The year Hannah began her horseback riding lessons at Camp Sycamore Hills her mother received a quote from a friend who had grown up riding horses — a quote at the time her mother said she didn’t truly understand. Her friend said, “Horses give us the wings we lack.” As Hannah’s mother reflects on the ways Hannah has grown, she sees now what her friend meant — the equestrian program transformed Hannah’s outlook on life and her future.

Horses Give You Wings!

Hannah summed it up one night as she was sharing what she had learned from camp. She said, “Before I learned to talk to a horse, I didn’t really talk to people much either. But now I know I have something to say and now I know how to say it… I’m not afraid to speak up anymore.” She said that learning to ride a horse has given her the confidence to learn other things, too. According to Hannah, “Nothing else can be as hard as trying to get Yogi to canter without a crop!”

Along with gaining confidence, Hannah also gained a new friendship!

Hannah and Bekah did not know each other before they had their first horseback-riding lesson together, but now the two girls ride together every weekend. Hannah has learned that no matter a girl’s age she is able to share a common bond of mutual respect and lasting relationships with the girls that ride alongside her.

Hannah’s mother watched the Girl Scouts equestrian program give her daughter wings, and Hannah has continued to use those wings in the community around her. Four years ago, Hannah could not speak or look others in the eyes. Recently, Hannah won her second school science fair because her presentation skills left an impression on the judges. Hannah’s mother said before camp, a teacher or coach would overlook Hannah completely as she sat quietly without an effort to be heard. She credits Hannah’s positive growth and ability to use her voice to the patience of Camp Sycamore’s staff!

Her hope for Hannah is that she will continue her involvement in the equestrian program and become a volunteer vaqueras once she’s older. Even if she doesn’t grow up to work with horses, her mother thinks Hannah will be an excellent teacher due to the exceptional instructors and examples she’s had at camp.