Brook Hill Retirement Center For Horses Inc
Rating: 4.9 stars 20 reviews
Issues: Animals, Children & Youth
Location: 7289 Bellevue Road Forest VA 24551 USA
Target demographics: unwanted horses and at risk youth
Direct beneficiaries per year: a total of 26 youth participants, including 4 with learning disabilities, 1 visually impaired, 1 with diabetes, 2 mentally challenged, 3 disadvantaged, 1 Autistic, 2 abused, 3 in trouble with the law, 8 with confidence issues stemming from bullying, and 1 with Anorexia were served
Geographic areas served: Forest, VA
Programs: United Neigh. The National Education Association’s Twelve Point Plan for Reducing the School Dropout Rate pinpoints “community-based, real-world learning experiences for students” and involvement in small after school groups as a key factor in increasing the rate of high school graduation. Serving Lynchburg City and the counties of Amherst, Campbell, and Bedford, each member is responsible to come to the farm two days a week year round to care for their program horse. Members follow a program that instills self-confidence, a strong sense of personal responsibility, recognition of the value of teamwork, and real-life workplace skills. This is accomplished through a bond of trust with a horse whose background is, too often, just as painful as their own.
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My experience with Brook Hill Farm has been multi-tiered. I first discovered them in the midst of a personal "horse search".I knew from the beginning that my “next” horse would be a rescue of some kind. I knew of the tragedies within the racing industry; and the effect the economy had on thousands of once-wealthy “horsey” families. I knew that the number of horses brought to slaughter through the U.S. is in the high six-figures, and I knew how many amazing animals are left to fend for themselves due to their owner's finances or lack of concern. If money, land and time were un-ending, I would have a farm full of horses who need a second chance.
Lucky for me - and for hundreds of four-legged souls - there is a farm full of horses who need, and receive, a second chance. One email exchange and a three hour drive later and I found myself at Brook Hill Farm in VA, looking at a big gray mare with a deep, dark eye named Lorelei.
Horses have always been, and will always be, a part of my life. I am a big believer in the horse-human relationship, and my belief has been further strengthened the more I have learned about the United Neigh program at Brook Hill Farm. Over the last year that I have stayed in touch with BHF, I have had the pleasure of meeting the girls who are part of the UN program; to see them care for “their horses” and to hear their stories of how they have grown as individuals since coming to BHF; to see those girls, helping horses with broken hearts, all the while repairing their own, unknowingly. Each of those girls will be a role model for some other little “horse girl” in the future, and will be amazing, beautiful women who contribute positively to society. It's a humbling and inspiring program to be a part of, and I hope to spend even more time with them in the future.
Since the start of my relationship with Lorelei and BHF, my passion for programs like United Neigh has truly been re-ignited. (Yet another thing I can thank that big gray mare for.)
One might say that, by adopting through BHF, I have made a difference in the life of a horse. But the truth is that Lorelei, and the people I met who surrounded her, have made a bigger difference in mine.
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