From The Horse’s Mouth
I’ve asked Sunshine to tell you her story herself!
I hardly ever get to write a letter. I guess it’s because I’m a horse.
But I’m glad to be writing you today, because I understand you care about horses.
And I’m writing about a very good cause.
I was a star … as a competitive “reining and cutting” horse. I was the kind of rodeo-sport horse that spins around in circles to control cattle. I was pretty good, if I do say so myself.
But age takes its toll, you know. I’m 23 now. (Let’s not call me old … Let’s say I’m “seasoned”!) The day came when I had to retire from the reining and cutting circuit. No more competitions for this “grand old lady.”
That’s when I came here, to Reigning Grace Ranch. It’s not just an “old folks’ home” for horses. It’s a working ranch. And our best work, our most important work, is with kids. I mean human kids … kids who’ve been through trials and tribulations, trauma and pain, stuff that a kid should never have to go through … kids who need a horse-friend, to help them heal.
Which is how I met Lily.
As a tiny child, she was abused by her father, and cruelly abandoned by her mother. Her grandparents took her in — but those were hard days. Lily, as you can imagine, was full of both fear and anger. It seems impossible, but she sometimes got so violent, she was actually expelled from kindergarten. Grandma and Grandpa had to home-school her.
They got Lily into conventional therapy, but it was treacherous — emotionally, it was like “picking a scab,” her grandma says. The day after therapy was torture at home, as the little girl struggled to process her enormous burdens of terror and rage.
Eventually they learned about the Ranch, and brought Lily out here. At first, “I hid behind my mentor every time a horse looked at me,” Lily remembers. “I was petrified of them.”
But then one day, Lily saw me. Sunshine. And it was the start of a whole new life. I knew the moment I saw her, this was the human for me.
And as Lily says, about that day we first met: “Instantly, I knew she was my horse!”
Lily is whip-smart. She speaks more like an adult than the 10-year-old she is. And she loves me. She rides me on Saturdays, walks me on Wednesdays, feeds me and grooms me and gives me my supplements. (Yes, supplements — I told you I’m elderly!) Sometimes, Lily even sings to me — mostly hymns. I love that.
We’re the perfect team: Sunshine and Lily … Lily and Sunshine.
“Sunshine understands me,” Lily says.
She’s right. I’ve seen Lily change, over these months — dramatically. She’s calm. She’s confident. She’s strong, but gentle.
Her grandparents say Lily has made more emotional progress in a few months with me than she ever made in years of therapy! Lily is cooperative at home now. She’s steady. Her fear and anger have subsided.
Lily calls the Ranch her “happy place.” It’s my happy place, too!
Today, I hope you’ll help keep this happy place going. It takes a budget, of course, to operate a ranch — I’ve heard humans talking about budgets for years. But I think some budgets must be more important than others, depending on the good they do. I’ve seen close-up the good this ranch does, and I hope you’ll be a part of it, by giving a generous gift today.
It cost about $28 an hour to run this Ranch — that’s feed, tack, medicine and supplements, veterinary care, and equipment. It adds up! A few hours a week is all it took to change Lily’s life…
Of course if you have any questions about the Ranch, Amanda will be happy to hear from you. She and her husband Christopher founded this place. They work hard, rescuing lots of my fellow horses, and helping lots of kids like Lily. I’d say this Ranch deserves your support.
Me? If you need me, I’ll be in the paddock. See you there.
Believing in second chances,
P.S. With my competition days behind me, I never expected to find myself facing an even more rewarding challenge in retirement — a little girl named Lily! What a great ride! What a great second chance! Please help another horse like me, and another kid like Lily, by giving generous to the Ranch today. Thank you so much!