How a troubled little girl and a rescued horse empowered each other

Ruby - "we can do this together, Jibaron."

Your gift empowers others and improves the quality of lives of vulnerable individuals and their families, as well as rescued horses.

This is Ruby. She is 7 years old and came to us with oppositional and defiant behaviors, along with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. She was unable to stay focused or calm, follow simple directions, or deal with her frustrations and negative emotions in a healthy manner. She is highly intelligent, yet was having difficulty with academics, simple tasks, and being able to respect boundaries or show concern for others. Her family were deeply worried and at their wit's end to find a way out of this dysfunctional behavior.

With her is Jibaron, a former police horse who suffered trauma trapped in a stall during Hurricane Maria and then again, when the government shut down the mounted police division in 2018 and he sat for 5 months without a job, exercise, attention from a partner, or a home. By the time Horses of Hope / Caballos de Esperanza adopted him, he was nervous, shut down, and disconnected from humans.

Now, thanks to compassionate equine care, training and lots of patience, Jibaron is a confident, relaxed partner and a source of healing to members of our grief support group, as well as a therapy horse for clients with various disabilities such as autism, hearing loss, and anxiety/depression.

And, he is also a source of empowerment to clients like Rubi. When they were initially paired, both were high strung, disconnected, and reactive. Over the course of 5 months, Ruby learned to use her breath to focus her energy, become peaceful, be mindful and be present. Working with Jibaron, she developed empathy and began connecting with him - both mounted and unmounted - with empathy, no forcing, and patience. And as she changed, he changed – trusting her and looking to her as his leader and partner.

Her grandmother wrote “Ruby is calmer, more communicative...She has shown a big improvement in following directions, listening to others, showing empathy, recognizing her emotions and regulating her behavior.” The services at Horses of Hope were "above and beyond our expectations.”

In the pictures above you see Ruby demonstrating calm, assertive, gentle leadership – helping Jibaron move through and around obstacles that might normally make a horse nervous and uncertain. Each day Ruby worked with Jibaron she listened to him more and took stock of her own emotions and energy and learned how to reduce stress for both herself and the horse through simple exercises with the horse. Now Ruby can lead Jibaron anywhere – either from the ground or in the saddle. And, she does this without ropes, pressure or force of any kind.

Charity Name
Horses of Hope/Caballos de Esperanza Inc.
Photo Caption
Ruby - "we can do this together, Jibaron."
Photo Credit
John Cosby