It starts with Daisy, who was born in my arms in a snowstorm in December of 2007. When she was 4 months old it was determined she had cerebellar abiotrophy and would never be rideable – to most horse people that means she would be useless. Some told me to put her to sleep, others said to sell her before we could prove it… neither of which I could do. At the time even the horse rescues I reached out to, told me they couldn’t take on another horse that was hard to rehome. This made it clear that there is a need for a sanctuary for “useless” horses. Horses have so much more to give than just a ride or a race or an event! So, my sanctuary would give them a job, horses do love a job. 53000 “useless” horses were shipped in crowded trailers to Canada and Mexico to be inhumanely slaughtered last year. I’d love to save as many of these horses as possible and bring awareness to this horrible practice.
Why kids? I love kids and believe every kid should at least meet a horse in their lifetime. I love sharing my horses with my friends and their kids, and I have seen some of these kids open up and smile and get more confident in just one interaction with a horse. Kids are the future, and these days I believe they have lost a sense of connection. With themselves, each other and the planet that keeps us alive!
I want the nonprofit to cater to kids in Foster care and Veterans. Why? Because like the horses we are adopting, kids in Foster care are there by no choice of their own, and most feel as though they don’t belong anywhere, that no one cares or would understand the trauma they’ve endured. This is the same with veterans, they serve our country, sometimes put in situations by no choice of their own and are forced to survive and protect. Then when they return, they don’t feel as though they belong in the society they were protecting and that no one cares or would understand the trauma they’ve endured. Horses help a person feel a sense of belonging without judgement or pity.
Why a sustainable farm? I am passionate about eating healthy food and living a life that gives back to the planet. Horses and horse rescues are not sustainable without proper planning and the use of regenerative practices. I want to teach these kids how to live a life that doesn’t burden the planet while healing and having fun at the same time. A camp with all of these things seem like the best way to get this done and help as many people and horses as possible.
We adopt retired and handicapped horses and give them a new job helping people to heal, love, and grow. Currently we have 3 horses and offer programs for skills and personal development. We partner with a few foster care groups to offer sponsorships to children in foster care. We also offer reduced rates to churches, schools, and camps for low income and homeless families.
Our horses are our teachers, and we facilitate with the horses, learning skills for navigating the trials and tribulations of life. Our programs are all groundwork based, we do not ride our teachers, as some or all of them will be un-rideable like Daisy.
We had a day camp in 2019, where nine children ages seven to fourteen came out for six days over two weeks. At the camp the kids spent half the day with the horses and the other half learning how to be better stewards for our planet. For example, on one day, we had an expert from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory come out and teach the kids about greenhouse gases and their own carbon footprint. They built a solar oven and made s’mores. We were not able to fundraise or have programs in 2020 due to COVID but our founder was able to get a Certification in Equine Assisted Learning and move forward on building curriculums for future programs and camps. In 2021 we started fundraising and were able to start our collaboration with Fostering Great Ideas in June of 2021. The first program we collaborated on is their program Siblink – where they bring separated siblings together once a month to do something fun and rewarding. We had our first group of 3 siblings come out for the middle sister’s birthday. Here is a direct quote from Tori, the director of Fostering Great Ideas “she was on cloud 9!” We also have a partnership with Horizons at Colorado Academy where we offer a field trip/day camp for their middle schoolers. There were close to thirty students from the 7th and 8th grade the first week, and twenty-five 5th and 6th graders the second week.
Our short term goals include leasing a property in the Denver Metro area where we can adopt up to ten horses, offer our camps and programs to more children and low income communities, grow our own food and teach those practices during our camps. Offer respite care to Foster families with a bunk house to have overnight camps and respite care.
Our long term goal is a large property in the mountains within 3 hours of Denver where we can grow our own hay and food. We would have the ability to house and care for up to 100 horses. We will have sustainable housing options for our camps in the summer and respite care and retreats year around. The children will have a horse of their own to care for while they are at the camp, while also having other great camp experiences and options, such as learning to play an instrument, arts and crafts, gardening and contribute to the community of the ranch.