A young woman sits on a mounting block with a white horse and paint bottles, part of the Riding Progam at Forward Stride where she is learning to celebrate resilience

Celebrating Resilience – Kyara’s Story

Kyara has been on a journey of healing and growth at Forward Stride, learning to cultivate resilience through profound connections with horses and her community. 

Since 2019, Kyara has been a regular at Forward Stride. She has participated in a variety of programs, starting with Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to now being a volunteer and rider in our Riding Program. Speaking about her experience at Forward Stride, Kyara says, “We live in a world where finite truths are hard to come by. Even so, I am writing …about a finite truth of my own. What is that truth? Forward Stride has changed my life for the better. 

When I moved to Oregon in 2019, I was alone (aside from my dutiful dog), I was fragile, and I was incapable of participating in regular life. Struggling with PTSD and all of the symptoms that come along with it being a young gal in a new town left me feeling dazed and confused. A deep-seated sadness and a constantly overwhelming amount of anxiety made me feel as though my days were numbered. It was then that I reached out to Forward Stride.

Part of the Riding Progam at Forward Stride where she is learning to celebrate resilience, a young woman hugs a paint horse's neck

Kyara first started as a client in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. She notes that,“I had seen many therapists, doctors, healers, and healthcare workers in search of ways to create a better life for myself. Not a single one of them brought me a sliver of the peace that I feel when standing shoulder-to-shoulder with an equineThe horses showed support in ways I’d never imagined that they’d be capable of…Some days the work was grueling, after all, I was there to accept hard truths and better myself. On other days the work was delightful, and I made progress in ways that felt fun and freeing.”

Later on, Kyara began working with our Equine Assisted Learning Program to work on life skills and horsemanship. She shares, “I was able to form a relationship with the horses that emulated my relationship with humans. They taught me to make eye contact again. They taught me that we’re allowed to request space from the ones we love. They taught me to meet my needs without consideration of perception. They taught me that relationships should be symbiotic.”

A young woman at the Riding Program at Forward Stride rests her arms over a bay horse

Today, Kyara volunteers at Forward Stride and also has joined our Riding Program to take her horsemanship to the next level. Feeling capable, resilient, and safe in her community, it felt like the logical next step for her.  “My time in the Riding Program has taught me much more than just how to operate the likes of a thousand-pound animal. It has taught me how to show up for myself, how to make my own decisions, and how to respect the different decisions of those that I’m working with”, she says.

My growth here has been evergreen. Each day I become more confident in myself and my ability to make reasonable decisions – feelings I have never felt before. I still struggle to overcome my innate sadness and apprehension but it is here, within the walls of this barn, that the daily battle feels worth fighting.


A young woman rests under a tall horse's neck

With the variety of programs at Forward Stride, Kyara has been able to grow and transform within our community. Her journey of healing through horses is one that celebrates resiliency and self-discovery. Kyara shares that, “I would have never imagined that when I first entered the gates of Forward Stride a piece of my heart would stay behind- attached to these grounds, attached to these people, and most of all, attached to these horses…This community of horses, instructors, and volunteers has become a safe space for me. It is one of the few places where I feel accepted as I am and, because of this, I continue to show up. With much gratitude and appreciation for Forward Stride and the lessons I’ve learned here, I continue to live a life on this Earth, and each day, a better life I continue to create for myself.”

Forward Stride helps individuals throughout their unique paths to healing and growth. Horses, volunteers, and fellow participants come together, emphasizing the integral part community plays in the transformative journey of individuals like Kyara.

A young woman in the Riding Progam at Forward Stride where she is learning to celebrate resilience

Kyara has found healing and lasting transformation through many of the programs at Forward Stride.

Your support can be the key to someone’s transformative journey at Forward Stride. Together, we can make a lasting impact on many of the lives in our community!