Letters to the Editor


To the editor:

I would like to express my great admiration and appreciation for the wonderful horses, volunteers and organizers of HOPE (Horsemanship Opportunities for Potential Equestrians) in Langley. For several years I had heard about this special horse program for children, but it was not until this summer that I took the initiative and signed my 7-year-old son up for the six-lesson series.

It has been challenging to find programs on Whidbey Island that support my child’s needs for gentle sensory integration. My apprehension as to how he would take to the horses was high. Any doubts quickly evaporated, as the kind and caring leaders and volunteers tenderly navigated my son through his anxiety and successfully placed him on his first horse the very first day.

It has been heartwarming to see the changes in my son, who now declares himself a cowboy. Sailor, his new horse friend, and all the volunteers and staff members of HOPE have given me hope that we have found a program that works for my child and his special needs.

My wish is that one day this seasonal activity can again evolve into a year-around activity, and that our island community will continue its support of such a worthwhile educational and healing program for children.

My dream is that one day we can all grow beyond adult politics that tear such worthwhile programs apart. HOPE needs support, so that it can continue to serve kids that need such an experience to help them through some tough life issues.

I thank HOPE for all that it is: an opportunity for not only special needs children, but for all children to learn more about themselves. I thank HOPE for helping me find a tool that has brought great joy and personal empowerment to my child.

Dot Irvin


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