horse kisses, hope, horsemanship, horse class,

Hope in Horsemanship

One of my favorite activities in the spring is watching the horsemanship demonstrations. Students in the class show off what they have learned over the previous months while working with the horses. I like to sit in the front row so that I can see everything. That’s what I did this spring.

The students displayed how they were able to communicate with the horse to get it to do what they asked. Weaving in and out of posts, going around barrels, even a game of Red Light Green Light; the students did a wonderful job showing what they had learned.

Then Mrs. Asbury, the Equine Specialists and teacher of the Horsemanship classes, gave the chance for each student to come forward and share about their experience in the class. Not many volunteered but there were a few students that stepped forward to speak. One girl who was relatively new to the Cookson Hills community had written something that she wanted to say but was too shy to talk into the microphone in front of everyone. So Mrs. Asbury read aloud what she had written.

Hello! My name is Susan…

Hello! My name is Susan and I’m in the 5th grade. I came to Cookson Hills to become closer to God and for a new beginning. I wanted to have friends and to have a fresh new start. But most importantly a family. The friends I have made here are more than just friends, they don’t push me away when things get tough, they pull me closer. I never thought in a million years to have friends like the ones I have made while in Horsemanship. 

Pure joy is what I experience around my friends, and I thank God every day for giving me these amazing people. I am grateful He didn’t give up on me when I gave up on myself. Not only did He give me this amazing opportunity to be here at Cookson Hills, He also gave me Richard, my kind, understanding, and loving horse. Everytime I see him I just smile and my day brightens immediately. He knows when I start feeling nervous- especially when I first started riding, and he comforts me. 

I also wanna thank my amazing teacher Mrs. Asbury for being my horse’s teacher. Without her I wouldn’t have had the courage to talk and be myself around my friends. I wasn’t exactly the most talkative person in the world when I first got here. 

I also want to talk about my amazing friends! Travis, I wanna say that I absolutely love your laid-back personality, and that your skill to do complicated things with ease is astounding! And Braelee, if she were in a Hogwarts house, it would be Gryffindor. She is the bravest girl I know. She faces her challenges with a smile. Having her as a friend is an absolute honor. And lastly, Addie. Addie is my best friend, she is always there for me as I am for her. She is like a sister to me, we always play and joke around. Our relationship is based on laughter and happiness. There is never a dull day with Addie. She was the one who made me realize it is better to show my true self rather than hiding it and remain boring.

Meaningful words

Sniffles were heard throughout the crowd and I had to wipe the tears from my eyes. This young girl had written from the heart and it was beautiful. Not only did she share what her horse and classmates meant to her but she helped us understand how Cookson Hills has had an impact on her life in just this short time she’s been here.

That is one reason why I love that our kids have the opportunity to participate in activities like Horsemanship. God is working through these experiences and bringing about change in these young people’s lives. I am so blessed to be a part of it and have a front-row seat to see these stories unfold.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Lauren Hard has spent over half of her life at Cookson Hills first as a student and now on staff. She is the Impact Coordinator in the Story Telling Group department. After work, you can find her playing with her three children, hiking, or doing something creative.