Kids Doing Good
While many ninth-graders are playing video games or taking selfies, Meghan O’Hare spends her free time volunteering with horses and riding therapy participants at Happy Hooves Therapeutic Equestrian Center located at Eden Farms in Marietta.
Meghan, age 14, lives in Greenville and attends Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic School. She began riding horses about four years ago. Soon after, she began volunteering with the farm’s summer program and is now a vital part of the team, volunteering and helping wherever she might be needed.
Becky Sweeney, owner of Eden Farms, said Meghan is an eager helper and volunteers with both horses and younger students.
“She shows up when asked with a real ‘can do’ attitude and is patient with not only the horses but also our riders,” Sweeney said.
Meghan’s mother, Bridget O’Hare, said her daughter’s giving spirit carries over into the rest of her activities as well. Meghan often accompanies her mother and their therapy dog to an area nursing home, and she co-leads a kindergarten group at their church.
But it’s the horses that Meghan feels most passionate about.
“I lead kids around, I take the horses to the pasture, I ready horses for lessons, just wherever they need me,” Meghan said.
She only began riding in the sixth grade, but when her instructor told her about volunteering, Meghan was eager to sign up. She helped out that summer with camps and it turned into a year-round venture. Now she helps younger children with their lessons and prepares the horses for their riders.
Meghan said she felt volunteering was important because it helps kids to open up and be themselves. She noted that at Eden Farms, lessons are about learning and accepting people for who they are.
“Sometimes, it’s a kid’s safe space, and you can get so much more out of a kid during a lesson than you can in asking questions for an hour,” Meghan said.
Bridget O’Hare said her daughter has always loved animals. When a friend suggested she try riding, it clicked instantly. She said Meghan often has a special sense of knowing when someone needs a kind word or helping hand.
Meghan said her favorite thing about volunteering is spending time with the horses. She enjoys taking them out to the pastures and brushing them. When she gets older, Megan hopes to find a job that combines her love of horses and helping others, and she definitely wants to continue volunteering.
Learn more about Happy Hooves at http://www.edenfarms.net/happy-hooves.html.