"It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them that will make them successful human beings."
That is our way of thinking around here. Life lessons are learned and taught on a daily basis, by the horses & the VPF team who, in their roles as instructors & coaches, serve as mentors & leaders for our youth. Honesty, integrity, dedication, compassion, leadership and much more are all strongly emphasized in our daily world.
The VPF Stirrup Squad is a very important part of our barn. The club serves as opportunity for the youth to enjoy one another's company outside of lessons, to work together on club projects, many of which greatly involve charitable work, and/or community service. An official ASHA Youth Club, The VPF Stirrup Squad has earned national recognition for their efforts for several years. Officers and members take tremendous pride in their community service, breed promotion & youth leadership efforts. Just a few of the groups who have benefited from their teamwork are Toys for Tots, Saddle Bred Rescue, Texas Children's Hospital, Soles for Souls, United Professional Horseman's Association and more.
Membership in the Stirrup Squad is free to any child or youth who participates in riding lessons at the farm.
Writing this now, I vividly remember sitting cross-legged on the floor of the barn office, circled between four other girls as we debated the name for our newly founded youth group. Eight years ago, a small but VERY mighty group decided to call ourselves the “VPF Stiorrup Squad.”
Oh, how we have grown since then. From five members to 18, we have grown in much more than just membership. Together, we have grown as individuals and we have grown in our commitment to our goals and to one another. In these eight years, the Stirrup Squad has been proud to receive the ASHA Award for Outstanding Achievement in Membership and Outstanding Achievement in Fundraising. For five consecutive years, our members have organized the popular “Chuck-a-Duck” for the NTASHA-UPHA Fall Classic Horse Show. We have served with the Pin Oak Charity Horse Show for Education Day as well as the Ten for Teens project for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. We have introduced the American Saddlebred to veterans, politicians and some who have never been around a horse in their lives, all of whom instantly fell in love. Eight years ago, as we sat together arguing over “Bridle Buddies” or “Stirrup Squad,” I was just nine years old and had no idea what was in store for this youth group.
-Sydney Young, former president