John Longhill insists there’s something magical about horses and their ability to help humans. The founder of Blue River Horse Center (BRHC) should know. He’s spent the last three decades connecting horses and people, witnessing the resulting transformations.
Located on a 300-acre ranch along Colorado’s scenic Lower Blue River, BRHC serves as a rescue for abused and abandoned horses, while also empowering children and adults through leadership and self-awareness programs.
To live out the first part of its mission, the non-profit partners with other horse rescue agencies, fostering their hard-to-adopt horses. At BRCH, the horses receive the love and training they need to become “adoptable,” developing improved ground manners, rideability and reliability.
For the second, BRCH relies on those same rehabilitated horses to teach critical life skills. Thousands of children have participated in the center’s programs, each with a story to tell. But John’s favorite anecdote centers on a young boy named Danny. He’d bounced around foster homes, been in detention homes for criminal behavior, and seemed to be on a bad track. Danny arrived at BRCH for a week-long camp with a lot of anger, but after a rough start, he ended up having a great week.
“We sent him off hoping that we had given him some tools to redirect his life in a more positive way,” John says. Ten years later, out of the blue, Danny reconnected with BRCH via email, attributing his time at the ranch with turning his life around.
“Successful behavior in life is dependent on our thoughts, attitudes and action,” John emphasizes. “Horses help us to see our unconscious behavior. They have an uncanny ability to raise our awareness about ourselves, helping children like Danny to take charge of their thoughts and chart a whole new course with their life.”