The first thing you see is the Horse statues and overhead. As we drove through the overhead entrance that read Agape Ranch in giant letters, I noticed a cross dividing the two words. Some may not be aware but Agape is referring to God’s Love for all of us. God has unconditional and enduring love for all human beings, known as agape. (John 3:16)
As we circled around the driveway, I felt a peace come over me. As I gazed out the window over rolling grass hills, I saw the horses grazing undisturbed. What a beautiful place. The buildings are well kept, the grounds well groomed. I saw organization and a whole lot of loving care into this place.
I was so excited to see Riley Olson the Ranch Manager and learn about his colt starting program. I felt like a little kid arriving at our final destination.
We parked our truck and walked into the large, clean, well-organized barn and indoor arena filled with young men and horses. Some were riding, others were tacking their horses up, while Riley and his staff milled through the group instructing and assisting. Everyone was focused on task and getting ready for the colt training session of the day.
These young men are sent here for guidance from all over the United States. Some of them come from living in gangs, abusive situations, and even traumatic childhoods that no one should endure.
As I stood in the stands resting on the pipe fence, a friendly volunteer came up and introduced himself. He was from another state and heard about Agape 4 years ago. He came for a visit but ended up coming back to stay permanently as a mentor. As he continued to explain, you could see in his eyes and hear in his voice, the emotion of his heart. He stated that watching and working with these young men, having the opportunity to help mentor them, and watching them grow is like no other experience. These young men have blessed his life.
It is clear that not everyone who works through the program exhibits signs of change. Some probably return to their old way of life, whether it was drugs, gangs or whatever brought them here in the first place. The positive thing is you gave it your all. God gave us this gift of freewill. We make our own choices regardless of what we learn in life with him or without him. It’s our journey, our decisions.
As we were chatting a young man came up to say hello and introduce himself. He was very polite, and friendly. I noticed right away that he was happy. He introduced me to his soft eyed, shiny little sorrel horse. He asked if I’d like to pet him, and I was more than ready to accept that invitation. Knowing there is a horse sale coming up this fall, I ask him “how tough will it be for you to sell your colt”. He shared, “I knew it would be hard because I have bonded with him, but I know that my purpose is to prepare him for his new owner whoever that may be”. “God gave me the opportunity to help this colt by preparing him for his new life”. This young man told me that he enjoyed being at Agape Ranch and he has a new life planned for himself. After Graduation, he is joining the Navy. He also shared other guys have left this program and accomplished great things. Some have gone to other ranches for work, a good friend is joining the Navy, and he also stated Agape Ranch is a great program.
We watched the young men teach their horses and it was heartfelt to see them connect. Providing the opportunity to learn communication, understand it’s okay to make a mistake and learn forgiveness while working the horses, they are learning how to be trusted leaders and how to create strong partnerships in life. Through the guidance of Agape Ranch staff many are successful.
The Ranch has a full education program. Young men attending can take various college courses while working towards graduating and receiving their diploma.
We enjoyed meeting other staff members during our break for lunch. The staff takes great care of these young men and loves mentoring them. It was an amazing experience for us. Some of the young men relayed their love for the program and the positive family atmosphere.
After lunch we took a tour of the rest of this amazing facility. Walking around campus we had the opportunity to see all the other sports available; in addition to the Horsemanship program, they provide Two gyms, a pool, basketball court, wrestling, football, baseball and soccer fields, fishing, golf, there is small zoo and Agape Baptist church is located on campus for anyone that would like to attend.
There is so much more to this story. I had an amazing time and plan to return for the sale.
You will have to watch and listen to Riley and I discuss all about Agape Ranch. Details about the colt starting program, their breeding mares, foals and what happens next.
Located at HoofNit Podcast with Everything Horse and Livestock: Click Here HoofNit Podcast coming soon to EHALNews.com
Click Here: Agape Ranch Contact Form
Agape Ranch Manager
His cell: 307-949-0602
Contact Form: Agape Ranch Contact Form
Chewin The Cud