As the snow silently, softly dressed our horses with a dazzling blanket of big, white flakes, I gazed into the darkness outside of the barn. I recalled a story of long, long ago on a dark night that was split with glorious light and angelic rhapsodies of praise in a land that was not hospitable to an infant born in a manger. I took a deep breath of the cold air, fragrant with sweet hay that Ruthie, Rufus and all were peacefully, rhythmically chewing. Was it like this at all so long ago? There was a profound comfort in the snowflakes, delicious hay and content chewing. I became lost in that moment, imagining how all of the beings- men and animals alike, knew, really knew that the babe they were near was a King. And though I am not in His presence, He is always with me. A knowing smile warmed my cold cheeks as I walked back to the house after my nighttime barn check.
All of the horses truly love the snow- each one that had outside access was standing in the snow when I went out. It was interesting, as they all looked like they were pondering a puzzle?
Raven Rock is lucky to have a great horseman in the person of Caroline Rus. She is the young sister of Maddie, our Assistant Barn Manager. As it turns out, one of our minis feels somewhat anxious, sometimes afraid of small children. Rufus is wonderful with teens and adults, but the younger crowd sees him running the other way as fast as he can go! That is why we asked Caroline to help us get him acquainted with a young person who made him feel safe and confident. She has come just a few times, but her natural calmness and “horse sense” has made him feel so relaxed and happy. A great BIG THANKS to Caroline and her Mom, Leslie for coming on Saturdays for the outing. Caroline began by reading to them.
Our arena is such a blessing to all of us- kids, facilitators and horses. My New Year wish is that the parent observation room funding would come through. We need lights, heat, insulation and sheet rock to make it a usable space for our beloved parents. I know it will be in perfect timing, so I am patient, but when I see parent who want to engage in their child’s experience but can’t, I become anxious, if only just a bit. When done, the space will be so wonderful!
The place with the white door trim on the right is waiting for the improvements that will make it ready to go! We are selling bricks once again to build up the funds to get this finally done. Check our website to buy a brick to help us out.
We have many children that come who have no friends. When our parents reveal this, they are often ashamed, as though there is something wrong with their child. But so many of our kids have that exact problem. Then, these parents scramble around, desperately trying to do a “blind date” kind of push to find groups of kids who share the same interests as their own child. Or send them to camps or enroll them in any and all kinds of classes and activities. Or, these parents change their child’s school to find a school with kinder classmates for them. All of this is in hopes that their child will happen upon another child that is willing to be a friend.
Oh! I wish it were that simple. But it is not. Unless and until that child learns how to be in a relationship, they will never have a friend or girlfriend or boyfriend. I can explain it over and over again, but the very best way these kids can learn how to be a friend is to befriend a horse first. Many times we can achieve this without the parents being “onboard” (following recommendations) but in extreme cases, it takes full participation of the whole family.
There was a young lady who had no friends, was severely bullied and was afraid to speak or to look me in the eye. But she came each week and fell in love with Rusty. He taught her how to be a strong, independent person who developed aspirations of great things and plenty of genuine friendships. Her parents were onboard and supportive and it was a huge success story. So many think, “But my child has (is, does, thinks) ___ and it won’t work.” That simply is NOT true. Each one of our kids is unique, but their problems are not. My wish is for every child to overcome the trauma that has imprisoned them inside themselves, while they hold onto so slim a slice of hope that it disappears sometimes. We can help, we want to help. But the solution to suicidal, cutting, dropping out of school, or drug abuse might be “outside the box.”
Rusty still loves this sweet girl, though he has not seen her in years. It is remarkable that when our kids are with their horse, troubles melt away like the dime-sized snowflakes on Ruby’s roan coat.Friendships do blossom… when kids learn how to nurture them. This season, we are especially grateful to Liberty Road Foundation, who has gifted us an end-of-year donation. They have been faithful in their giving to our organization and we pray that the blessing will multiply to each one on their Board.
Also, Lars Knudsen and Lise Shdo announced at their Christmas party that they would match anyone in attendance at the party up to $500 if they donated to one of 4 charities. Raven Rock Ranch was one of them! We were shocked and humbled by this magnanimous gift. Of course Tim and I both donated $500 from our personal accounts, which we do so often. This surely is a time of blessings.
We wish all of our RRR family (that’s YOU, too!) a wonderful Christmas and prosperous New Year. My heart is full from all of the miracles that I have witnessed this year due to gifts of time, finances and prayer from you. I am so very grateful to each and every one of you!
Lots of love and blessings,