SPIRIT Horse -Stable Life     
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           ~ Bringing Horses & People Together!

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Our Idea:   Stable Life Youth Project  

"There's something about the outside of a horse that's good for the inside of a man." - Sir Winston Churchill

In 2013, a beautiful young horsewoman named Alison (Aly) Walsh lost her battle with mental illness at the age of 25 and died by suicide.

In speaking with Alison's mother, Mary about what Alison's dream would have been if she were still with us we learned that Alison spoke about wanting to have her own barn someday. A safe place where she could bring kids and young people together to work with horses. She felt that this could really help young people who had trouble fitting in, who were experiencing things like anxiety and/or depression or those who were simply getting in trouble.

Alison always felt that she could be a mentor to troubled kids. Alison had an innate sense of knowledge from her own troubled teenage years that she knew could help these young people move forward and make a change in their own lives. She didn't know a lot about equine therapy in an academic sense but she had a deep and personal understanding of how horses can heal and help build confidence. Alison's mother added "I think she would have been very good at this".

The Stable Life Project wishes to continue Alison's dream for her. This project will be for youth ages 13- 25, offering them the opportunity to work with mentors and horses whilst providing them a safe place to grow as a person . The goal is to teach the youth about life skills, foster independence and how to have compassion. The emphasis of this program will be on good mental health , developing work skills and learning new learning new life skills.

The plan is to have the participants come to the stable 2-3 times a week in 2 hour intervals.
Initially they will be assigned a horse that they will care for, i.e., complete tasks such as grooming, feeding, cleaning the stalls and exercising "their" horses. Mentors will teach and guide the participants through the daily tasks and will offer support to them through encouragement to take responsibility, try new things and think outside the box. Mentors will be trained by the organization and it is hoped that program participants will become future mentors as they progress through the program.

Many life lessons are learned in the barn - we receive both mental and physical benefits from caring for and working with horses. Researchers have documented these benefits. Studies show that people working with horses experience decreased blood pressure, lower stress levels and reduced feelings of tension, anxiety and anger. In addition, studies show you gain feelings of self-esteem, empowerment, patience and trust. All in all, these are some very powerful results.

Learning horse skills isn't something that only benefits us in the stable. Good solid horsemanship carries over into a person's personal and professional lives. A good horseman learns: Compassion,Caring , Empathy ,Communication, Trust , Teamwork, Organizational Skills , Multi-Tasking, Forethought , Nutrition, Patience, Persistence, Self-discipline and Responsibility. A good horseman exhibits and applies the same knowledge and attributes that are most desired as good students, parents, coworkers, employees or managers. Stable Life Youth Project will allow youth to discover themselves.

We plan to host 8 youth per month for a 4 week program where they attend 3 days each week. This grant will allow for us to reach out to 98 youth in the first year of the program and provide over 2000 hours of mentoring to at risk youth.