Discover Reigning Grace Ranch, where hope is restored, healing begins and redemption runs free.
In a section of the brilliant North Scottsdale desert lies acres of open fields, where groups of majestic horses stand under the shade of trees, gallop with the beauty of complete freedom, knock each other around in play, and stick their noses curiously over the fence when a human passes by. Here, one is immediately overcome with a sense of calm and peace, as if all the troubles and worries of the world have fallen away in the presence of these gentle creatures. You have entered the grounds of Reigning Grace Ranch, where hope is rediscovered and redemption runs free.
From the looks of the ranch, you would never guess that founders Christopher and Amanda Moore once led a completely different life, holding corporate jobs and living in a suburban area.
“We often refer to it as our past life was like eating chocolate bunnies; it was big, looked wonderful and tasted sweet, but once you really bit into it there was nothing in the middle,” explains Christopher.
Always avid horse lovers, the couple decided to pack up their things and moved to a ranch in North Scottsdale with their horses in hopes of rediscovering the beauty and purpose of their lives.
“If you have ever had something happen in your life where it just seemed like every door closed where you shouldn’t be and every door opened where you were supposed to be, that’s how we ended up at the ranch,” recalls Christopher.
That’s when fate struck, in the form of a herd of wild horses nonetheless. As Christopher and Amanda settled into the ranch, they started feeding and taking care of these free-roaming creatures, getting to know each one individually. Eventually, however, the county wanted to remove the horses, so the couple decided to take things into their own hands.
“We did what anyone would do,” says Amanda with a chuckle. “We rounded up 65 wild horses and decided to adopt them out.”
And within two months, all of the horses had new homes, with some staying at the ranch. Soon, the neighborhood kids started coming out to the ranch to help Christopher and Amanda, who immediately recognized what a therapeutic experience it was for them. And from there, Reigning Grace Ranch was born.
Today, the ranch works to rehabilitate abused and neglected horses, while restoring children and families in partnership with them, bringing hope and a sense of purpose back into their lives.
Redeeming the Horse
Whether grazing in the pasture, galloping through the desert or spending some one-on-one time with the kids, all the horses at Reigning Grace Ranch seem to have a sheen of confidence and purpose that makes it difficult to believe that they were once rescues coming from harrowing situations.
“When they come to the ranch we recognize how valuable they really are, and it’s amazing how quickly the spirit of a horse comes back when they realize they’re in a place where they’re appreciated and back in a herd again—that’s restoring the horse,” says Christopher.
What really makes a difference for the horses is the concept of restoration and redemption that runs so deep at Reigning Grace Ranch. Instead of focusing on the horse’s history and perceived habits, they look towards a full mind, body and spirit recovery process. This starts with listening to the horse and letting them show their preferences. Then after restoring the horses to physical health, they put them back out with the herd and observe how they interact with each other and the kids.
“It’s really important with the type of work that we do with kids that the horse thoroughly enjoys their job, because the last thing we want to do is have a child go out to seek refuge with a horse and have it turn them away,” says Amanda.
Throughout the whole process of restoring the horse to physical health, an even bigger milestone is reached: gaining a sense of confidence and a restored zest for life.
Take, for example, Joshua’s Dream, a former racehorse that came to the ranch after being deemed unable to walk again. However, after some time spent healing at the ranch, he was able to walk, trot and run, becoming the sage and gentle leader of the heard.
“He’s tall, brave and confident again, and he loves life. That’s a second chance, that’s what we believe in,” says Christopher.
Strengthening the Child
That belief in second chances for the horses also extends to the ranch’s belief in restoring children as well. For Christopher and Amanda, placing these rehabilitated horses with children that are also trying to heal from a traumatic event is when something truly beautiful and life changing takes place.
“When you put the horse in the mix is when the magic happens. The horse creates this kind of peace, where the child has to become so present and so raw that they can’t hide behind any idea of what they are supposed to be or look like,” says Christopher.
For at Reigning Grace Ranch, children are finally able to acknowledge their inner struggles, and that’s when the healing really starts. No matter what their struggle is—the ranch has kids come from all walks of life, whether its foster care and child protective services, addictions and eating disorders, or kids dealing with a parent illness— they work to instill a sense of purpose, confidence and trust in the children so that they and grow and flourish in society.
“When a child gets into an environment where they feel empowered and like what they do matters, they are redeemed,” shares Amanda. “My philosophy is that a whole lot of love and a building up of self-confidence in children can save the world.”
It’s the deep belief in building up a child’s self confidence by pairing them with a horse in a safe environment that fuels the ranch’s commitment to helping them find their passion and purpose in life.
“I think everyone has a place, they just need to figure out what makes their heart beat, and no matter what the obstacles are, make it happen,” says Christopher.
At the heart of the ranch, in both the work they do with horses and children, is a deep dedication to restoring lost hope through healing and love.
“When they come to us they have no hope,” says Amanda. “So it’s the same thing with both the horses and the kids, we want them to be empowered and we want them to realize what they are capable of and how what they do matters.”
Watching children regain a sense of hope while working with rehabilitated horses and experiencing the true power and resilience of the human spirit to push through the hard times has been a life changing experience for Christopher and Amanda as well.
“Life is tough, but no matter what society says you can or cannot do, you don’t listen to them and you just do it. If you have that hope and that spirit, you just do it,” says Amanda.
It is that spirit of hope, healing and redemption always present at Reigning Grace Ranch that truly has the power to change a life.
Learn more at Azrgr.org.