Meet Daryna!

Student and Horse with Helper

Daryna* arrived at Urban Stable struggling with self-esteem. She tried to be very independent and did not like asking for help. If you offered assistance to Daryna when she was having a difficult time with something, she would refuse your offer. Yet Daryna would get extremely discouraged if a task she was attempting seemed too daunting for her. Daryna’s journey with her horse at Urban Stable helped her build confidence and trust in herself and others. 

When Daryna first met her horse, Prince Caspian, she had to learn to communicate clearly and patiently with him. Sometimes Daryna would have to ask Caspian a number of times to do a task like stepping over in the grooming station before he would respond. This would at times get frustrating for Daryna, but she kept at it and learned to empathize with her horse, even when he was slow to move over because he was distracted by something in the barn.

Daryna learned how to tack up Caspian. When she grabbed the big Western saddle, she could barely lift it high enough to place it on Caspian’s back. As she fumbled with the buckles and straps, discovering how they were connected, she sometimes felt disheartened  as saddling was a confusing task for her. She was determined to saddle on her own, and didn’t like accepting help from others, even when help was offered and could have enhanced her learning. 

When Daryna began riding Caspian, she was very excited. She was resolute to do a great job and not be afraid. Still, horse’s have a mind of their own, and things don’t always go exactly as planned. Daryna found that if she didn’t ask Caspian quite the right way to walk or halt or turn he would not understand what she was requesting from him. When this would happen Daryna would immediately get very frustrated and shut down completely. “I can’t do it!” she would say, with angry tears in her eyes. In these moments, her instructors would offer encouragement, explaining that she was doing an amazing job and that Caspian just didn’t quite understand what she wanted from him.

“Asking for help is okay and an important thing to do when you’re unsure of what step to take next,” Daryna’s instructors kindly explained to her. “We all need help sometimes.” With this new frame of mind, Daryna softened to the idea of receiving help and was able to accept the instruction and assistance she needed to ride her horse around a variety of different arena patterns successfully!

Her empathy and patience grew and even when Caspian would see an opportunity to visit his horsey friends and veer off in their direction while she was riding, Daryna would quickly correct this by steering Caspian back on task. “Silly Caspian!” Daryna would laugh and exclaim. “Horses enjoy chatting with their friends just as much as we do!” Daryna’s confidence and trust blossomed, all thanks to a beautiful silver horse and the life-changing help she received at Urban Stable!

Help more youth receive the opportunity to develop invaluable life skills through connecting with horses, just like Daryna did. Donate today!

*name and photo changed to protect their identity