of a horse can be on the psyche. Working directly with
horses in any capacity, be it riding, grooming, mucking
stalls, learning how the horses move or how to
communicate with them creates an opportunity for building
self-respect and self-esteem. Learning what it means to
take care of a horse and get inside the mind of a horse
makes getting to ride a much more meaningful experience.
A few years back while Kim Swaney’s, HTH co-founder,
daughter attended a horse camp at the ranch where her
horse was boarded. Swaney saw firsthand the positive
effects working with the horses was having on her
daughter. She then thought back to her own childhood
when she first became spellbound by her neighbor’s
horse. Her neighbor took notice of Swaney’s interest and
offered to let Swaney help take care of and ride her horse.
“That was the best summer of my life,” Swaney said. She
wanted to give other less fortunate kids that same
experience so they could build confidence and have
the best summer of their lives.
Swaney had an idea to sell t-shirts with business logos in
order to raise money to be able to offer scholarships to
the horse camp during the summer of 2013. She raised
enough money to send five kids to the horse camp at their
barn. Seeing the transformations in these scholarship kids
made Swaney realize that she was on the right track and
had found her purpose. When the summer ended, she
took her big idea and the desire to expand the concept and
formed Happiness Through Horses.
As Swaney put together her ideas for HTH, she knew she
wanted to be surrounded by others who had been directly
influenced by horses or had experienced major life
changes through their i nteraction with them.
When she was in the seventh grade, HTH co-founder,
Shauna White, experienced bullying in school to the
point where she began avoiding school, sports and other
students. One day she visited a horse rescue ranch and
immediately felt at home. “Here were all these horses that
needed rescuing, and they were in the same spot I was in
because I needed rescuing,” White said.
White began volunteering every morning and on the
weekends. “The horses didn’t make fun of me or judge
me.” They knew instinctively that she was there to help
them. It didn’t matter to her whether she was filling water
troughs, mucking stalls or grooming. The horse rescue
gave her a place to belong. Though she was only there for
six months, it changed her life by giving her confidence
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