Freedom Reins is a nonprofit, equine-assisted outreach promoting emotional health in the lives of United States veterans, active military personnel, first responders, people rescued from sex or labor trafficking, and women/girls who have dealt with abuse. Really ... anyone who is hurting!
Freedom Reins is not about riding, or horsemanship, it’s about gaining the tools to face life’s challenges from a place of calm, inner strength. We aren’t here to judge people's past, or place expectations on their future. We're simply meeting people where they are.
Our equine-assisted program utilizes engagement with horses to serve people who have had some kind of trauma. Due to a horse’s unique nature, they sense our emotional state and respond accordingly – offering immediate feedback by acting as mirrors for our inner selves. Interaction with these amazing animals will help individuals tune in and regain confidence, freedom, and a sense of security. This provides opportunities to develop greater self-awareness and improve relationships – both personally and professionally.
Being with a horse helps you pay attention to where you are in the moment ... to the here-and-now. Your circumstances may not change after spending time with a horse, but your perspective usually will.
Who do you know that may be struggling from PTSD?
Who do you know that has had some sort of significant trauma in their life and are having challenges because of it?
Please have them contact us.
Our services are provided free-of-charge to participants.
When you help through monetary donations, volunteering your time, or spreading our mission through word-of-mouth and social media, you make a difference and we thank you. With your support we can help the hurting.
Your generous gift will help us fund our mission to help those in need.
Together we can make a difference.
Today I got to groom Winston. The love I feel from him is immeasurable. I also got to talk to Brian about life challenges. There’s a sense of calm that comes over me at the end of the interaction with Brian.
Due to my brain injury I’m unable to remember things that I normally can. The ranch is a place of relaxation that helps me to not concentrate on my disabilities. This brings me hope, and relaxation, that I don’t find except for at the ranch, (in) music, and God. I thought I could find recapture (this).
Brian & Robyn are so intuitive. They read my comfort level and adjust accordingly. The horses are able to read my emotional state. (When) I get there I'm very tense and when I come home I feel calm, which I do not feel other times, unfortunately, because of my brain injury.
This is a good, hopeful, calming, and enjoyable feeling that is missing from my life, when I normally feel sorry for myself. I'm now able to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
There is no way to repay them for their kindness and hope they instill in me. God bless Brian and Robyn.
I have dealt with PTSD for 30 years, due to multiple traumatic experiences. As the traumas accumulated so did the underlining anger, sadness, fear, and anxiety. I lived in such a “fight or flight” stage for so long … honestly, it just became my normal.
February 2017 healing came in the most unlikely of ways... through shoveling manure.
In the safety of gentle giants, I found freedom from my PTSD that had paralyzed me for so long. The rage that lived just under my skin’s surface, ready to explode, began to disappear. It started by just being able to breathe more deeply and handle stressful situations better, lowering my anxiety and fear levels, by increasing my awareness of what was actually triggering me.
I redirected a lot of my free time to mucking stalls, de-shedding (horses) winter coats, giving treats, and just being still for hours covered in horse ~ I kept experiencing a sense of being present and centered, balanced and free. I found myself wanting to stay in that calm, relaxed state, knowing that it was possible was encouraging. But Life Happens, and when something would start to take that peace away I was now able to realize what was happening. It gave me something to look forward to, knowing I could go back to that peaceful place again and again… I found something that was working for me. My family and close friends were seeing the difference in me, also, and supported my time devoted to Equine Assisted Healing.
I didn’t realize I was being transformed by small victories through learning how to handle a 1000 pound animal, becoming a leader of beasts. Being prey animals, horses need a strong leader to feel safe and secure. Baby step by baby step I was becoming one, it wasn’t easy or natural, I had to slow down, be patient, learn a new way of communicating, learn to really listen… not just by sound but an entire body that was speaking to me, ears, eyes, tail, muzzle… giving me a sentence with their body to interpret, being present. Since horses don’t lie, they don’t act, they don’t wear masks… they speak truth with their whole being… this was refreshing. It has taken consistency, commitment, and courage… but it has been totally worth it. I am eternally grateful for this experience.
There is something empowering when you find your voice, when you are heard, when you set boundaries and are able to express yourself and be confident, so that your space is respected by horse and human. It’s funny that by learning how to speak horse I have been able to speak human better.
Thank you Freedom Reins – Robyn and Brian – for your friendship, for your willingness to gently and patiently lead others to be leaders, for your sacrifices to help those who are hurting and for standing back so that your horses can do what they do best… “Meet People Right Where They Are.”
Blessed and Grateful,
Kerri – from Phoenix, AZ
I started working through Freedom Reins in early 2017. My wife was a volunteer with them and had experienced great joy and healing through her involvement in what is known as Equine Assisted Healing. I was very doubtful at first that shoveling horse poop and brushing dusty, 1000 lb. animals would benefit the psyche…? However, much to my disbelief, I too underwent a healing crisis so to speak.
During this time, we acquired a horse and name him Caspian. This horse is what led me to the ranch as my wife insisted that I come to meet him. He had been abused in the past and needed a family to come to his rescue. Once I started working with him – walking him in the turnout, brushing and cleaning his stall, etc. - it seemed that he was encouraging me to be a better man … similar to the movie, “As Good as It Gets’, when Jack Nicholson tells Helen Hunt, “You make me want to be a better man”. I know, right? Sounds crazy but this horse was silently telling me you need to get it together because I need you to be “The Man”.
Well, how can you say no to a horse? During this time, I was suffering from severe depression. After a few months of being around not just Caspian but the other horses at the ranch, I noticed that the depression was slowly lifting. Somehow, being around the horses and putting focus and attention on them took the pressure and anxiety off of me and placed it on them. They have much stronger backs to carrying it. I can’t explain how this works but it did and many others have seen the same benefits.
Thank to Freedom Reins for providing a safe space for me (and my wife) and “Meeting us where we are”.
Reflections from the Ranch
I didn’t know what to expect before visiting the ranch. I really didn’t have any expectations other than spending time with my best friend Kerri and to meet her horse. Well, I do know that I definitely was not expecting what did happen to me during my time at the ranch!
Witnessing first-hand the non-verbal communication between human and horse was extremely beautiful. Humans and horses are much alike in the sense that both take in stimuli from their environment and react to it depending on what is surrounding them. I was deeply moved by how a patient handler using fluid, non-threatening movements and nothing more than a rope and a gentle, guiding hand can make all the difference in a horse’s response to you. The mutual respect was evident and needed to be there for both to interact and trust each other. It was like they were dancing!
Unfortunately, I didn’t witness a total horse personality transformation, but look forward to having that experience once in my life. I was told about Kerri’s “wild boy”. I would have been fascinated to have witnessed his step-by-step transformation from stallion to sweetheart. What I know of Caspian’s former life is riddled with neglect and mistreatment which led to a total lack of trust. Again, not unlike humans in relationships.
I was fascinated by the different social and emotional behaviors expressed by the horses in the round pen and while being let out in the large pen to interact with each other. I loved when they rolled on their backs in the dirt. I so wanted to give them a belly rub! We spent a few days at the ranch over my week long stay. Not nearly long enough! We got up before dawn to spend most of the day at the ranch. While Kerri and others attended to the horses needs I walked the ranch many times over and got acquainted with the horses and with the many ranch dogs…they were therapeutic too!
I continually observed and thought about how God created these horses to be complex and multi-dimensional. How they are so in-tune with their surroundings. They can sense our anxiety and fear of them so quickly and completely. I was so grateful for a crash course on how to approach a horse and touch them properly that I was more confident in standing next to one at the hitching post and eventually was able to feed them treats out of my hand. Their awareness of us is utterly amazing. How God created them and placed their eyes in the position to be able to see almost 360 degrees around them is simply…perfection!
I felt a deep connection to the horses. It was extremely therapeutic for me. It brought me to a whole other level of peace and spiritual understanding that I have not previously experienced. Horses are vulnerable and like humans; desire positive attention and gentle reinforcement and encouragement to become obedient to the Master. There is resistance and then grace. Just like my walk with the Lord at times.
I truly believe that all things happen for a reason and that King Caspian was a divine appointment. A horse doesn’t need to be broken…it just needs to be loved! Can you relate?
This experience continues to bless me on a daily basis.
Looking forward to getting back to the ranch soon!