Featured Story: Meg

Our volunteers are invaluable to the work that we do. We are delighted to share the story of one particular volunteer who joined us ten years ago. Meg is an incredible addition to all of her volunteer teams and a valued member of our community.

Like so many young girls, I collected Breyer horses, drew pictures of horses, pretended to be a horse, bugged my parents to buy me a horse, and finally got to start riding when I was 9 years old.

This lifelong love followed me into adulthood, where I did have a chance to share board on a horse for about 8 years. As I approached retirement, I wanted to find a way to both reconnect with horses and to give back to others. When we moved to Portland in 2009, I found Forward Stride, and my dream became a reality!

I trained as both a sidewalker and a leader, and after a year, I also started to take lessons. It has been a “best of all worlds” experience.

“Humbling” is probably the word that best sums up how my experiences as both a volunteer and a rider have affected me. I am in awe of the courage and spunk that our riders display in facing challenges greater than I can even imagine.

I am inspired by the spirit of generosity, compassion and commitment that the volunteers exhibit at every level, and aspire to reflect that spirit in my own work as a volunteer.

As a rider, my ego could take a bruising every week if it weren’t for the inherent kindness and professional skill of the instructors, who always manage to “end on a good note”! After so many years on horseback, it’s truly humbling to realize how much there is yet to learn!

Having spent 30 years in a corporate environment, I’m well aware of the challenges of staying true to your values, inspiring loyalty in your workers while serving the needs of your clients. Forward Stride does all this and more – a tribute to their commitment to acceptance, inclusivity and personal growth.

The best of all worlds, wouldn’t you say?

Meg Pradelt

Our horses work hard in every session. Our volunteers help us keep them well fed and healthy. A donation of $100 could pay for a month’s supply of hay for one horse.