This time of year, I wear a jacket in the morning when feeding and shirtsleeves in the afternoon when the thick fog burns off, revealing the azure blue skies, (sometimes covered up by rainclouds 🙂 ) Our fuzzy horse counselors gorge themselves on the beautiful green grass that flourishes with rain and sun in abundance. For now, we are glad to shake off the dust of summer dryness and bask in the richness of fall.
Most of you opened this report hoping to get the update on two things: the permit for the covered arena and the results of the annual dinner. So, here it is:
YES! We did get the permit! Now that it is the rainy season, we will have to wait to begin the groundbreaking, but I know, for sure, that we will be in the rain for only one more winter 🙂 . This is HUGE news! Prayers answered.
AND, our dinner caught us by surprise. We made a gigantic goal for fundraising this year- we wanted to get enough funding to pay Natalie, our part-time therapist, full time when she returns from maternity leave (she is due November 9), so our goal was $40,000. Keep in mind our average amount realized was $11,000 or so. We received over $50,000! The numbers aren’t completely in, as some promised monies are still coming in and all of the expenses are not all in, either. However, I feel confident that we have far exceeded our goal! Our speaker, Kim Meeder, was fantastic, and the emcee, Ed McDowell, was off the charts; all contributing to the record-breaking response from generous donors who caught the vision of Raven Rock Ranch. Those of you who were there will attest to the power of that night.
Some of our children have been in the sex-trafficking industry; many have been physically abused; others have been mercilessly bullied in school. Still others have believed their life was not worth living. But it is not a case of the “worst” story gets our attention. Sometimes, things we might consider “common” in today’s world, are devastating to children. I worked with one such young lady just this week. Her father left the family and moved in with a girlfriend. Unfortunately, this story is all too common in today’s world. We might even think, “big deal, get over it.” All too often parents think only of themselves. I see self-absorbed people every day. But the collateral damage is palpable in the case of this young lady.
I felt as though I could reach out and touch the stones of that wall she had built up. The fortress kept unsafe people out, but it kept one fearful little girl imprisoned inside- alone and isolated in her feelings of not being lovable and not trusting anyone ever, ever again.
Our horses are unique because they feel those messages of betrayal and distrust. They often feel the same things in themselves. In our session together, the young lady wanted Rachel to follow her. But Rachel needed to feel safe. They met in a silent place- somewhere beneath the words that fall meaningless to the ground as we say what sounds good, but does not ring true to our kids. “You are worthy” and “you are loved” are hollow lyrics to a song that is soon forgotten. But when a distrustful horse becomes vulnerable to a distrustful child, taking the first step of faith, that child knows she is worthy and trusted.
The relief of taking out that first “stone” from the wall she has constructed can be the beginning of an avalanche.
Rachel took 3 steps toward the girl, and then waited to see if she had made a mistake. But the girl walked to the kind mare, holding her breath. In a moment, their spirits had melded into one- knowing the other’s fear, holding each other in a moment of mutual vulnerability that gave them both safety and comfort.
This is the work that all of our horses do for all of the children who come to the ranch. A milestone was reached today and only three of us felt its power. But now you know, too. Every one of our horses does this work for their kids daily. It is why I care for them with all of my heart.
One of the therapies we give to our beloved horses is acupuncture. I have found that this treatment is not just good for their bodies, which it surely is, but it is good for their minds, too. They can get relief from any aches or pains that growing older day by day can bring, but they also thoroughly enjoy the process, too. Here, the line forms for those who are waiting for their turn 🙂 .
As every month, we have so very much to be so grateful for- and ALL of it begins with YOU! Your interest and support of this organization that works each day to serve the disenfranchised kids of our community- the kids who will either become those who serve others or take from others, depends on you. This outcome depends on you more than you know because we need your support in time, energy and finances to keep Raven Rock growing. You all have been so wonderful- I want you to know that I sincerely offer you my gratitude. You are amazing!