2019 Bronze Telly Award winner for Nonprofit/Social story
Abundant Life Ranch was created in 2010 when Doug and Betsy Cockrell felt compelled to share their faith, joy, horses, property and passion for the ranching lifestyle with children in their community. Abundant Life Ranch uses horse therapy (equine therapy) to help people overcome personal obstacles. In these past eight years, the Ranch’s programs have extended far beyond their original beginnings and the number of lives impacted by the ministry has grown exponentially. Today the Ranch hosts children from all backgrounds and beliefs through day events, multi-day camps, and weekly 90-minute sessions.
Abundant Life Ranch
21415 E. Weldon
Sanger, CA 93657
Phone # (559) 787-2752
I say if I could bottle up the smiles that we get, it would be worth a million dollars. It would be worth a billion dollars. It's life changing. People ask, "How did you start? "Where did this come from? "What was the beginning?" I say God just put a whisper in my soul that said share what you've been blessed with.
- It was one of those things, it was just who we were. It was just an extension of what we enjoy, what we love to do, and what God really has gifted us with. For me to be able to simply just share that with a kid, a child, an adult, somebody that's in need, it's almost overwhelming.
- If I had to choose one word to describe what happens between the individual and the horse when they're here, the word that comes to mind right now is empowerment. You did a rock star on that girl! Abundant Life Ranch is a place where we use horses and the ranching lifestyle to teach about communication, trust, and respect. The kids say they feel safe here. Sometimes they get to be kids for the first time in their life. The therapists say that they get to see a unique child whenever they come out here. The child is different than the one that they see in a normal day to day sitting.
- Here, one of the things we really like to do with these kids is put 'em up on a bareback pad, or basically bareback with nothing on these horses, and get a chance for them to feel the horse, to understand what that horse's movement is like. It's interesting to watch because the horse, as the rider gets used to the movement of the horse, one of the things they tend to do is tense up. What we're working to do is build that confidence with them on the back of that horse, that trust in that horse. We have 'em start movin' around. We have 'em start scratching the front, scratching the back, putting their hands on top of their head, cause a lot of times we want to just hold on. It's something scary. When they start learning that they can put their hands out, they can put their hands on their head, it starts building that confidence in 'em, starts building that trust in the horse, but a confidence in them to know that they can do it. A horse is just a mirror to our soul. We can tell how your body is by just what this horse is doing.
- Sometimes, we can't see ourselves or we can't see circumstances in life, but when we detach ourself from that and we focus on the horse, all of the sudden life or ourselves become apparent. We get to see that in a unique mirror, in a unique setting, and we get to feel empowered. Maybe some people learn empathy. Some people overcome fear. Sometimes we need to tell our fear, "You know what fear? "I've actually already experienced it, "I'm gonna be okay." There's times where we've wondered where is the money gonna come in to write the check to pay for the vet bill, or where is the check gonna come in to pay for the feed, or where is the check going to come in a donation, or some form of giving?
- We are a non profit organization. We're completely supported by donor giving.
- It's exciting to sit here and say, I know we can't do this alone, and we aren't supposed to do this alone. We're supposed to do this and allow others to receive the reward of knowing that they come alongside and they impact and that they make a difference. How many of you guys are proud of yourselves?
- God opened the doors here in the last year for us to be able to purchase a piece of property that will allow us to expand. The challenge we have in that is that it's just dirt. It's grazing land. There's some farm land to it, and it is potentially going to be a great place for us to grow.
- Over and over again, our team of volunteers, when we sit down and we wrap up a session, wrap up an event, and they say, "Wow, did you see that child? "Did you see that adult?" To see, from when they started to when they finished, they weren't the same person. We don't have any control over that. We just simply provide the environment for them to have that happen within themselves.