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  • Courageous Connections

Learning to Trust

Contributing Authors: Sue Eulau and DT 

DT is a 16 year-old boy who started with Courageous Connections in 2022 at Alpine Ridge. He describes himself as being “nervous” when he first started to work with the horses but was always willing to try something new. DT ended up working with most of the herd at one time or another, and formed connections with Izzy, Scarlett, Mason, and Dakota. When we lost Izzy, all of us processed our sadness and grief together. On his first day at the farm, he met Punkin and they formed a connection almost immediately. Punkin was pretty nervous herself at first. She and Ari had been moved from their long-term pasture home and it took some time for her to adjust to her new home. DT showed such patience and grace as she worked through her fear and uncertainty. The reward for both of them is a connection built on trust and acceptance. DT now works with Punkin “at liberty” meaning she has no lead rope and can choose whether or not to follow DT’s cues to walk or trot in one direction and then the other. It is like watching a dance to see them work together.

We have watched DT grow from a “nervous” boy to a confident young man during his time with us. He has worked with different horses and instructors through the years and has learned from each of them. We now refer to DT as a “horse whisperer” who can communicate to Punkin what and where he wants her to go by using cues and his energy rather than a lead line. DT told us that the most important lesson he learned was “to trust the horses and trust yourself”.

DT has been accepted in the Snow Isle Vet Tech program beginning next year. He will spend part of his school day learning about and caring for animals ranging from guinea pigs to horses. We are so proud of the progress that he has made and excited about his future prospects. Whatever DT chooses to do, we are confident that he will carry the lessons he learned and be successful.

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