I’ve always been drawn to kids who were hurting. Maybe it’s because I didn’t have anyone to talk to when I was struggling at 12 years old. And, back when I was growing up, you did not go to counselors for help. Instead, I talked to my horse, Princess.
One summer day, God spoke to me and put it in my heart that I would eventually start a ranch for hurting children. Many things have happened between that time long ago and today. I worked in business, with at-risk youth and as a special education teacher.
But I didn’t forget what the Lord told me as a young girl. One day when I was teaching, I felt the Lord speak to me again and say it was time to start the ranch. I listened. After several years of prayer and generating support, I opened Hope Remains Ranch and served our very first child. I realized the Lord had been teaching and preparing me all these years for this work.
Today, we provide Christian equine therapy for 3,000 kids and adults year-round. The focus of the ranch is Jesus. Everyone who works or volunteers on the ranch is a believer, so we try to be Jesus to everyone who visits. We want to show those who enter our gates after a crisis or tragedy that hope remains through Jesus Christ—you won’t find hope in the bottle or drugs. So, we offer therapy and Jesus. Whenever anyone asks Jesus into his heart while on the ranch, we ring a large bell, and everyone gathers to pray with the individual and give him a Bible. We even baptize those who want to be baptized in a horse trough.
Just as I found comfort talking to my horse, our horses provide therapy to those who need it. I’ve seen kids who do not speak do so after just a few sessions with their therapists and horses. Equine therapy doesn’t look or feel like regular therapy, but it works. It’s amazing to see how God uses the horses to pick up on human emotion and help people thrive once again, or in some cases, for the very first time.