An Un-Average Life – Gratitude Essay from Volunteer Sofia Aceves-Rose

Square Peg has changed my whole outlook on myself, the world, and the people around me.

At age seven I didn’t think I was anything special; I had average grades and I never thought I was an outgoing person. I thought I’d lead an average life…. Then my mom introduced me to the Square Peg Foundation, a barn where kids and horses learn to be themselves and love life. Square Peg is more than just a barn, it is a lifestyle. For some families, it can even be called a second home. It becomes a safe and loving place to run away from all the crazy madness this world brings, a place free from judgement and full of opportunity. The horses and people love you for who you are–not what you look like.

After riding for three years I experienced a bad fall. My trainer was teaching me on a lunge-line how to canter, and suddenly a tractor came whirring down a hill. The horse I was riding spooked and high-tailed it straight back to the barn, dumping me onto the gravelled ground. Rocks filled my mouth and brutally dug into my back. No matter how much anyone comforted me, I was convinced I never wanted to canter again. That fall changed my life, and for two years afterwards my trainer remarkably respected and accepted my decision to avoid the canter, allowing me to have a break.

After regaining her confidence, Sofia now helps train young ex racehorses for new careers – with Colonel Clark by Decarchy

My trainer paired me with Django who I began to ride consistently. I never imagined that Django would allow me to overcome my fear and achieve what I thought was impossible: cantering, jumping, learning to lunge, trail rides, and–best of all–acceptance. Over the next four years we made wonderful memories together until he left for a new home to spend his retirement. Django changed my life and brought me to the conclusion that anything is possible; you just have to believe in yourself to make it happen.

Over the next few months four new horses arrived from the racetrack. Curtis, Finn, Ace, and Owen filled up the barn with all sorts of

Off Track Thoroughbreds are the Best!

personality and injuries. Often, horses that become injured or perform poorly at the track don’t find a useful, loving, or purposeful life afterwards. The horses at Square Peg are all given a second chance. Thanks to the amazing staff, each horse’s personality and strengths are discovered, and are then encouraged to make that horse shine. The horse can then help create a calm, relaxed, safe, and fun place for the trainers to teach and kids to learn.

Everyone should get the opportunity to feel accepted, special, confident, calm, safe, and joyful, and Square Peg is the place that makes that happen. I volunteer countless hours over weekends and during school breaks to help out around the barn and I never regret a minute of it. Each day brings new smiles and adventures. I am grateful to the Square Peg family for helping me lead a very un-average and awesome life!

The Kunze Family Challenge has bet met AND EXTENDED!  Another family has stepped in to create a Second Challenge. Anything you donate by the end of the year will be matched up to $10,000. Your support is CRITICAL to Square Peg.  Thank you ;-)
Sofia and her fellow barn pals – celebrating life at a barn near the beach

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