Forest Horse Jumping Team a Success

Forest, VA - A horse jumping team in Forest recently took first place at regional competition in Lexington.

All the horses are rescues, and their riders were at-risk youth. This year is only the team's second time competing.

Brook Hill Farm is a non-profit horse rescue organization in Forest.

"Horses from really bad situations, like starvation or abuse," said Brook Hill Rider Ana Snyder.

Since 2001, the team has been joining horses with at risk youth and adults.

"I've had a lot of confidence issues so the fact that I can get on TV and talk to you is great," said Laura Stacey, a Captain with the Brook Hill Riding Center

"You feel like you belong and people understand you and that's a really big deal for a lot of people that come here," said Belle Thomas, a Brook Hill Rider.

In June, five members of Brook Hill's United Neigh Program competed at the Old Dominion Region Jumping Show. Out of 11 teams throughout the state, Brook Hill won.

"I'm speechless," said Stacey.

"Shocked," said Thomas.

"I thought we worked well together," Snyder said.

The team also scored high points in two other divisions.

One of their riders, Bri, qualified to compete in Nationals later this month.

Jo Ann Miller is Executive Director of Brook Hill Farm.

"Most of these kids don't come to me feeling like they can do something like this," Miller said. "This competition to me just proves to these kids that they can succeed. I think that is the key."

The team's mission is to develop character, confidence and a sense of community in our youth by working with horses.

"I feel more of a bond knowing that I helped this horse and I feel like they've almost helped me more than I've helped them," Stacey said.

For more on the horse farm, click here.