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  • Writer's pictureJen Henry

What A Difference A Horse Can Make

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Hello my friends, I hope these last few days have gone well and you have kept in the forefront of your mind, every day is a gift from God, the creator of all things. He is for you and not against you. He loves you and has made you unique and wonderful. There is no one like you, even if you are an identical twin...We all share in the fact that each one of us are all on our individual journeys of growth and will learn exponentially, if we are open to daily growing and training. We are a work in the making, and beautifully made. Let's continue to cheer each other on, and learn from one another as we move forward in life.

Today, I am going to share something near and dear to my heart. I have had a love for horses ever since I was a young girl. My dad, who has since joined Jesus 2 years ago, would take my two sister's and I horseback riding at a local stable, when we were kids. I know some of you out there are not horse people, but stick with me, there is a good story in all this ;-) For some of you, it might be dogs, cats, butterflies, birds such as hummingbirds, owls, or doves. It might be dolphins or whales; the list is endless especially if you are an animal lover like me. Whatever it is that floats-your-boat, and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, I think you can relate somehow, to how I feel about God's incredible creatures.

I have never actually owned a horse, but life isn't over yet lol. I could go on and on about how much I love to be in the midst of a horse, to be on one, to pet one, or just to sit back and admire how majestic they are. Because The Lord knows me so well, and has planted this love in my heart, He has created and woven together an amazing plan that I hope is encouraging to you. I have come to realize that my own plan pales in comparison, to the plan Jesus has for all of us, if you just allow Him to work the plan!

I first became aware of an outstanding organization that uses horse therapy as a way of helping people who have health issues or disabilities. There are many other animals that do the same, by becoming "service animals." What a beautiful and incredible relationship this bond creates, between animals and humans. Animals were created not only for enjoyment, but they can also be therapeutic. Now I am getting the opportunity to observe this phenomenon firsthand.

We were informed through our church, the annual service weekend was soon approaching. I was first made aware of an organization back in 2022, called Reins, a Therapeutic Horsemanship Ranch in Fallbrook, California. It was one of the options on our annual service project weekend. The second I learned of Reins a year ago, I looked no further. I signed up and my husband joined the service weekend with me. When I asked him if he wanted to be a part of it, he replied in a Forrest Gump accent, "I wanna be with my Jenny." That was pretty cute, I must say. If this is something you might be interested in, and do not live in the area, just look for programs such as this one, I know there are others out there in every state.

When my husband and I arrived at Reins on a Saturday morning in 2022, we joined the fence painting team. I can't quite explain it, but there is something about a white fence, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I could already tell it was a win-win, I was able to be around my favorite animal, and also help beautify and protect the white fences that lined the pastures and arenas. Of course as I was painting, I took every opportunity to give a pet now and then to my new four-legged friends, have a little chat, and whisper sweet nothings in their ear. What a joy it was to be in that incredible atmosphere. I never forgot my experience and thought about signing up to be a weekly volunteer a year ago. I was so excited, I sought out the GM before leaving, and asked her about the volunteer program. Fast forward one year later, and the signups for the 2023 service project for our church, was coming around again. I can't believe I waited a whole year to get involved with this ranch further, but I am not going to beat myself up over it! I recently mentioned something to our Life Group members to see if anyone was interested in joining me on the church service weekend April 29-30, 2023. One of the newer ladies in the group, jumped on my suggestion, and wanted to know more. In the next few days she reached out to me, and I gave her any info I knew about the ranch. She loves horses too, and has been a past owner. She expressed an interest in knowing more about the program and volunteering. Within a week, both of us were signed up to be a part of the ranch, not for a weekend, but to be a weekly volunteer. God not only orchestrated her and her husband to join our life group, but He brought me a new horse loving friend I adore, to share this experience with. The next week we attended orientation together and added our names to the following weeks schedule, on a day that worked for us both. Here are a few pictures and video's of the ranch.

(A moment of love and affection taking place, after a thorough training session)

(Big T being skillfully trained)

(Taking a quick petting break with BB, as I mucked the arena on my first day of volunteering)

(My Giddy-Up friend Chris and I, and other volunteer's in action)

Looking back a year ago, when I watched some of the lessons going on while painting fences, I thought it would be amazing to be part of helping with the lessons, but I felt so unqualified. I was in awe of the horses, therapists and their assistants. I was so impressed by the incredible students, taking their lessons to gain strength, ability, agility, mobility, and coordination. There is so much to learn from these amazing students themselves. They are pushing through so many challenges and much adversity in their lives. They are such champions and I am in awe of the bravery and joy they exude! And the horses...I could go on and on; they are so special. I can't say enough about the employees and volunteers, they have such heart and are so skilled.

Before the horses are added to this program, they go through a trial period where they are trained and closely observed to see if they make the cut. The one's that make it, have such heart, and are so connected to the instructors and riders. They are champions themselves.

As I write this post, the movie War Horse comes to mind. If you haven't already seen it, I highly recommend it! It goes deep into the life of a horse, and the beauty of taking the time to understand, behind every animal or person is a past, and a unique story that paints a picture of who they are today.

So getting back to Reins, this amazing program brings so much to everyone involved, both mentally, physically, and emotionally. I am in such admiration of all that goes into keeping a Therapeutic Horsemanship Ranch up and running, and to all those who work so hard to make it a success. I am in awe, of what a difference a horse can make!

(Lesson's in progress)

Before joining this program, I had never even Mucked out a stall (which I quickly found out means "raking up horse poop") I have added "mucker" to my list of skills, and have officially cleaned up my first stall and arena. Thanks to Chris we were able to document how natural I looked figuring out the process. As you can see, I am joking! There is definitely an art to it; trust me, it's quite a balancing act, and takes some good hand-eye coordination.

My first day on the schedule, they even began to train me on grooming the horses. This even included cleaning out their hooves as well. I am actually enjoying the challenge of that, and gaining the horse's trust and the art of persuading them, that they need this done. It is amazing how you can read the body language of a horse or any animal. And of course another person, if you just slow down, observe, listen, and be in tune. I was loving every moment of caring for these amazing creatures, God has blessed us with. It is so important we treat animals with respect and care. I am quickly realizing, there is a lot to this horse world, and I have so much to learn. I hope it never stops!

(Love this Photo taken by my treasured friend Chris. No, this is not a camel)

(Chris filling the water buckets)

(Our favorite guy Big T, in more training)

The horses that are chosen for this program are very special and are not just any ole horse. They go through a thorough and strict training process to see if they are a good fit for the students and the program. Here is a new horse that just began at the ranch, just like Chris and I. We love this guy! His name is "Big T" with quite the personality! There is just something about this horse that both Chris and I love. We are both drawn to him. He is a newbie to this program, like we are. We hope he makes the cut, and we are rootin' for him big time!

(Big T being exercised and trained by his skilled trainer)

(From broken to highly trained)

In conclusion, If God hadn't brought Chris into my life to give me what I needed to take the next step, I might still be waiting for the perfect time to add volunteering, at Reins to my life. Sometimes we need someone to help us on our journey, a special person to come along side us to either root us on, speak positive and encouraging words into our lives, or even be a partner in that next new adventure. Or...maybe we need to be that encouraging person to someone else!

Because we took a step forward, put our interests into action, I went from painting fences a year ago, to assisting the therapist in the lesson's, after one week of starting the volunteer program this year. All I had to do is just sign up, show up, and participate. Just taking one step forward in the right direction, has started me on the journey of getting trained and educated in horsemanship. I think it is so easy to listen to the lies of the enemy, that tell us we are not enough, or not qualified to move forward. Fear is another deterrent that can keep us from achievement in our lives. What happens if we listen to what the lies of the enemy, try's to feed us, or the loud voice inside our head that says, "Who do you think, you are?!" If we listen to the negativity, we will remain stagnant. I am here to remind you today, "Don't allow rent space to be taken up in your head, of negativity. Don't believe the lies that are fed to you! Receive the nourishing words from God who say's, "YOU are ENOUGH!"

We can all learn from one another, as I hope you have seen examples of, through this post. As a horse learns from it's trainer, as a student learns from their instructor, and as a friend learns from another friend; let us continue to build one another up.

As I write this, I am reminded of the two most important commandments in the Holy Bible:

37 Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. (Matthew 22:37-39)

Here are a few scriptures that can help you realize, who you are in Christ:

And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you will only be above, and not be underneath, if you listen to the commandments of the Lord your God which I am commanding you today...(Deuteronomy 28:13).

I am God’s workmanship, created in Christ to do good works that He has prepared for me to do. (Ephesians 2:10)

I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37)

I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ Jesus who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)

I am a joint-heir with Christ. (Romans 8:17)

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

(Share My Grow)

I would love to hear about your journey and the steps you are taking to being your best you. How you are breaking through the barrier of uncomfortable, and taking steps forward to growing in your life. Please be encouraged to put a comment in the COMMENT section about the steps you are taking in the Grow My Know Challenge. Big or small, each step needs to be celebrated. I will be right beside you, cheering you on my friends. Let's do this together! Make your dreams a reality, by taking a step toward them. Keep your eyes on prize!

Until we connect again, be blessed!



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Mar 14, 2023

Let us know if Big T makes the cut!

Jen Henry
Jen Henry
May 27, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for your interest in following up! Excited to announce, Big T made the cut and is going to be a part of the horse therapeutic program, YAY 🤩🐴🎉 Please continue to keep him and the program in your thoughts and prayers. With much appreciation, Jen

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