“I first met Buck as an eager 7-year-old, donning a pink butterfly helmet and some muddy rubber boots. To me, Buck was a cherished friend and partner who instilled a sense of balance in and out of the saddle. He taught me to be strong but kind, to be confident but welcoming, to be a leader but also a friend.

Now, 15 years later, Buck still serves as that leader and friend in our Therapeutic Riding program. He welcomes hugs, tears, giggles, and secrets that children who have experienced trauma bring to him. Buck challenges these individuals while accepting them for who they are and lifting them up when they need it most.

[READ MORE: Denver’s urban youth find healing through horses.]

[READ MORE: Rescued horses rescue at-risk youth at Charis Ranch.]

Recently, Buck reminded us of the power in having a friend that communicates through actions, not words. One participant in our program is selectively mute, and he and Buck connected from the moment they met. Their communication was not through words, but rather a gentle touch—a nuzzle, or a hug.

The child seemed to find peace in Buck’s quiet but steady presence; for week after week, he selected Buck as his mount, turning down the younger, fancier horses. We soon learned that the participant had returned to school and told all his teachers and classmates about his adventures with Buck. Despite no words ever being spoken, the child and his horse connected in their own way and moved forward together. That is the beauty of a partner like Buck; that is the beauty of a great therapy horse.” —Megan F.

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