Everybody has that one friend that is quiet, easy-going, loveable, the kind of friend you can bring your troubles to; and then, when no one is expecting it, cracks the funniest joke. That’s our Bo. He’s a strong, steady, reliable presence for riders of all levels of independence, as he carries his students along in the arena or out on the trail. And when the body paint and costumes come out, his expression seems to change to patient anticipation, because he knows that with his light color, he’s a favorite canvas for riders to express themselves.
Bo has a lively mind and a subtle sense of humor. He truly enjoys interacting with the riders and proudly sports his yellow, blue, pink, green and orange decorations because he knows how very special he is.Mary MezaAgape Volunteer
Mary captured our Bo so well. He is truly a special horse and his beautiful story of friendship with Matthew is just another testament to how special he is.
Matthew started riding at Agape three years ago. He is diagnosed with Autism and ADHD. His family describes Agape as his lifeline. This year, he experienced a lot of change in his life including entering a new school and healing from a broken leg. Following his injury, he worked extra hard in physical therapy so that he could get back in the saddle with his horse, Bo. Using his ipad to communicate, Matthew always tells his instructor how excited he is to ride. During a lesson, he clicks his tongue to tell Bo to walk on, and guides him around using his reins. Since rejoining his lessons at Agape, he has regained strength in his leg and, more importantly, built confidence in himself through his ability to communicate with his horse, even without words.
Like Matthew, Bo also had to take time to recover from a mild injury this fall. This gave Matthew the opportunity to meet a new horse named Grace. As Grace began to serve as Matthew’s partner, she stood patiently while he worked through his emotions of being in a class without his familiar friend, Bo. When Matthew took Grace into the arena, he turned to face her, and she pressed her face against his chest. You see, horses have a way of knowing just what we need when we are most vulnerable. He hugged her head, took a deep breath, and calmed down while Grace closed her eyes and rested with his arms around her. Now Bo is back, and at the end of every class Matthew always takes a moment to pause and thank him with a hug around the neck, communicating to Bo just how special he is.
As you know, the unconditional love of a horse is transformational. In Matthew’s case, Bo is his lifeline. And he is just one of nearly 300 participants our horses serve each week. Our 35 horses are the heart and soul of our mission, it is their unconditional love that allows the lives of our riders to be transformed. They are also one of our greatest expenses. Caring for all 35 of them on a yearly basis totals $220,500, which equates to $6,300 for each horse at Agape. That’s why this year, we are asking you to help support our horses through the Adopt-A-Horse program by adopting one of our herd members or supporting their care needs through a variety of giving levels.