When Ginger Salido started Exodus Farms, she imagined a place where troubled kids could find hope and healing in a safe, accepting farm environment. Sixteen years later, her vision impacts the lives of 90 to 100 children every week.
“We use horses that have been discarded and rehabilitate and retrain them so that they can help the children in our community who have also been cast aside,” Ginger explains. “Always, we strive to give value and purpose to both the horse and the human.”
Jenni Patterson, who now serves as the farm’s “head wrangler,” recalls the first time she visited the farm, two teenage girls in tow. Ginger put them to work with Missy, an anxious mare who’d bounced through a long string of neglectful owners before arriving at Exodus Farms. “Both of those girls had been through several homes themselves, and they immediately connected with Missy’s story,” Jenni explains.
In the ensuing years, hundreds of children have made similar connections with the farm’s herd of rescued horses. They come to learn the basics of horsemanship and riding. Along the way, they rebuild self-esteem, overcome fear, learn responsibility and accountability, and develop respect for themselves and others. The results, says Jenni, are easy to see.
“Kids who were withdrawn and shut down run to our volunteers for hugs; kids who were angry and out of control spend a whole session calmly following instructions and being patient with their horse; kids who were terrified to walk the horse by themselves canter confidently across the arena,” she explains. “Success looks different for each one, but at Exodus Farms, everyone’s success is celebrated.”