Between Horses and Humans has come a long way from it’s beginnings in 2004. The program was started by a local Douglas County resident. She wanted to fund a program where trainers/clinicians worked with competitive riders to help the trainers learn different ways of working with horses. The goal was to better the human and horse relationship. The method was to “train the trainer”: participants would pass what they had learned on to their students.
The early days of the program consisted of scarce resources and simple methods. There was no dedicated facility for trainers and competitive riders, and the program owned no horses. Participants worked out of the barns where the trainers worked, and the students owned their own horses.
Barbara Slade, current President and 38-year professional horseman, was involved with the Between Horses and Humans program from the beginning. She became co-president along with the founder in 2008 when the founder planned to close the foundation. Barbara took the reins (pun intended) in 2009 and hasn’t looked back since. She came with a fresh perspective and new goals for the program.
Barbara talks about her inspiration for BHH back then. “One morning I picked up the paper and saw that an 11-year-old had hung himself. I was shocked and filled with dismay. Then I spoke with someone whose child couldn’t find the strength and courage to get out of bed and face another day of being bullied. Yet another conversation tugged at my heart-strings: a child was so devastated by the unexpected death of a parent they completely shut down, no longer wanting to talk or smile or play, becoming despondent and angry. So I asked myself, “What difference could I make in the lives of children who are suffering?”” BHH became the answer to that question. Barbara directed her energies towards using the program to work with children with difficult life situations, personal challenges, social, emotional and behavioral issues. The mission became “providing a place for youth to learn leadership and life skills through horsemanship”.
Since its inception BHH has helped approximately 500 children and young people, along with their families, to learn, grow, love, smile, and lead themselves to a bright future. The future of BHH is bright too. Volunteers, board members, students, parents, horses, donors and supporters are building a community of support around BHH to ensure it continues to provide valuable resources to meet the needs of young people in our community.
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