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Words from our Riders

My horse is smarter than my psychiatrist, because I can lie to my psychiatrist, but I cannot lie to my horse.

When I came to Tuff I was 20, and going through treatment for my addiction that I had battled since the age of 12. I was struggling; I never finished high school, I was extremely anxious, and I was preparing to face 2 years of intense rehab. Tuff was always the highlight of my week. At first I was nervous, but the horses are so patient and gentle, and it was like my anxiety just went away once I was with them. Even though I had never seen or ridden a horse before, I found I was pretty good at riding, and things just started to click. Having discovered this natural connection with horses I decided I would start working towards becoming a veterinary technician. In the meantime I had the opportunity to volunteer during the program and work at the farm. It was a lot of responsibility, but by now I had the confidence to tackle a challenge head on. Since working on the farm I’ve had a huge variety of experiences that are going to help me in my future career. I am leaving Tuff to get my diploma as a veterinary technician, with plans to get a degree in equine management and eventually apply to a vet school. This is a path that I never would have imagined, and I have a network of people that have supported me in the process. It’s crazy to think how I’ve managed to literally transform my life.

A Poem About... Horses

My horse’s feet are as swift as rolling thunder,
He carries me away from all my fears.

And when the world threatens to fall asunder,

His mane is there to wipe away my tears.

When I walk through the barn door, everything from my day is gone. All my problems become close to invisible and I can just be me. All of the labels disappear. I become the me who loves to ride.

What I got out of this program was a chance to be looked at differently. To be looked at as if I had potential. Before my horse even knew me, he believed in me.

I learned the importance of patience and I realize that good things don’t just happen in a blink of an eye. Good things, like the relationship I have with my horse, take time.

Riding took me to a place where I didn’t have to worry about what was going on no one judged me – it was a nice feeling to have.

TTRF gave me a steady friend to come to every week who will treat me the same no matter what. Every time I messed up, I learned I can try again. And every time I had to learn, my horse waited patiently while I did.

After every ride I went home feeling quite positive and really centred, the rides carried with me over the week between them.

You have taught me to try and give people and horses a chance when I first meet them.

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