About Our Herd
Just as humans experience events and circumstances that have shaped their lives into who they are today, each individual animal has a past that brought them to the Ranch.
Some are retired from previous careers like Western Pleasure, endurance riding, reining and cutting, roping, and professional racing. Others are owner-surrenders who simply ran into a circumstance in their lives where they could no longer give their horse a quality of life that it deserved. Some are Bureau of Land Management (BLM) wild Mustangs. Some have come from extreme neglect and abusive situations where we have partnered with Maricopa County Sheriff’s department to ensure that the animal has a place of refuge. Lastly, Reigning Grace Ranch is home to several horses that were rescued from Kill Pens (a holding pen where unwanted, discarded and abandoned horsed await slaughter) throughout the Southwest.
Beginning the journey
Generally, when a horse joins the Reigning Grace Ranch family, we allow them one week to settle in. A horse is placed in a quarantine stall, separate from the herd, to be observed and monitored for any illness, behavioral or lameness issues that may be occurring. Because Reigning Grace Ranch’s herd is so large, it is extremely important to keep our herd healthy and safe from unanticipated risks that introducing new animals may bring. Once deemed healthy, medical, physical and emotional rehabilitation begins. The new horse now begins its journey of learning the social hierarchy of the large herd.
Finding acceptance, safety and security in the herd
We are always fascinated by which micro-herd, within the larger herd, a new rescued horse will be accepted into. Often times, this will tell us a lot about the new horse just by the herd that chose to befriend them. It will also tell us where they fall in the hierarchy of the herd and micro-herds. Horses that fit into the middle of the “food chain” tend to be much more agreeable and easy going to work with. And with every herd, there are the “alphas,” (first to eat, more dominant) and there are the “omegas,” (last to eat, bottom of the food chain). As the herd as a whole adjusts to the new family member at the Ranch, the’ll quickly settle into the daily routine, knowing that they are in a safe refuge that they now call home — where survival is not the main concern anymore — and they can begin to heal.
Every horse has a special purpose
Not every horse will stay permanently. We have 3 types of horses at the ranch — Therapy Horses, Sanctuary Horses, and Adoptable Horses.
Therapy horses have been proven to work well with many different handlers, they love lots of people and don’t mind the constant stimulation.
Our therapy horses work about 4 hours a week. These horses are used in the capacity of riding and groundwork exercises. (basic training routines done with a horse on the ground or in a pen).
Our sanctuary horses are our senior horses, typically 25 years old plus. They have been given to the ranch and they are now “retired.” We don’t typically adopt them out because many of them have ongoing medical or physical demands that need continual professional oversight and care. These sanctuary horses are able to be used for groundwork only — no riding
Lastly, horses that we adopt out are simply horses that don’t do well in our busy environment. They tend to be horses that desire to bond with one human only.
Our job at RGR is to ensure that each horse is utilized in such a way that provides the horse with the optimum environment where they can most successfully flourish. Here are some of the horses that have made Reigning Grace Ranch their home: