Founded in 2009, Charis Youth Ranch is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit whose mission is Broken Horses Healing Broken Children. Our vision is to create a world where horses are not thrown away, but valued as ambassadors of hope and healing to kids who need unconditional love and acceptance. A sanctuary for kids and horses, Charis Youth Ranch has 3 board members and no paid staff. Our 60+ volunteers care for the horses by feeding them morning and evening, cleaning their stalls and runs daily, checking for injuries or illness and providing vet care if necessary, grooming, maintaining the facilities, the finances, marketing and all areas of administration. Charis Youth Ranch has two locations in th... read more Founded in 2009, Charis Youth Ranch is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit whose mission is Broken Horses Healing Broken Children. Our vision is to create a world where horses are not thrown away, but valued as ambassadors of hope and healing to kids who need unconditional love and acceptance. A sanctuary for kids and horses, Charis Youth Ranch has 3 board members and no paid staff. Our 60+ volunteers care for the horses by feeding them morning and evening, cleaning their stalls and runs daily, checking for injuries or illness and providing vet care if necessary, grooming, maintaining the facilities, the finances, marketing and all areas of administration. Charis Youth Ranch has two locations in the Fort Collins area and is currently home to 30 rescued horses. The original ranch is in Laporte, situated on 35 acres in a peaceful little valley. There are 17 horses who call Laporte home. We have a small barn, a small outdoor arena, several paddocks and a large dry lot with loafing sheds and one large pasture with tall cottonwoods lining the western border. The horses enjoy summer turnout and spend their days grazing in the warm sun. They can often be found escaping the heat by taking a nap under the shade of the cottonwoods. Our second ranch location in SE Fort Collins sits on 15 acres. 13 horses live at our SE Fort Collins ranch. We are very blessed to have a large outdoor arena as well an indoor arena. There are two barns with 7 stalls and runs, as well as a large dry lot and a paddock, both with loafing sheds. For turnout, we have two small pastures and one large pasture. The horses' favorite thing to do when turned out to the large pasture is run at top speed, racing each other around and around. We always love to watch them run and play, kicking up their heels and enjoying life. We offer three programs for kids in northern Colorado: 1. Junior Volunteer Program: This program is for kids who wish to volunteer at the ranch but are under 18 years of age. The group provides adult oversight as the kids volunteer on the ranch, such as for a feeding shift. There is scheduled riding instruction as well as mentorship, leadership and a community outreach component. The kids are required to create and execute a fundraiser specific to their program. This teaches the value of teamwork, leadership and community outreach as they learn what it takes to support the horses they love as well as the ranch. This program is held year-round at our SE Fort Collins location where we use the outdoor arena in the summer and the indoor arena during cold months and wet days. 2. Equine Adventure Program: The EAP is a group program for kids ages 5-12 which is held during the month of June. This includes eight three hour sessions crafted around horsemanship and learning the horses' stories of rescue. Additionally, the kids participate in foundational horsemanship instruction as well creating a horse related craft and games. Situated on 35 picturesque acres at our Laporte ranch, we want the kids to learn about horses, explore their creativity and enjoy the great outdoors by running, climbing, going on nature walks and having lots and lots of fun. 3. Triumph Youth Program: This group program is for at-risk teens from Turning Point Youth & Family Development, a residential treatment facility for kids ages 13-18 and from 2010 through 2016, was held from June through August at our Laporte ranch. We plan to continue this program at the Fort Collins location as it is more conducive to riding with that number of kids. We tailor our sessions to the groups' needs while addressing each member as an individual. Our focus is safety, teaching horsemanship skills, and providing a nonjudgmental, grace filled environment which fosters open communication. The lessons pair character building instruction with a corresponding horsemanship skill and strengthen relational skills. The telling of the horses' rescue stories to our youth can be very impactful as they often mirror some aspect of the youths' traumas or wounds. On this common ground is where connection is made and healing can begin. Each of the horses at Charis Youth Ranch has a story to tell. They range in age from 2 to 28 years old and have come to us from all walks of life. Some have come straight off the racetrack or from their racing owners. Others have been rescued at auction, we having snatched them from the hands of the kill buyer by outbidding him. Still others have been given to us by their caring owners who wanted to ensure a safe landing for their older steeds. Our 30 horses represent a wide variety of breeds. 11 are off-the-track thoroughbreds (OTTBs) registered with the Jockey Club. These retired race horses either sustained career ending injuries, were too slow to win or in some other way, found themselves already in or at risk of entering the slaughter pipeline. We have Warmbloods, Quarter Horses, a Paint, a Saddlebred, 2 PMUs (stands for pregnant mare urine used for hormone replacement therapy), several of unknown origin (we like taking guesses as to their heritage) and a pony named Padah. Every one of our horses are dearly loved. We value them for who they are and not what they can do for us. Whether or not they can be ridden is no matter to us. We have many equine assisted learning activities the horses can participate in without being ridden and the horses love the attention. A number of our horses are well into their 20s and it gives us great satisfaction to provide them excellent nutrition, care and love. We treasure our senior horses and go to great lengths to provide feeding protocols tailored to the needs of each horse. This includes dental check ups, hoof care and vet visits. One thing we have learned about our seniors is that most do not want to be "put out to pasture". They want to be with the kids and people and as such, they are! Several of our seniors are actively participating in riding lessons and showing off all of their amazing training accomplishments while teaching a whole new generation of riders. We cherish our oldies and consider it an honor to give them a home where they can live out their days in happiness and peace.
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