Stories From The Edge

Some of the feedback we receive!

Below are short comments from students from various programs:

  • “Hope Rising is the best thing that ever happened to me.”

  • "I was sad to leave.”

  • “I felt appreciated.”

  • “I’m not scared anymore.”-

  • “I felt confident and learned new skills.”-

  • “I would recommend Hope Rising to my friends and tell them that you learn a lot from coming here and you get comfortable.”

  • “I felt encouraged.”-

  • “At the start I was nervous with the horses but at the end I felt knowledgeable.”

  • “I was challenged to be courageous and persistent.”-

  • "You learn a lot and create more friendships.”

  • "I learned breathing, leadership, being open and communication.”

  • “Hope Rising is a safe place to be myself.”

  • “Try horse riding it will change your life for good.”

  • “The thing that made me gain confidence was repeating the things that didn’t make me feel comfortable.”



“I like playing with Dudley (big dog), playing with Jonny (friend) and playing with Bon (small dog!) and geting her pufft!!!”  (as he wrote it)  ‘S’ 10yrs (‘S’ had seen his mother shot at, attacked with a sword and  alcohol and abuse was a common occurrence).



"We had a fantastic time with Horsing Around (kids on CYC holiday camp) One 10 yr old boy refused to come and join us and had quite a tantrum before being made to a least come and sit and watch. After about 10 mins the hoody came off his head and he agreed (by cabin leader’s invitation) to throw the ball for Bon (our Jack Russell terrier). He had such a wonderful time, that he forgot his sulky behaviour and then got involved with grooming and leading the ponies with a big smile on his face. At the debriefing time, he was the first to put his hand up to say what he had enjoyed the most!"

Horsing Around Program

“Hi miss i miss the animals and your dog they are so cute and your mum she so nice (she’s my favourite helping her out in the garden) and let us take a plant home i took my plant home and it grow i want to do horse again.” R (14 yrs, as she wrote it) From one of the girls from a local school. My mother who was a 93 year old volunteer here then, worked every Tuesday gardening and R worked with her for the ‘farming tasks’ R loved it and asked Bunny lots of questions.

When they finished their sessions here, Bunny gave her a plant for her garden as a lasting reminder of the relationship and her time here. We hope this experience has restored her trust in elderly people. 

“B’s mother tells me that she is much more helpful with jobs and initiating them around the home too. I suggest it’s because of the confidence she is building in her abilities to do and complete the farm tasks. She smiles the whole time she is here now and loves to be encouraged. B asked her mother if she can put her name down to do Kapahaka at her school.“
Time Out with Horses student, 12 yrs.

“… Thanks for teaching H… and walking alongside her, trusting her and building her confidence and knowledge in horsemanship and life skills, which she will take with her and be an important part of her life’s journey.  Thanks for speaking her language” RW

V is a very intelligent 13 year old. She has a supportive family and had done very well at school, but she has fallen in with an extended family that are in gangs. V has slowly shown poor attitude, erratic behaviour, missing lots of school and attended numerous one on one sessions with professionals wanting to help. She tries hard to dominate conversations with an ‘out there’ comment and the first time we had together, asked me directly what I thought about using drugs, alcohol, smoking, under the illusion she is in control of her life, I told her they were “just a waste of money” and she didn’t challenge me after that. 


Session 5. I felt to challenge V by getting her to learn from Benji (our miniature pony) and Promise (our pony). I sent her out to fetch Promise (in the paddock) who stood still while V got to touch and stroke her on the shoulder, then very abruptly Promise moved away into the centre of the paddock. V promptly tried to thrust the lead rope to me and stated, “You do it”. I explained that Promise had been very well trained, but someone had been a bit too stern with her and that probably she perceived something V did to be scary so she moved away. V immediately acted like she understood and straight away went to get her, moving carefully, which Promise allowed her to do. V was so quick to either give up and perhaps over hand over the responsibility or scared of getting it wrong. With a little encouragement and understanding about what Promise might be thinking, she was able to adapt her behaviour and body language so Promise understood she was not under threat. 


I wanted to challenge V with helping Benji to face his fears of the big flags in the road cones fluttering in the wind. V was uncertain at first, but I showed her how to lead Benji through, giving him confidence by looking at his body language and letting him ‘check out’ the scary monsters each time he walked through. We bought the cones closer and closer until Benji walked through happily. Then she took Promise through doing the same procedure. V looked really impressed that she had ‘taught’ them that you need to pass through your fears. She fleetingly broke into a big smile when I told her that she had taught Promise something new. Today for the first time, she wrote in the Students book, that she "learnt about fear." Up til now, she’s written some comments about inanimate things, but this was significantly personal. Buddy’s Notes. 

“A real one-of-a-kind experience. Hope Rising Farm has really given my grandson something to look forward to… a constant smile.” Grandparent of a 6yr old student. 

‘T’ was at times violent to the pet cat and bird at home and verbal abuse was commonplace in his biological home when he came to us. His behaviour towards these pets changed considerably after coming to HRF.

“This place has been amazing for T, we have tried so many different things to help. Before visiting Hope Rising Farm, we couldn’t just go anywhere. We had to prepare for a week and if we didn’t T would have a meltdown which could last up to two hours or more. T couldn’t cope with going to new places, try new things, wouldn’t make eye contact or even speak to people. Since going to the farm T has become a totally different kid, from hardly talking, to not being quiet (lol) Also, going to a restaurant for lunch which we couldn’t do before. The biggest thing is she is having less meltdowns and is now making eye contact and saying a few words to people. The first time I took her to the farm she wouldn’t even get out of the car, now she can’t wait to get to arrive”

June 2019, 8 year old.