• Ridgewood Rotary

The Unbridled Heroes Project



The Rotary Club of Ridgewood AM are supporters of Mark and Amy Steppe. They are veterans….we call them heroes…they call themselves survivors. Here is their story……..

Like so many who have experienced trauma, we’ve lived in the depths of despair. Unimaginable pain and lows. At a certain point, the “why” of the pain no longer matters…what matters is ending the pain. We understand.


But understanding is not enough. Everybody has a story and no two stories are alike. That’s why no two people can be “treated” the same way.


In our case, following years of PTSD, physical pain, depression, addiction, numerous medical treatments, and having to endure a heinous crime against our family, we grew immune to all forms of treatment. Our marriage was breaking down, our children were disconnected from us, and we were utterly lost.


We found ourselves again, and each other, in a way that was unexpected, unscripted, and unbridled. We connected with rescue horses just as lost as us, and in just as much pain. Like humans, horses have superb long-term memories. Fantastic if the memories are good. Not so if they are bad. Horses, like humans, store their pain.



So there we were, lost souls without a common language and no way to check each other’s progress. Sometimes no thoughts came, just being with the horses was enough. Very slowly, through daily interactions, we established the language of trust. Some of these horses were so abused they would not let a human touch them. The day they did are among the best of our lives. We like to believe that they saved us, and we saved them. 


We didn’t really know what was happening between us and the horses, nor did understanding it really matter. What mattered is that we were healing from the inside out. Laughter returned, hope returned, physical wellness returned, and our souls returned. We threw our prescription medications away, and we started getting excited about the future. We were Mark and Amy again. In the company of these magnificent creatures, we became unbridled heroes once more. 




We were starting to heal,  not just our minds, but physically, these horses were actually healing us.


We’re not therapists, we don’t preach, we don’t prescribe. We do connect people in pain with wild mustangs. It might take days before they come close to you. Weeks before they let you touch them. Sometimes the journey can be frustrating and the challenge overwhelming. But it’s along this journey that a spark is lit. And a spark is all it takes to illuminate the way home.


Come join us.

Mark & Amy Steppe

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