Featured Story: Martina

Several years ago we shared the story of a volunteer, rider, and veteran named Martin. We feel privileged, now, to share the story of Martina.

Letter from Martina

Since coming to Forward Stride almost 8 years ago I have grown in many ways. Much of this growth has led to the biggest change of my life; this summer I began transitioning to a woman. This has been something I couldn’t allow myself before because of fear of losing family and friends.

I’ve hidden myself safely behind my persona of Martin for my whole life and have suffered depression, anxiety and self loathing. Since coming out as Martina Glinda Highwolf my depression and anxiety have improved and my self loathing has turned to self love. I feel safe and accepted by everyone at Forward Stride. Being surrounded by the strong women at the barn has given me strength to claim my life. 

I have expanded my duties at Forward Stride to include “sidewalker”, which has enriched my life. I love working with the therapists and with clients that need me. I feel personal satisfaction knowing I’m making a difference. I’ve always had this need to be nurturing and of service to those that need it. Working with people brings out the best in me. 

I continue to do Herd Health, which is my time with Dusty and Mr P. I continue to heal in the presence of these wonderful creatures as I care for them

We have deep bonds and we know each other well. Dusty has been in my life for almost 8 years and P for about 3. 

Besides my horse friends I have several very close friends at the barn. They have been so encouraging and supportive. I am touched by the love I’ve received. The healing I’ve experienced at Forward Stride has changed my life. 

With renewed courage I’ve told everyone in my life who I am. I now know what it is to be happy. I’m honored to be a part of the Forward Stride community.


Our Herd Health volunteers spend time with specific horses each week. They groom, take baseline health measurements such as temperatures and respiration, and hand-walk the horses to provide low-impact exercise and check for lameness. A donation of $100 could cover the cost to Forward Stride to train one new volunteer, and a donation of $300 could train a team of three!