Over the coming weeks, we plan to do a blog series to introduce you to the amazing equines and other critters who bring so much love and joy to those we serve here at the Ranch. Each animal has its own story, its own personality, and quirks. What is common for them all is that they are fair and honest in relationship. They do not offer their friendship or trust based on how we look, the mistakes we made yesterday, our disabilities or popularity – they see our hearts. This makes them safe for so many of our participants who have experienced deep relational trauma and find it extremely difficult to trust. As relationships are built with the horses, they become a beautiful bridge for our mentors to build trust as well.
There is so much more we could share about this – but we’ll leave that for another post! For now. . .meet some of the wonderful friends who are a foundational part of God’s work here at the Ranch!
There is absolutely no where else to start except with this incredible horse. Jackson is a 26 year old, appaloosa gelding, and in October of 2007 he was the first horse to take up residence at Refuge Ranch. This patient and kind horse is a wonderful confidence builder. For the last 15 years he has taught us countless lessons about the relationship between human and horse. He has gladly packed around toddlers for their first ride, patiently endured the mistakes of those just learning what horsemanship is all about and been a faithful friend to so many. There are not words for how much we love this gentle horse who started it all!
Small but mighty, Gideon came to live at the Ranch in late 2009 – a gift to us in the aftermath of a tragedy. Our barn loft, freshly loaded with several hundred bales of hay collapsed. Trapped underneath was one of our recent rescues, a precious, blind pony named Raya. Despite an incredible rescue effort by the local fire department and a crew of volunteers who were able to move the hay and rubble quickly, Raya had to be put down. We were devastated. A few days later, a local news channel reached out to share our need for volunteers and funds to rebuild the hay loft. Gideon’s family saw the spot and, moved by our mission and recent loss, they reached out. Their children had outgrown this sweet miniature horse and they wondered if he might be a good fit for Refuge. He most certainly was! Over the last 13 years he has been a wonderful confidence builder for our younger or more fearful participants. We have no idea how old Gideon actually is, but these days he is retired from saddle work and currently spends his time sun-bathing, demanding to bed fed, and commanding all things Refuge from his private quarters in the barn.
Rapha is a 25 year old red dun Quarter Horse gelding that came to the Ranch in 2016 after sustaining two very serious injuries within a short period of time. His owners were unable to provide the care he needed so the vet reached out to Refuge to see if we might have a place for him. The name Rapha means “healing”, and not only have his own injuries healed but Rapha has been instrumental in the healing of many heart wounds in those who visit the Ranch.
…to be continued
March 5, 2021