Since 2010, Hope Reins has helped over 2,000 children in life crisis, offering them hope and healing amid its scenic 33-acre ranch and small herd of rescued horses.
According to Christy Burkey, director of marketing and communications for the non-profit, equine-therapy can be especially beneficial for those who have undergone significant trauma. “Many times, kids can’t verbalize their feelings, but they just need to be around a caring human and a loving animal to create a bond of trust,” she explains. “It’s only then, when they feel safe, that they can begin to heal and face the pain.”
Perhaps it helps that all of the non-profit’s horses have a story of rescue, including some who suffered significant abuse and neglect. Christy says that shared connection can serve as a bridge to hope for the kids and their families.
Part of what makes Hope Reins so special is the extraordinary connection between organization’s trainers and its horses. The special friendship forged between Anne Sanders and Cadence, a 37-year-old Morgan horse, exemplifies the kindness, patience, and compassion that permeates the entire ranch.
Cadence arrived severely underweight and suffering from a debilitating hoof condition called laminitis. Even when she couldn’t move or lower her head, volunteers would cradle her feed bucket in their arms, so she could eat. Anne made Cadence her project, sitting with her for hours at a time – grooming, petting and just loving her.
“I was drawn to Cadie because she needed me,” Annie explains. “She changed my life forever and I will always be grateful to her.” Unlike most horses with chronic laminitis, because of the care she received at Hope Reins, Cadence passed away not because of her illness, but simply because of old age.