We will use primarily off the track thoroughbreds (OTTBs) at Restore Ranch. She's Simply Sweet is our only OTTB currently, but we plan on adding more to our herd after we have a farm of our own.
Why horses? Jesus heals a lot of different ways in the Bible, and though not specifically through equine therapy, we believe He uses horses (and animals in general) to heal. A lot of survivors are fearful and untrusting of humans after the trauma they’ve been through, and horses can help bridge the gap. Horses offer a pure soul, and they are peaceful, social animals. They see survivors for who they are, not what was done to their bodies. Horses are emotionally sensitive and are a good mirror for survivors to help them identify feelings and help them gain confidence. We believe horses can help survivors experience the love and healing and restoration Jesus offers in a tangible way and He can draw them to Himself through horses. Retraining racehorses can be a parallel for survivors, who have to learn how to how to heal, or possibly learn how to live, depending on their trauma and the duration of it, just as retired racehorses learn new skills as they transition into pleasure and/or competition horses.
Cherokee is a 13 year old gaited cross gelding. He's a goofy gelding who loves attention and doing his tricks. Cherokee was our founder's first horse, and though he isn't a thoroughbred, he has the competitive spirit and energy of a thoroughbred. Cherokee has had some trials physically, and is an overcomer. He is currently rehabbing from three soft tissue injuries in his front legs that he sustained last summer. He has just started back to working with clients this spring, but he is still limited to what he can do until we know he is going to make a full recovery. Prior to his injury, Cherokee enjoyed jumping, dressage, mounted archery, learning new tricks, and doing obstacles when he wasn't helping clients.
Olive, or She's Simply Sweet (her Jockey Club name) is a 17 year old thoroughbred mare. She is a retired racehorse and retired broodmare. She is the first of our thoroughbreds. She has been off the track since 2010. Olive has the most powerful story of all our horses. When our founder first met her, this mare was an anxious mess who hated people. She was extremely aggressive. It took a year, but by spring of 2015, she was a totally different horse! Olive is still picky about her people, and she can still be body-protective, but she has healed mentally and has learned to trust, and she is thriving! Olive is very sensible and sensitive, and gravitates towards clients who need her. She picked our founder as her person before Kristen knew how much she needed Olive. She's a sweet mare who loves her people, socializing with her herd, jumping, and trail riding with a buddy when she's not helping clients. She is the most job-focused horse we have currently.
Elly is a senior Rocky Mountain mare. She's a quiet mare who loves attention, being groomed, and anyone who feeds her. Elly also loves puzzles. While she might come across as lazy, it's likely that she's just bored or finds an exercise too simple. She's very curious. While she is mostly retired from riding, she does enjoy the occasional trail ride to get out and see new things.
Nicholas is a 15 year old Quarter Horse, but is also a part of the Thoroughbred industry because he's a retired Keeneland outriding horse. He, like Olive, is also very job-focused. He enjoys things that make him think. He is shy, but once he picks his person, he warms up quickly. When he's not helping clients, he enjoys trail riding with a buddy, obstacles, and schooling through things that make him think. He has a very active brain and enjoys having a challenge to focus on. He does get overwhelmed easily in large groups and reverts back to his days on the track, feeling like he has to make sure every horse going faster than him is safe and doesn't need his help. Though he's a stoic gelding on the outside, on the inside, he has a huge heart.
Leo, the senior Beagle/Corgi cross.
Elsa, the Australian Shepherd.