My Journey to the Ranch, like most people’s, starts with a horse. A mustang to be precise. This mustang was born in Wyoming where the winters are harsh and food is often scarce- where there may be danger lurking at every turn. Three years into his life, this would all drastically change. At three years old he was rounded up and taken from his home. The next step of his journey took him to a small town in Arkansas where our paths would soon cross. My life started off not much different than his. I grew up in a home without much nurturing and a father who was sexually abusive. The state took me from my home at the age of eight and I was adopted not too long after that.
My mustang, Bosifus (Bo), was born in 2002, the same year I was adopted. Four years later, I finally convinced my daddy that my horse-obsession was more than an average little girl’s fascination. I happened to be looking in the classifieds and saw two horses for sale for $250 each. It was the best $500 I ever spent (and by “I ever spent,” I mean made my dad pay). Bo’s life with humans up until then was like a lot of horses’ experiences. People, mostly men, tried to “break” him. They tried to control him by any means necessary, often through violence. When we brought the trailer to pick them up, he didn’t want to get on so the people who sold him beat him on with two-by-fours. We got the horses home and let them settle in. Then I set out to get to know my horse. I had picked Bo to be mine because he didn’t trust people, you see, and neither did I. It was through my relationship with my horse that I learned how to connect again. It was through him that I learned how to trust again, how to have boundaries of my own and respect his in return. He held me when I cried and brought laughter when we played. He was my confidante who understood me when no one else did. He was there when I was depressed, when I was at my lowest.
He saved my life. It is because of him that I am here today, in more ways than one. I always knew that I wanted to help horses and people. I thought I would do that by being a veterinarian. I went to college and soon found out that it was not going to fulfill the dream that I had. I then began to look around at other ways to get involved on a deeper level. I stumbled upon PATH Intl. and found a center to get involved. I knew I wanted to continue my involvement when I moved to Texas, so once I got here I immediately searched PATH centers and found Healing with Horses Ranch. It was through volunteering here that I began to understand and practice Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP). It seemed the perfect fit for me, because it mirrors the experience I have with my own horse. Now, I get to wake up and come to work and pass along the healing that horses bring to many other people.
Mid-November 2015, my family and I moved to Austin, TX from Baltimore, MD. Myself, my husband and our 2-year-old son, Rory. My daughter was still baking but she made her arrival as an official Texan just three weeks later. Soon after McKenna was born, “Small-amore” (a nickname for Baltimore because no matter how big it gets, everyone knows everyone like a small town) showed up on our street. As it turned out, a fellow alum from my husband’s high school back in Maryland ended up living on the very same...