Tuesday, December 13, 2016

What Has Wild Ones Youth Ranch Done For Me?

I started taking riding lessons at the ripe old age of fifteen and will never forget how awkward and untalented I felt next to the twelve year olds who had been riding already for years.They had more ability in their little fingers than I did in my whole body.
 The time I've spent being the oldest and most novice have given me more focus on what is really important at Wild Ones. It's given me a drive to work hard and accept my failings.

In Christmas of 2010 my family received two beautiful horses from Wild Ones. They were just babies and so were we. We grew up together.

One of them, Elvas, eventually became mine and I trained him with constant help from the staff at Wild Ones. I was certain I was going to die in those early days and with their help, both him and I miraculously survived.

At seventeen I began interning at Wild Ones three days a week. My entire senior year was spent trying to assimilate as much knowledge and riding ability as I could.

I didn't know where I was going afterwards or what my future at WOYR would be, but I loved teaching the kids and walking out the staff's horses when they were finished riding. I spent countless hours just walking horses around and working on practicing cues.

I thought it was boring at the time, but now I know that without that foundation I would have had a much harder time progressing with those skills. It gave me patience and confidence.

I eventually became a staff member myself and it's been such a huge blessing. I feel like I'm part of something so much bigger than myself and it has been my pleasure to serve Christ through my passions; horses and kids.

This September I married a man that I met at Wild Ones. The first time we really talked to each other was during a trail ride. The first time he told me he liked me was when I was watering horses.

 He sent me on a wild scavenger hunt at the ranch that lasted two weeks. The staff at the ranch had been telling me for years that I needed to marry him. 

At our wedding the staff members of Wild Ones came and helped set up for hours. It rained that day and they stayed and worked so hard. They came and told me it would be okay.

I will never forget Laura and Amelia praying with me or putting deodorant on my heels in the hope that my shoes wouldn't rub. They're not my coworkers or friends, they're my family.

I have a wonderful husband and my own horse. I have an opportunity to teach and mentor kids of all ages. I can talk about God and my faith freely and study the bible with young teenage girls. I get to ride and work with a variety of horses every day.

My entire life has been changed and enriched through Wild Ones and I can't say how grateful I am. Words like blessed and grateful seem so tiny compared to what I want to say.

So, what has Wild Ones Youth Ranch done for me? I think a better question is what hasn't Wild Ones done for me? 

When I think of the things that I am thankful for Wild Ones always comes to mind. God has given me so much and I am so blessed. Mine is just one in many stories of blessings through Wild Ones, and I would encourage anyone who has been impacted through this ministry to remember theirs this holiday season.

                                                                                                           ~Sarah Gershom