Bridle Up Hope matches young women with horses in a life-changing programJan 30, 2023 02:43PM ● By Peri Kinder
Rachel Covey, with her horse Tarzan, is the inspiration for the Bridle Up Hope program that combines horsemanship, creating good habits and service. The Bridle Up Hope chapter in Davis County is located in Kaysville. Photo courtesy of Bridle Up Hope
When Rachel Covey passed away in 2012 at the age of 21, she’d been battling the effects of depression for several years. A granddaughter of author and businessman, the late Stephen R. Covey, Rachel had found hope and connection through equestrian training before her death.
After Rachel died, her family wanted to help young women who might be struggling with depression, anxiety and other mental health issues and they started the nonprofit Bridle Up Hope. The organization’s goal is to teach girls ages 12 and up the skills and confidence they need and to develop resilience through equestrian training.
Becky Jensen operates a chapter of Bridle Up Hope in Kaysville where it’s her mission to teach life skills through horsemanship, goal-setting and service. The 14-week program includes riding lessons, caring for horses, developing friendships and building life skills.
“Everybody’s individual but it’s very transforming,” she said. “For example, one girl just said to me she had been sneaking out with boys. She decided to break up with her boyfriend and said ‘I’m not going to do that anymore because I found my self-worth.’”
The program is based on Stephen R. Covey's book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” with each week’s itinerary focused on one of the principles: being proactive, focusing on goals, prioritizing, pursuing winning situations, understanding others, seeking synergy and renewal.
It’s a one-on-one equestrian learning experience with one girl and one teacher meeting together each week. The girls also come together weekly to work in the barn, learning the benefits of service. The program has been so successful, Bridle Up Hope has added a women’s program.
“Basically, it’s for anyone who’s lost hope and they’re looking for something,” Jensen said. “After each lesson you sit down and go over the habit again. There’s journaling and service where you give back. There’s goal setting and art classes and yoga. The mission is to inspire hope, confidence and resilience in women.”
Bridle Up Hope has a goal of opening 1,000 training locations throughout the world. Headquartered in Alpine, Utah, the organization has worked with more than 800 young women since 2013 and has chapters in places like The Netherlands and the Caribbean. Jensen’s chapter is the only one in Davis County. For more information visit Bridleuphopedc.com or BridleUpHope.org.
The program’s success is based on research that demonstrates riding and working with horses brings significant benefits to participants. Additionally, practicing the 7 Habits has been shown to develop whole-person wellness. The service component is a way to build safe friendships, a strong protection against self-harm.
There is a cost involved, but every girl gets a scholarship based on family income and ability to pay. Donations are always welcome to help keep the program running.
“What I have found is that everyone comes to the program at the right time and in the right way. It’s really amazing,” Jensen said. “You come at a time with other girls going through the program and have some social interaction. You’re cleaning corrals and cleaning tack and giving back.”