The horsemanship program goes beyond learning how to ride. Working with horses fosters social and emotional healing and growth. Many of our students come with trauma and a mistrust of people, but around horses they feel a connection. Fred Bruce, founder and teacher of the program, tells students that they can say anything they want to a horse and they’ll never tell anyone. Students find the horses to be a safe place.
Troy is a confident and driven young man, with aspiring ambitions. However, when Troy first stepped foot on our campus as a Freshman, we met a different person. He was extremely behind in his academics, timid, and anxious. Yet, Troy had a natural affinity towards animals that led him to take horsemanship all four years. It was through horsemanship and working with Mr.Bruce, that Troy began to gain confidence, become a leader, and find his place in life. A graduate in the class of 2017, he hopes to return and teach horsemanship and vocational arts.
Jasmine, a previous student, was determined to get off the reservation. That is why she came to Holbrook Indian School, a place she called home. Jasmine loved to be with the horses because she felt more of herself. Jasmine said, “I have no reason to be afraid of a horse because...they’re just horses.” For her, horsemanship lessons were peaceful, silent, and safe.
HIS horsemanship program includes:
Group lessons: Everything from grooming, feeding, and riding.
Individual lessons: Learning the relational aspect of working with horses, including exercises, body language and ground work.
Gifts made to the horsemanship program helps students like Troy and Jasmine gain confidence and discover their potential by working with these 1000-pound, beautiful creatures.