There is something special between a girl and a horse.
A certain percentage of the population is magically drawn to these glorious creatures.
For me, it began at age three with a horse named “Rattler,” a very patient cow pony belonging to a neighbor. For his owner, age seven; my five-year-old brother; and me, he was a babysitter of sorts. He spent long summer days with the three of us aboard, wandering among the cows, pastures, and neighborhood. It began my love affair and deep connection with horses.
He and the 24 horses since, have known my deepest secrets. They have shared my joy and my sorrow and because of what they have taught me, Carpe Diem Farms was created. We have spent the past 25 years sharing the miracle that is the horse with children of all ages through our equine experiential programs.
What we have done in after-school and summer camp programs, scientists and therapists are now figuring out. The themes identified in their studies, research, and interviews are based on the relationship and the impact horses have on adolescent girls − sharing physical affection, being there for each other, being connected, dealing with stress and depression, being good at something, and being a better person.
We have found that horses help with communication and leadership skills. Caring for the horses’ needs teach responsibility, compassion, and thoughtfulness. When a participant learns that a 1000-pound horse is a flight animal, afraid and weary of anything new in its environment, they become more aware of themselves to anticipate their steed’s potential response. Mucking stalls, preparing food, grooming, and cleaning tack are all part of the privilege of learning to interact, do groundwork and ride.
Programs now are one-on-one. It’s not about riding it’s about building relationships and trust.
Carpe Diem Farms is a 501c3 educational foundation located in Highlands. Learn more about us on carpediemfarms.org or our Facebook page.