BY SARAH GRANAHAN, RMT, HTP-A
My family had the honor of visiting Hope Reins, a faith-based, non-profit organization that offers hope and healing not only to the horses who call it home, but to the many families and children who visit the ranch each year. We were there to give our time and service to help with barn chores and other volunteer work, but soon learned why this ranch is such a special place.
When we arrived, we were amazed at how close we live to Hope Reins, but had never heard of the organization and the powerful work that they are doing for the greater community. As we pulled up we were welcomed by other volunteers with open arms. Many had stories for us about certain horses on the ranch and they were all delighted to see we had our young children in tow.
As we walked the property to help, we learned that each horse at Hope Reins is truly unique and has it’s own story of survival and healing. All we knew before we arrived was how children and families are transformed by working with the horses on this ranch. But we had never really considered the process and how that was happening. We just knew from our own children that they love being around animals. But what is happening here is more than just a love of animals.
You see, the children that come for sessions with the horses have walked diverse paths. Some come from abusive backgrounds, were abandoned or struggle with special needs and in other ways. But never had we thought that like the children, these horses had their own stories to tell. Hope Reins has a profile on their website dedicated to each horse’s individual tale. Some had been abandoned when times got tough, were neglected by the places that were supposed to care for and feed them or have struggled in other ways. And then it all started to made sense – these horses had walked similar paths to many of the children who come see them each day. And that’s what makes this process and this place so special. The animals may not be able to talk directly to the children and their families but they sure can relate to and support them by being present.
Ultimately, these horses are the best teachers and supporters for the children and families that seek support at Hope Reins. All of the horses there have been rehabilitated in order to work directly with the public. And sessions are led by an individual trained to work alongside both the horses and people who seek support and healing. What many have reported noticing is that when these intimate sessions begin, and the healing starts – it often begins to not only to touch the children but their families and caretakers as well. And that’s a beautiful thing.
Hope Reins has many dedicated volunteers but is growing and can always use some more help. Children as young as 5 years old can learn to volunteer by helping with the garden and yard work. Children younger than that are welcome to join but as always, with parental involvement and supervision. They have other age-appropriate tasks and chores and if you haven’t worked around or with horses before, they will train you. They have many positions available from barn chores, to administration, fundraising and session work. If you want to come out and visit and help out with your family or on your own, they are open to the public every Saturday from 8:30am- 10:30am. You can speak to a volunteer and get started that day or take a tour of the property. If you aren’t able to do any physical work or if you don’t have alot of time to volunteer, they also always welcome donations to help with the ranch. Your money will help feed the horses, build necessary structures, and to keep their programs up and running that offer so much to the people in our community.
To learn more about the horses and the inspirational programs Hope Reins offers, check out their website. Learn how you can sponsor a horse or make a donation. By giving to Hope Reins you are not only helping support the horses but the children and their families who receive real healing and support. And that’s good stuff.
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