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Equine Therapy

As part of the Grace upon Grace program, the youth will be provided the opportunity to develop relationships with a herd of rescued horses living on the Grace upon Grace property. This experience will help strengthen our youth’s self-confidence as they learn to help care for and feed these horses and learn basic horsemanship.  For years, Charis Ranch has been utilizing this unique and powerful therapy effectively with youth who have experienced all sort of struggles and trauma.


Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) was founded by Greg Kersten, Founder of EAGALA and The OK Corral Series.  EAL offers experiential communication, team building, and personal growth experiences to individuals, groups, families, and corporations.  Equine nonverbal communication, herd behavior, and equine development demonstrate successful interaction as an example of human relations.  Equine Assisted Learning is a valuable component of corporate retreats, church group activities, and family growth seminars.  EAL is not psychotherapy and does not require facilitation by a licensed mental health professional.

Charis Youth Ranch, home of New Life Thoroughbreds, was founded in 2009 and is a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is broken horses healing broken children.  They have been offering Equine Assisted Learning programs to children and teens since 2010. Charis Youth Ranch provides summer youth programs using their rescued horses.  Kids ages 5-11 participate in a 4-week program which offers equine interaction, crafts, and games geared toward teaching basic horsemanship and a love for the equine.

At-risk teens ages 12-18 can participate in a 10-week program twice a week during the summer. In this program, teens are taught how to care for horses and the facility as well as beginning horsemanship from catching and haltering a horse to riding walk/ trot/canter.  They are introduced to herd dynamics and how horses communicate.  Each horsemanship lesson has a personal growth/development component associated with the horsemanship skill being taught.

A unique component of CYRs youth programs is its rescued horses.  Each horse has a history and a story as to how they came to the ranch.  Some have suffered from abuse or have behavioral or physical issues they have overcome in order to be able to participate in the programs.  We share these stories of redemption with the kids and find that some of the kids will identify with one horse in particular because of their story.  This creates a powerful connection in which to build a relationship between horse and child.

One teen in our summer youth program, an ex-gang member and meth addict, spent the summer coming to the ranch twice a week and fell in love with a rescue horse named Romeo.  Romeo was a retired rope horse who had survived a rattlesnake bite and was living alone when his dad asked us to take him in so he could be with other horses and serve the kids.  After learning to ride and spending 10 weeks with Romeo, on the last day, we took the young man down to Romeo alone to say goodbye.  We clipped a lock of Romeo’s mane and gave it to the young man.  As he rested his forehead on Romeo’s neck, his eyes filled with tears and he said, “Romeo is better than meth.”  Never underestimate the value and power of a rescue horse in a troubled youth’s life!

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