I Think The Red Barn Is a Blessing

The very first Red Barn student, Reid, started coming when he was just a little guy! Now he’s all grown up, and he delivered a moving speech at the 2023 What Horses Can Teach Us luncheon. Here are his beautiful words. Thank you, Reid, for being brave and telling others how much you love The Red Barn!

Hello everyone! My name is Reid Pickett, and I am so excited to see y’all here today. I’m going to talk to you for a few minutes about a place that is very special to me and my family. That place is called The Red Barn. Let me start out by telling you something that you are not even going to believe. I was the very first kid to ride at The Red Barn! I was just a little kid, like five years old. And now I am 18, and I still love my Monday afternoon lessons with my team, Mr. Connor and Miss Alexis.

When I first started at The Red Barn, I didn’t have a lot of words but I sure did have a lot of worries. My family was looking for activities that would help me with my autism, and we found The Red Barn. In the beginning, my favorite thing each week was just to go and see Miss Joy. She made me feel safe and calm. We also figured out that I loved being outside in nature. It helped me relax after a long day of school, doctor appointments, therapies and worries.

The bigger I got and the more lessons I had, the more I learned to love the horses and riding. I learned how to take care of them. Fun fact: I have loved vacuums my whole life, and I actually have my very own business cleaning people’s vacuums. It’s called Reid Pickett Vacuum Services. Do you know what they let me do at The Red Barn? They let me use a very special vacuum on the horses!

I also learned how to say goodbye to the horses when they had to go to heaven. Like Jessie. She was my very favorite horse. There was a time that I was having so many worries that I didn’t want to ride Jessie, but just go see her and talk to her and love her. It made me feel calm. When Miss Joy called my mom and told her that Jessie was going to heaven, we were sad, but we got to go say goodbye to her and say a special prayer for her. We talked about how she had a good life and helped lots of kids like me and that she was going to heaven and was going to feel young and strong again. That is called faith.

I love how The Red Barn helps me use my brain. Every semester we come up with new goals for me to work on. I have learned about trotting, posting and serpentines. We break our new patterns down into small steps. We practice every week, and then we perform in a horse show. This has taught me a lot of things. It teaches me about setting goals and working toward them. It helps me understand that things that seem really hard in the beginning can become easy if you have a team to help you and you practice all the steps. This is called confidence! I think about this when I am at school or at home, and it’s time for me to try something new. The Red Barn makes me brave! It also makes me proud when I’ve finished something that I wasn’t sure I could do. Learning that I can do hard things in the future is called hope.

I think The Red Barn is a blessing. There are a lot of little- and big- kids like me that have worries and challenges. I am thankful that The Red Barn is there to help us grow up, learn to use our words, our minds and our bodies. We are lucky to have beautiful horses to calm us down. We are lucky to have the team at The Red Barn and all of the volunteers that keep it safe and beautiful. That is more than luck, that is called love!

I hope that all kinds of people get to go to The Red Barn and feel the way it makes me feel. So thank you for giving to The Red Barn and sharing your faith, hope and love. Also thank you for letting me talk to you today.