Our Horses

Part of our mission at the ranch is to help abused and mistreated horses by rescuing and adopting them into our program. Like our participants, our precious equine counselors come from all walks of life.

WHY HORSES? Because we believe each of God’s creations serves a unique purpose: to glorify the Creator. For horses, this means being able to provide therapy to those impacted by trauma. Through an experiential form of counseling, Shepherd Youth Ranch is able to help youth and their families heal mentally, emotionally, behaviorally and spiritually.

ABRAHAM: registered Rhinelander, gelding

AbrahamAbraham (“father”) formerly known as Rangoon is a phenomenal horse with a history marked with excellence and championships. At the age of three, he earned the prestigious title of Germany’s stallion of the year! He has been ridden by Olympic Gold medalists in jumping and has the dressage skills to perform at Prix St. George level. During a jumping show at the age of 14, Abraham came up lame which resulted in over a year’s worth of rehabilitation. Eventually, Abe’s owner made the decision to allow him ample time off for a full recovery sacrificing her professional dreams. As a result Abe was donated to the ranch and allowed to be “a horse” for a while. In all of the time he has been at the ranch, he has never been lame. Although he does not jump the impressive 5 foot courses he once did, he still shows off his regality in natural dressage events, and daily as he floats across the pasture. A gaze into this magnificent creature’s wise and soulful eyes and one would only begin to see the untold stories of his remarkable life.

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CHAMP: registered Quarter Horse Colt

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ELI: registered Appaloosa and Quarter Horse, gelding

EliEli was part of a 2 in 1 package. He was generously donated along with his mother Hope. The name Eli means “elevated.” As the son of Hope we have witnessed this horse raise the level of hope in youth to extremes! Never before have we witnessed a horse serve in such amazing ways as this horse has in our equine therapy sessions. He is a blessing full of spunk, spirit, life and elevated hope!

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FAME: registered Arabian, gelding

FameFame has earned his title as the famous founding horse of the ranch. He is Ashley’s first horse and has been offering unbridled love to youth for the past eight years. Fame’s seniority and experience give him great credibility among the youth who visit the ranch for the first time. He has attended over 500 hours of natural horsemanship and Parelli clinics, including visiting the Parelli center in Florida. Fame and Ashley’s harmonious partnership has earned them official Parelli Level 4 in 2015. Today, Fame’s generous nature can be seen as he willingly carries on his back, each new participant that visits the ranch.

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FERRO: registered Hanoverian, gelding

ferroFerro is a wonderful horse who was gifted to Ashley and the Ranch. Ferro initially came to the ranch for 8 weeks of training to work on his confidence after a bad experience with another trainer. Apparently, before the former owner knew him, he had been sent to a trainer and returned with an unexplained dent in the right side of his head. It was suspected that he was hit with a 2X4 during a training session that went array. Ferro came to live permanently at the ranch when his gracious owner realized his story and spirit would serve others in need.

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HOPE: registered Appaloosa, mare

HopeHope was generously donated to the ranch along with her son, Eli. She earned the title as our first mare. She has lived up to her name as she at only 14 hands tall provided giant hope for all who meet her. Her greatest quality is quiet strength. Once she jumped a five foot fence from a standstill, demonstrating that little does not mean weak.

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JACOB: registered Arabian, gelding

Jacob means “blessing” and what a blessing this little Arabian gelding has been to everyone he meets. Once bound for the rodeo and misunderstood, Jacob came to Shepherd Youth Ranch and found hope and healing in the arms of children.

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JACK: registered Quarter Horse, gelding

JackJack was a bit of an escape artist before he came to the ranch. One too many runaways landed him in a stall permanently. Stable life “stalled” his natural ability to graze and without adequate grain and hay resources, Jack quickly physically and mentally digressed. Jack was purchased and brought to the ranch where he put on 200 pounds. His pasture buddies and some clear boundaries have erased former patterns of escape. He has found his place and mission in life serving people in need and encouraging them to stick around and see the Lord’s blessings for them!

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JOY: thoroughbred cross, mare

joyJoy came to Shepherd Youth Ranch in 2014 as a foster horse from the USERL. She had been rescued a couple years earlier from extreme neglect and was on the brink of death. She had lost so much weight you could see all of her ribs and hip bones. At one point, she was living in a pasture where she had to walk over her dead pasture mates who could not survive the horrific conditions of neglect. Joy is now happy and healthy, enjoying her new life! She loves children and has become a great horse for therapy and riding. Joy is a favorite among the children we serve and is truly a symbol of happiness for many. The Lord continuously uses this beautiful horse, who suffered so much, to bring light and hope into the lives of suffering children and families.

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MALACHI: Arabian Saddlebred, gelding

MalachiMalachi has a truly phenomenal story. A life once filled with rejection, neglect and abuse is now “painted” with hope. Malachi has a unique talent….painting! He doubles a ranch equine counselor and Pony Picasso!

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NEVADA: registered BLM mustang, gelding

NevadaNevada is a BLM mustang that lived in the state of Nevada wilderness until she was seven. Each year, the Bureau of Land Management rounds up several wild mustangs to decrease the population for neighboring cattle farmers and sells them at auctions across the country. Unfortunately for these horses, the way they are acquired can be life threatening as they are forced into herds at maximum speeds, then into pens and later trailers where they often trample each other and die from exhaustion and injuries.

Nevada, however, is a survivor and living proof that courage and perseverance can only lead to a hope for a future.

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TEX: Pony Cross, gelding

TexTex came to the ranch as a foster horse from the United States Equine Rescue League. He was rescued from extreme neglect. Suffering in a muddy paddock without food or clean water, he had lost 200 pounds. Upon arriving at Shepherd Youth Ranch, he was skeptical of new people and things. It took almost a month to earn his trust and catch him for the first time. Tex is still in training but he is proving to be an extremely smart and curious partner. Although he is still timid around strangers, he has begun to approach people and allow them the opportunity to get to know him.

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SAKE: registered Holsteiner gelding

Sake is Ashley’s personal horse with a miraculous story. Ashley first saw Sake during the Parelli Tour in 2004 when the horse she was riding at the time was selected to be the demonstration horse for Pat Parell. The second day of the event, Sake and his then owner were given a private lesson by Linda Parelli. When Ashley saw this gentle giant standing 18 hands, she declared that one day she would have a horse like that. At the time Ashley did not own a horse and Shepherd Youth Ranch was but a mere dream.

A few years later after Shepherd Youth Ranch was birthed, Ashley often would receive emails about horses needing new homes. One particular email attracted her attention and she discovered the horse in need was Sake! Sadly, the only partner Sake had ever known had tragically passed away. Ashley quickly inquired about the horse and set out to see if they would make a good match.

Ashley met with the owner’s husband and spent the day with Sake one spring afternoon. Initially, Sake approached Ashley with some hesitation and actually ran away from her twice; a displaced behavior he had perfected to avoid life’s requirements. During this first encounter, it was evident that Sake was depressed and deeply affected by the loss of the only partner he had ever known. It was going to take some time for him to learn to trust another partner. Astonishingly, by the end of that first day, Sake was trusting his new friend and following her at liberty around his 30 acre pasture! Later that month, Ashley brought Sake to his new home, where he quickly settled in with the herd and became a favorite among the children.

What was once a lonely horse who needed a girl and a girl who dreamed of this very horse was now a match……only contrived in heaven itself!

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OUR MINIS – COCOA, LITTLE PUFF and MACARONI

Mini-CollageMiniature horses are such a blessing for a program like ours; they represent the horse species on a smaller, sometimes less threatening scale. Over the past three years we searched for just the right miniature horses to no avail. One winter day in 2014 after our program was featured on ABC with Caitlin Knute, we received a call from a special gentleman who breed minis and wanted to donate as many as we wanted to our program! What a glorious orchestrated plan from the Creator, Himself! Our founder, Ashley and our barn manger, Ashleigh toured the mini ranch, hugging and kissing over 23 miniature horses. They decided to choose three minis each and then compare notes only after they had made a final decision. The result; they both picked the SAME three horses! Macaroni, Little Puff and Cocoa are truly little angels in horsehair sent from heaven bringing hope and joy to everyone they meet.

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NEWEST ADDITION!

A foal is coming this Spring!