Posted on Jan 16, 2016
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
I am so honored to be able to host a group of girls from a group home every month as part of our Peace Enhancement Program. I have grown to care for these girls more than I could have imagined and this past month touched me the most.
The girls were very excited to work with the horses since we began this year and last week we paired each girl with a horse of their own, they got to learn to groom their horses and hear their unique stories. One girl in particular, I’ll call her Vanessa, seemed to gain the most from this experience as her horse, Rascalina, seemed to share a similar story to her own. Rascalina came from a place where she was used for riding and, when she had gotten too old to carry her people, was retired to a stall all alone. This took a huge toll on Rascalina who began to self soothe by rocking back and forth all day and night at the edge of her stall. As I told Rascalina’s story, Vanessa hugged her close and rubbed her neck as she listened. I went around to the other girls and told their horse’s story and, all the while Vanessa spoke gently to Rascalina, brushed her softly, and braided her tail.
We end every group at our wishing well where we form a sacred circle and talk about our experience that day, write our truth on a rock, and make a wish. On this day, I asked the girls if they had anything in common with their horse’s story. When it was Vanessa’s turn, she shared that she and Rascalina liked to be alone. I asked her if she thought Rascalina was happy to be alone or if she made the best of her situation by accepting it. At this question, Vanessa began to cry and agreed that this was true for both of them. When it was time to write our truth on a rock, say it aloud, and toss it into the well Vanessa wrote and said, her voice loud and strong, “I am never alone and I am valuable.” I told her that what was written on the rock that day was the truth about us and it will be written there for the rest of time. No matter where we go, or what we do in our lives, we can always remember our truth, written on a rock right where we left it at The Gentle Barn.
When we said our goodbyes, Vanessa and I hugged tight. I hope that despite her past she knows she is valuable and she is never alone in life if she only allows her heart to open and let love in.
Written by Michelle