Grey , Mare | DOB: 2007 | ARRIVAL: 09/11/2022 | 15 Hands HANDS

A mutual friend placed the ranch equine staff in contact with a woman from Washington.  Over the miles that separated us, we communicated through text and email. Slowly, the information rolled in like abstract puzzle pieces. As we placed each detail in the correct order, a dramatic picture of heart-wrenching redemption rose into sharp focus.

Sheona, our contact from Washington, had survived the unthinkable.  Our new friend shared how she once was trapped in an abusive marriage. One night she woke to the sound of a gunshot  near her head! She opened her eyes to see her husband standing over her with a handgun pointed at her face!  Having failed to destroy her, moments later, she witnessed him take his own life.

Through the emotional shattered glass of the following day, Sheona learned how her mother spent the exact same night up, alert and fervently praying for her daughter’s safety.  When the police investigation was complete, they discovered what was—according to scientific reason—impossible.

Even though the man was standing over the top of his wife and aiming his pistol down at the bed—inches from her body—law enforcement found the bullet shot in an upward trajectory . . . into the ceiling.

When she learned of the investigation results, Sheona fell to her knees, overwhelmed.  In that instant, she knew the only explanation was God had answered her faithful mother’s prayers and miraculously saved her life.  Knocked to the floor by this revelation, Sheona gave her heart and life to Jesus Christ.

Through tears, she told us what followed.  Jesus healed every part of her heart.  Despite the atrocious horror of the event, the woman carried zero trauma.  Firmly held within the healing peace of the Savior’s hands, all panic attacks and nighttime terrors fled at the presence of the Prince of Peace.

Sheona continued to share how she accepted wild mustangs and trained them in one hundred day challenges.  In her horse journey, she was told of an abandoned horse in need of immediate rescue. 

Motivated by compassion, she acted from her heart. Sheona understood the desperate place of being alone and abandoned—and—the way to healing.

Our new friend took the deserted mare under her care.  The horse was a twelve year-old gray Arabian, whose body was sunken from malnutrition.  Long, overgrown hooves—like rings on a tree—documented the continuing history of neglect.  Fearful and unpredictable around people, the mare’s behavior demonstrated mistrust and suspicion.  

Thankfully for the white Arab, Sheona was an accomplished horse trainer who knew how to start with the foundational communication of trust.  Under this kind woman’s skillful hand, the mare learned the intentions of her new owner were trustworthy and based on love.  Very soon, the white horse walked away from her fear and into faith.  She chose to trust her compassionate leader and carry riders out on the trail. To the delight of all, the mare even embraced the cues for various tricks, such as how to bow and lie down on command.

Sheona understood the high-energy needs of the restored Arabian. With other horses to train, she didn’t feel she could offer the attention and activity level this—now beautiful—horse deserved.  Even though she had paid the personal cost of sweat and hard work for the complete rehabilitation and  education of the now healthy mare, what was foremost in her heart was finding a safe and loving home.   

With astounding humility, the woman wondered if she could donate the elegant, professionally trained mare to Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. 

We were astonished by her offer. 

After time in prayer, our answer was a resounded, “Yes.”

In the weeks leading up to the new horse’s arrival, we contemplated the power of Sheona’s choice to submit her pain to Jesus.  This once abused woman was now so completely healed and filled by His love—that she was able to help restore and fill others with the overflow that poured from her heart.

Then it occurred to our equine team—Sheona’s jouney mirrored a portion of the life of our beloved founder, Kim Meeder.

Kim’s parents died in a murder-suicide.  In the face of unimaginable pain and tragedy, Kim met Jesus Christ.  He healed her broken heart . . . and her testimony became the very foundation of a ministry that God used to heal both horses and children.

Thinking of Kim, we remembered something very dear to her heart.  Kim loves the wilderness—fishing on the ocean waves and skiing in backcountry snowstorms.  Over the years, Kim shared with the team a desire to someday give a snow-colored Arabian horse a very special name.

When Sheona arrived at the Ranch with the new horse, we waited in anticipation for the trailer door to swing open.  The tall snow-white Arabian, cloaked with a glittering mane and tail, stepped into her new home—and we knew Kim’s long-treasured name finally found its match.

There is a word that describes the whimsical, joyous dance of ocean spray in the wind and snowflakes twirling in the breeze.

In honor of Sheona’s, Kim’s and a mare’s redemption story—and our founder’s love of experiencing God in the wilderness—and in celebration of three painful pasts all spun into beauty, we named the horse . . . Spindrift.

This unusual name literally means to twirl and dance in the air. To spin or to drift on our own can mean  spiraling into darkness.  However, when we reach for God’s love within our spinning times, we too, can dance amidst the storm . . . just like a pure-white snowflake.

Mirroring her amazing rescuer, Spindrift experienced pain—yet when placed into the loving hands of Jesus Christ—each component of sorrow was transformed into a beautiful dance of joyous healing.

Spindrift is a horse who loves to prance among the herd. She is filled with joy at the touch of children and she inspires laughter within all who spend time with her.  Her willing, vibrant spirit encourages the hearts of her riders. 

Our twirling, dancing horse reminds us—when we place our pain in the hands of Jesus Christ—He restores our joy, our purpose and enables us to share His glorious redemption.

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow . . . Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”—Psalm 51:7, 12 (NIV)