January 2020 – Moving Forward

Dear friends, supporters and encouragers,

Trails sometimes turn to hardscrabble, and can be difficult to see amidst the rock and tangled roots. We are on it, however, and moving forward with faith and trust. As always, we are ceaseless in our gratitude for your support. Bear with me as I’m about to get personal…

January is a time of growth for me, and growth is not always easy. January is the month of my birth. When I came into this world, my Dad was slogging through a jungle on the other side of the planet. He got the news of my safe arrival from the Red Cross. How many new Daddies, on unending battlefields everywhere, will get similar word from home today?

Many Januarys later, January 2018, I let go of my rented home and moved into a world of house-sitting, house-sharing and camping off-grid. I made an intentional decision to focus my resources on launching this work of healing trauma in my community. I want to help people like my Dad, and like my former students, and those from the decades in between, and the little ones growing up today, and…

January 2019 I founded HORSES on the Ranch.

This year, this week, mid-January 2020, we were scheduled to begin serving clients, young and not-so-young. The agreement we had with a facility fell through a few weeks ago, however, and we find ourselves suddenly without a home from which to serve.

Growth is not always easy.

Vaclav Havel once said “Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.”

Hope, even if deep and powerful, can feel a little ragged… but each time I grow weary, angels drop in with a clear message: “keep going”… So we add another brick to the foundation of faith and trust, and we continue to build.

Great things have happened between the last January and this one. HORSES on the Ranch received its non-profit status, we held a fantastic inaugural event- the McKay Creek Cowboy Gathering, launched a successful fundraising campaign, served our first clients and were funded to attend our first big training as a team. In 2019 Robyn, Alia and I all earned our individual certification through Eagala, I earned my military designation and have moved toward advanced certification. We received support from Crook County Rotary, Ford Family Foundation, and Crook County Foundation’s Cultural Trust.

In late fall 2019 Eagala, our professional governing organization (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) received an Adaptive Sports grant from the Veterans Administration of over $637,000 to support this work. At the time of the grant, there existed only 19 military designated programs in the nation. The need is too big to measure, the healing power of the work is increasingly recognized, and the financial support is there – we simply need to get to work!

We thought that work would begin this week. Instead, we have been directed to move towards a more perfect location, a permanent home where we can let our roots grow deep and build our foundation solid and strong. Our vision is a home for healing and growth, where the community, old and young, warrior and student, parent, teacher, leader and friend, can rely solidly on our presence in times of need.

It’s out there. We’ll find it.

My faith is strong, I trust this process and the greater plan, and my state of mind is that of hope – in the deep and powerful sense Havel spoke of – and I will continue to do this work, because it is good. There is power in community when we work together in the name of Love, and our community is worthy of the effort.

Would you help by sharing our story?

Forever grateful –

Darcy and the team at HORSES on the Ranch


Facebook @HORSESontheRanch

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