Mika is one of our horses here at Starting Gate, and she is also the inspiration of what we do here. This horse was purchased at an auction by a couple looking for a horse to ride trails with. The first morning they had her home, they realized they had bought a horse that had been heavily drugged with painkillers to mask some very serious physical issues. The horse could barely move her back legs and had no mobility in her pelvis or back.
To this day, we do not know what happened to Mika. She found her way to me, founder of Starting Gate Taylor, and she has taught me incredible lessons everyday of the 6 years since she came here to her forever home.
Mika was surviving. She had shut off the world and was just making it through the best she could. But once she found some safe people that could help her heal, she learned forgiveness. She learned bravery. She learned how to communicate her wants and needs and she found confidence. Mika has a spark for life now and is one of our sassiest and most complex horses in the barn.
We are not exaggerating here - theres a lot to this story and we love telling it in person more than just typing.
Starting Gate was formed for Mika and for people that are kind of like her. People who are just surviving this life. Holding fear sometimes without knowing it. Wishing for hope and healing but unsure how to get there. Tried that, been there and it didn't help. Wondering if bravery is ever something they can experience.
Bravery is often encouraged but rarely taught. Vulnerability is beginning to be recognized as an important skill but its often misused to cause even more fear, Starting Gate is here to help.
We believe that bravery is a choice to be made and that God can help.
We believe in the power of the armor of God found in the book of Ephesians chapter 6. We believe horses are of Gods favorite animals. After all, Jesus is riding one to come back and take us Home (Revelation 19:11)
Here we Open the Gate to unforgettable learning while working side by side with incredible teachers that are scientifically incapable of judgment-horses. no matter if you have never touched a horse in your life or if you've owned them for years - you are welcome here. The horses are not specially trained for this, even though they are horses. They rely only on their basic instincts and social structure as horses to teach us valuable lessons in leadership, teamwork, empathy, trust, communication, confidence and more. All invaluable skills that lead to a brave life.
For centuries the horse has drawn admiration and curiosity. There are countless stories of bonds made with horses as they worked in partnership with humans through wartime and peace. Throughout history horses had touched the lives of almost every human.
Today, in our modern world, horses seem inaccessible to the everyman or woman. They seem only for the social elite or for fairy tales.
At Starting Gate - we truly believe that horses are still important to every human. They no longer need to carry us on their backs or pull us in carts, instead they are able to teach us important lessons just by being themselves.
Horses by nature live in the moment. They are constantly surveying their environment and react to the stimulus around them. At Starting Gate that means they are going to give immediate reactions to our human participants words, body language and even emotions. Horses can magnify team dynamics and paired with a skilled facilitator bring important learning lessons to the forefront. Then these lessons can be applied to our everyday lives at home, school and work.
How it works
Horses are incapable of judgement - they do not care what you look like, what you drive, or where you came from. They survive together as prey animals. This means they are constantly working together as a team to stay safe and stay connected.
When we work together at Starting Gate - we include classroom time, arena time with the horses, and personal reflection time. All of these pieces are so important to successful learning and living a brave life.
Will you Open the Gate and enter the arena?
Taylor has an amazing gift with horses and a passion for growth in people. It is a joy to see these two loves come together in a wonderful program.
I have loved watching my kids in this program and how patient the teacher is with them. They are learning so much on how to work together as a team and gaining confidence in themselves at the same time.
I've seen these classes bring to light issues that were holding people back in relationships without them even realizing it.