Holbrook Indian School
A Seventh-day Adventist Boarding Academy Serving Native American Youth Since 1946
We’re Not Horsing Around
HIS Horses Serve as Teachers and Friends By Fred Bruce and Diana Fish
HIS students race to the finish line. (Josef Kissinger)
“Over the years I have seen miraculous cases of troubled youth, who are literally saved from traveling down the wrong path in life through horse involvement,” –Extension Horse Specialist Dr. Ann Swinker. Troy came to Holbrook Indian School (HIS) as a freshman. Although he was entering high school, he was very behind in his coursework, reading at a fourth-grade level and barely able to write. He was timid and socially awkward when I first met him. However, he had a natural affinity towards animals; he had spent a good portion of his childhood herding sheep on the reservation. I believe it was this affinity for animals that led him to my horsemanship class.
me, helping me clean out the stalls on Friday afternoons and assisting me with the new, inexperienced riders who joined the class. It was a struggle and a process for him to become confident in his work. He would ask me to check a stall after he had cleaned it to make sure he had done it the way I wanted. And then he would ask, “Well, this stall
Starting out, he struggled to find his balance when riding. So much of what makes a good rider is the ability to match the rhythm and timing of the horse’s gait when learning to post (rise in the saddle) when trotting. But he persevered and made remarkable progress in just a few months. Troy took horsemanship all four years while at Holbrook. He began working alongside 12
PA C I F I C U N I O N R E CO R D E R . CO M
Mr. Bruce, Nano and Troy. (Alexandra Ortiz)
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