Take a moment to think about how hard these past years have been in your own life. Now imagine you're a child or a teen, absorbing uncertainty, experiencing anxiety, and struggling to process your emotions day in, day out.Windhorse helps youth build confidence, alleviate anxiety, learn emotional skills, boost resiliency, and find joy during troubling times. Our mission is more critical now than ever – the Covid pandemic has left so many kids feeling anxious and confused. Time spent in connection with horses is both calming and confidence-building. In 2021, we served 56 kids in 1014 hours of class time, and gave 20 scholarships totaling nearly $5,000. We continued to support teens with anxiety through our class Practicing Mindfulness with Horses, which we conducted in partnership with the Montana Mindfulness Project. We also collaborated with the MSU Department of Education to conduct research in these classes, and the results were clear:
- On average, 79% of kids in the classes experienced a decline in anxiety, and 92% showed reductions in depression.
- Students showed a significant decrease in cortisol levels during the 2-hour class sessions.
Taté, a sixth grader at Belgrade Middle School participated in Mindfulness with Horses and other Windhorse classes in 2020 and 2021. Taté was adopted last year after six years in foster care. Says his mom Jaime, “Taté has always had a natural way with animals and has always liked working with them. We were looking for a way to boost his confidence and get him engaged with horses in a safe way and teach him how to ride. He is Native American, so horses are part of his culture. And we wanted him to learn social/emotional skills.”
After Taté participated in Windhorse, Jaime noticed a huge boost in his confidence around animals and people, as well as in new situations. She says he now handles situations that would have been scary for him before with more grace. He also is better able to regulate his emotions and manage his anger, and has a general feeling of calm and well-being.
Of his experience at Windhorse, Taté says, “I learned how to communicate with the horses and that, as their leader, I need to protect them.”
Will you consider a financial gift to Windhorse to help us empower and support kids like Taté? As you consider your year-end giving and community impact, we hope you’ll invest in our community’s youth. You can give online at https://windhorseequinelearning.org/how-to-help/donate.html. You can choose to give monthly in a recurring donation, a convenient way to contribute that creates a consistent funding stream for Windhorse. Your gift will help create a brighter future for young people in our community!