jay was hanging out with other horses. Our teen got out of the car and walked up to the fence to get a better look at Miss Jay. In a matter of minutes Miss Jay left the other horses and walked straight up to where our teen was standing. At this moment I was in the car with the owners and I heard them both exclaim at the same time “She never does that!” They saw the bond that had instantly formed between this lonely quarter horse and this broken teen and decided at that moment to donate her to us.

Miss Jay had not been ridden much at this time in her life, so when she arrived we began getting her back into shape and teaching her the language that we use to communicate with horses. Through the process, our teen never gave up and she worked on her own issues as much as Miss Jay worked on hers.
longe line 3 croppedYesterday it all came together while Miss Jay was being a bit grumpy, resistant and wanted to go fast on the longe line. She tried repeatedly to convince our teen that she did not need to listen to her requests in hopes she would give up.

As I watched from the fence, I saw our teen being the perfect image of poise, patience and persistence. She never got angry or frustrated and did not try to rush the process. She would let Miss Jay know when the response was incorrect then would make her request again letting Miss Jay decide the answer. This went on for about 30 minutes.

I saw a teen with incredible confidence. I saw a teen who had built an authentic relationship with Jay this past year. I saw a teen who had felt she could not change her own life let alone someone else’s, demonstrate amazing leadership skills. I saw a teen that thought there was no reason to live embrace life and purpose as she guided Miss Jay to do what she asked.

By the end of their time in the round pen Jay was walking and trotting both directions consistently and following our teens lead and direction. They then went into the arena and had a relaxing ride. I asked our teen how she felt the ride went and she said…“It was great! Miss Jay was really listening and responding to ME!.”

Relationship, Leadership and Purpose are our 3 core values. It was beautiful to see them manifested to this level within this horse and riders time together.

Thank you for your love, prayers and support. Because of you this horse- rider pair was able to be matched and their lives changed forever.

For His Kidsmarch 2014

Connie Patrick
Stillwater Stables
Executive Director

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