There’s a saying that states, “Every horse deserves, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a little girl.” I believe it could also be said that, “Every girl deserves, at least once in their lives, to be loved by a horse.” Something magical happens when young girls and horses connect. For Rachel Covey the bond she shared with her horse, Tarzan, was a saving grace that she loved sharing with others.
Combining Grandpa’s and Granddaughter’s Work
When Rachel and her grandfather, Stephen R. Covey, both passed away just weeks apart in 2012, the Covey family found healing by turning outward and bringing hope to others. Wanting to honor Rachel and continue her tradition of protecting girls and horses, the Covey family created Bridle Up Hope: The Rachel Covey Foundation, whose mission is to inspire hope, confidence, and resilience in young women through equestrian training.
Offering healing through riding, yoga, and art, Bridle Up Hope’s curriculum centers around The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People adapted to the barn. The 14-week program has three major components: riding lessons, the 7 Habits, and service.
Each girl receives a one-on-one private riding lesson with an instructor every week. Incorporating and teaching each of the 7 Habits into lessons is a unique approach that Michael Sean Covey, executive director and co-founder, says is incredibly impactful for these young women. He shared, “The first lesson is about being proactive, so the girls have to learn how to take charge of their horse. After the lesson, we help them apply what they’ve learned to their lives. Most of the girls have never been on a horse. For some, they have so much anxiety it’s hard for them to leave their rooms. But if they can learn to assert themselves as the leader and lead their horse, it’s so empowering for them. They finish their lesson and say, ‘Oh my goodness! I can ride a horse!’ They’re confident after just one lesson – it’s crazy I know – but it happens every day here.”
Hope, Confidence, and Resilience
The girls are encouraged to look outside themselves. To serve. They are required to feed, groom, and take care of the horses, muck stalls, and help with supplements. “Horses, the 7 Habits, and service. It’s a magical combination that inspires hope, confidence, and resilience.”
It’s a combination that works and saves lives. Everyone has a unique story. Bridle Up Hope wants to inspire and help as many young women as they can. “We’ve always wanted to be the barn that is for everybody. We do a lot of fundraising so we can provide needs-based scholarships to low-income families in our program. In fact, 75% of our girls receive some level of scholarship.” Michael Sean continues, “Our vision is to expand our curriculum to existing equestrian centers around Utah, the U.S., and in select countries, ultimately reaching 1,000 Bridle Up Hope chapters. That means ultimately bringing hope to hundreds of thousands of young women.”
Bridle Up Hope is Rachel Covey’s legacy of hope, healing and love. One has only to look at the pictures posted around the barn or visit Bridle Up Hope’s website to see the magic that happens when a girl loves a horse and a horse loves a girl.
Bridle Up Hope’s world headquarters are in Alpine, Utah. They have a chapter in Gelderland, Netherland, and Goyave, Guadeloupe, with four more slated to open in 2020/2021. For more information about becoming a Bridle Up Hope chapter, sponsoring a young woman, or donating to Bridle Up Hope please contact Michael Sean Covey at email@example.com or visit bridleuphope.org.
► Watch: Bridle Up Hope: Inspiring Hope, Confidence, and Resilience in Young Women Through Horses