Judge is a very special horse who requires very special care. We don't know much about Judge's past. Last summer, he was rescued by H.E.R.O. from a kill broker (a person who purchases horses for meat) in Pennsylvania. Judge is an ex-Amish workhorse who is very well broke to both ride and drive. He was most likely used as a cart horse, riding horse, but possibly a plow horse as well. Judge is the grandpa of the barn...his big sweet face, fuzzy ears and floppy lower lip resemble more that of a giant teddy bear than a horse. His swollen legs, cataracts, and bumpy spine tell the story of his hard-lived life.
To know Judge is to love him. He is the go-to horse in our program for kids who need a quiet, gentle horse to learn from. His calm and quiet demeanor is contagious and he has a way of making others feel more confident and safe when they are around him, even though he is the biggest horse in the barn. At Judge's elderly age, he still has so many gifts to give the children who come out to the farm to work with our horses.
Despite the irony in his name (which he came with), the greatest gift he has to give is his unconditional love - never judging anyone for the way they look, what clothes they wear, how much money they have, how they do in school. It is this lesson which has become the center of our entire program. Every child coming to Hope Grows is made to feel special and loved, despite what baggage they arrive with. Like our horses, each child has their own story, their own experiences and insecurities that all add up to who they are. Through love and understanding, sometimes we are able to break down walls and be let "in" to a special place in the heart - the place where hope can grow.
Where love is spread, hope will grow.