Rio Verde welcomed Reigning Grace Ranch to the Box Bar Ranch as an intermediate home while their new 20 acre ranch was being prepared at 172nd and Rio Verde Drive this spring. Reigning Grace was started in 2009 by Christopher and Amanda Moore, and pairs at-risk youth with formerly abused horses to experience the life therapy both share with one another. 75% of the children in the program are in foster care or child protective services programs. Most of the horses have been rescued and rehabilitated from abusive and neglected backgrounds. Reigning Grace Ranch is a registered equine rescue in the state of Arizona.
What do at-risk kids and neglected horses have in common? Both have lost trust in those who had them in their care. How do you get that back? Reigning Grace pairs each child with a mentor and a horse. One of the first things that happens is the horse picks the child, not the other way around. Kids are placed in a circle, and the horse “goes to” the child that will be his for the 7 weeks of sessions. During the process the child along with their family learn the skills of a working horse ranch: Hard work, problem solving, leadership, self-esteem, responsibility, life skills, character development and the calming therapy of a horse.
At Reigning Grace, a child is not lost in a group, it’s just the pairing of the horse and the child. Their parents or guardians also have an opportunity to learn the lessons of the ranch that can be carried on in the home. Families grow together. As demonstrated by the horse, we learn the value of “the herd”, and how strong families watch out for each other, protect and nurture each other.
No one gets a paycheck at the Reigning Grace Ranch. A strong volunteer network makes the ranch possible. At the Box Bar Ranch cookouts this spring, local Verdes volunteers served cookout style meals to help raise funds and awareness for the Reigning Grace Ranch. The horses had made the Box Bar Ranch their temporary home, and the Verdes volunteers and the Ranch cookouts were an easy pairing. Golf groups such as the Tonto Verde Lady Putters stepped up to contribute to the RGR.
Where does Reigning Grace go from here? Funding to bring on key full time staff, offer programs for families of active service members, and provide on-site transitional living on the ranch are long term goals of the Reigning Grace Ranch.