One of my favorite sayings growing up was, ”Wherever you go, there you are.” It’s a mixture of daunting truth and mystery all in one. I don’t know who came up with it, but it has stuck with me for life. Hopefully, it sticks with you as well. Hopefully, you haven’t given up on our human condition just yet. I know I haven’t. I haven’t given up on my kids either. Things are starting to turn up for them. The light is slowly turning back on. School is starting to regain its momentum. Flowers are starting to pop out of the ground, and the color is returning to my eyes. The turn of seasons offers a change of pace and new opportunities for the human condition no matter what age you are.

As always, I’m so proud of the NW. I’m so grateful to live here. I have so much gratitude for what the land brings to my kids’ spirit. I’ve been to other places, and they don’t compete with our surreal beauty. Where else can you take kids to see the ocean, then drive through rainforested mountains and end up in one of the most beautiful agricultural valleys in the world? Of course, then you can continue through another set of majestic mountain ranges and find yourself in the desert. It comes fully furnished with wild rivers, mule deer, sagebrush, prairie flowers, wide-open country, and canyons that will take your breath away. Truly, this only happens in the NW. Our life is hard. It’s always been hard. Do yourself a favor. Do your kids a favor. Take a minute this week to embrace the intrinsic beauty available in Oregon. As you take it all in, you’ll notice horses are abundant all around you. They are scattered far and wide in the most unassuming places. They are one of the best-kept secrets regarding kids.

Horses offer kids from every single walk of life something that isn’t obtainable anywhere else. It doesn’t matter where you live or where you come from. It doesn’t matter what color you are or how much money you make. Horses don’t care about any of that. They live for the daily consumption of peace. You give a kid the chance to be around a horse, and it will speak to their soul in a way no parent can. Even if they don’t like it, the interaction will be an experience they’ll never forget. Most of us have exhausted our Google remedies for things to do while we wait this out. Horses don’t know what Google is, and they don’t care. They’re still living their lives. They’re still offering peace to anyone willing to reach out their hand and accept it. They like to consume forage, take naps, and have quality social connections. Kids are and always will be the best candidates for these connections. Kids can find peace inside their hearts and a sense of purpose by taking part in a horse’s care. The NW and Oregon, in particular, is absolutely jammed packed with equestrian farms and riding facilities. We also have more horse rescues and rehabilitation centers than anywhere ever I’ve seen. Rescues and rehabs never run out of the need for volunteers. Volunteer work is the lifeblood of any equestrian venture. The financial upkeep of even 1 horse is no small order. Daily feeding, cleaning stalls, turning out to pasture, and filling water buckets is just the beginning of opportunities for kids. It doesn’t matter if they don’t want to ride. Kids have a chance to learn life skills that will follow them into adulthood by being accountable for the love and care of horses. Like anything in life, you need to do your research and find reputable equestrian facilities with a good reputation for quality. Please find a local horse rescue and get them plugged in. Please find a local horse farm and let them brush out the horse’s hair. Entry-level responsibility at a young age brings discipline and commitment. Kids need these skills to survive life no matter what direction they go. Having your kids get involved in horses’ service and care creates a positive community, and a positive community is vital for emotional and physical health.

Like the adage says, ”You are who you hang out with.” There are plenty of great people doing good things in horses’ lives. There are plenty of great horses doing good things in kids’ lives. So throw open the curtain of life and invite the horse into the lives of your children. It could be the best action you take this whole year.

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