Changing Lives

"We enrolled our son in Bright Star when we found out they help people with challenges like his - they use horses as a bridge to engage and 'speak' to the kids. He gets to care for the horses and ride them. He's really bonded with one special horse friend, and he likes to call it his 'cowboy time'! He's even started to have some communication with volunteers at Bright Star, and just last week I watched him telling a secret to his favorite horse, who nickered as though he understood just what he said!"

- Mom of 10-year old with Autism

There are so many reasons I volunteer at Bright Star. My love of horses is just one of them. The atmosphere and positive energy Dana provides makes me forget all about my anxieties and problems. 

When I'm out there, the horses don't care about the stuff that we are judged on every day. Thsey only want to be loved, just like us! 

The best thing though, is seeing the progress of our riders - they can go from not talking one day to a few months later smiling and talking to you when you bump into them at the store. To know they are enjoying themselves and it's improving the quality of their life makes it all worth it. It keeps me coming back!

- A Bright Star Volunteer

"The harnessing of fear served different metaphors, such as, lessening the terror of recurrent nightmares, eradicating the trauma of feeling alienated due to one’s war experience, and shedding emotional armor in order to bring intimacy back into one’s life."

- Joseph Lancia, O.D. of Rochester NY

When our son first heard about coming to Bright Star, he wanted no part of it!  But now, he loves coming! 

Bright Star has been such a positive experience for him. He connects with the horses, and has developed friendships with several of the volunteers and his instructor.

I have seen so many positive changes in him, but mostly how connected he has become to the people around him. Before Bright Star, he went nowhere, spoke to no one. The social changes that started at Bright Star extend their reach well beyond the pasture fences! 
- Mother of son with Asperger's life-changing equine program

"My daughter’s neuromuscular disease makes activities like walking, riding, and using her hands independently seem like an impossible challenge to overcome. She needed a horse as special as she is - one she could trust like a friend and speak to with her heart. When we came to Bright Star, she met not one, but two extraordinary horses that show her patience, gentleness, and unconditional support. I proudly watch her discover abilities she never knew she had.”

- Parent of child with progressive neuromuscular disease

Finding Bright Star after retiring brought back a feeling of purpose that was lacking for me before. It has been an absolute pleasure for me to be able to hang out with the horses and develop additional riding skills myself. There is always a smile to be found at Bright Star. Seeing the kids enjoy and benefit from their experience, brings joy to all! 

- A Bright Star Volunteer