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Courageous Riders

 

By day, Kim Hopkins works at a transitional homeless shelter for women and children. It’s a place where residents are given educational opportunities, career training, and practical life skills, along with a safe haven until they can get back on their feet. While it’s a rewarding job that absorbs Hopkins, her post-work hours are just as fulfilling.

 

As owner of Timber Grove Farm, a 50-acre horse farm in rural Maryland, Hopkins dedicates much of her time to teaching students in therapy – those with physical and mental challenges – how to ride and care for horses.

 

“Nothing compares to being a part of helping people make major breakthroughs in their lives. I had a teenage student who’d never spoken. I’d always coached her that to move the horse you say, ‘Walk on,’” Hopkins shared. “One day she clearly said to her horse, ‘Walk.’ That was the first time her father ever heard his daughter’s voice. It doesn’t get better than that.”

 

Hopkins’ work on the horse farm is a major commitment that requires an organized schedule.

 

Seven days a week she gets up before dawn to feed and let out the horses in the dark before she heads to work at the shelter. Her weekends and afternoons involve taking care of the farm – cleaning stalls, teaching riding lessons, and showing horses in competitions.

 

Hopkins acknowledged that maintaining a robust dual life can be exhausting. “But it’s a good kind of exhausting. I am body tired, but emotionally invigorated. Teaching is my own kind of therapy,” she said. “I can have the worst day, and I get out there with these courageous riders, and it puts everything in perspective.”

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