After a trip to Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch in Oregon, Elisha McCulloh and her daughter, Nicole Wilson were inspired. They knew they wanted to combine their love of horses and dedication to Jesus Christ in an environment of healing for both humans and horses alike. They immediately began planning and building Achaius Ranch along with their husbands, Rodney and Sam. It is a faith-based ministry where children and their families can come to learn and grow alongside the animals rescued by the ranch.
The journey for the horses that arrive at Achaius Ranch often begins with a phone call from an owner in need of assistance. Many of these owners are forced to surrender their horses due to financial hardship, an inability to properly care for them, or in some cases, reports of abuse and neglect. Each horse is initially evaluated by a veterinarian to determine their health and nutritional needs so that a refeeding plan can be determined as quickly as possible.
Retraining at Achaius Ranch is done under the leadership of Nicole, who is a Level 3 graduate of the Parelli Natural Horsemanship Program. This method focuses on the importance of relationships, leadership, communication, body language, building a partnership with the horse, building their confidence, and encouraging the horse to think through situations instead of reacting fearfully. Most of the horses that arrive here become participants in the youth program and remain at the ranch as a part of the herd for the rest of their lives.
The youth program at Achaius Ranch provides opportunities for children to interact with horses in a positive, loving environment. Elisha, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, serves as Program Director and facilitates the screening, training, and activities of all of the volunteers. Each session is organized so that one child works with one volunteer, ensuring they receive the individualized attention that they need. The first part of each session is dedicated to service, to helping maintain the horses, their environment and equipment. The remainder of the session is spent on education, focusing on grooming, care, horsemanship, and riding.
“Touching the lives of hundreds of children and families through this program, with the help of our equine partners, is our greatest success,” says Nicole. This joy and sense of community is shared by the volunteers and children that participate in the program as well. Cadence, who attends the youth sessions says, “This is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I am so thankful. Going to Achaius has helped me with my confidence and my patience a lot. It helps me to feel free and I love all of the great fellowship.”
Donations and volunteers are vital to Achaius Ranch, please use the information below to help in any way possible. You can also view their wish list of needed supplies and purchase Achaius Ranch merchandise to help horses and families continue to love, heal and grow.
If you are interested in loaning or donating your horse trailer to this particular organization, then check out details of our Horse Trailer Donation and Sharing Program here. Then, post your comments below to help out!
Also, learn more about horse rescues in these two articles: