The cornerstone of the miracles we work at Mustard Seed Ranch is L.E.A.P. (Life Experience Animal-assisted Program). L.E.A.P. was developed by leading professionals in the psychiatry, equestrian, and ministry fields as a faith based program to address more than twenty-five core relationship issues faced by children suffering from abuse and neglect. Each issue has been shaped into real life experience modules utilizing the gift of horses to teach the children.
Although other animals are valuable in therapeutic settings, horses best replicate human relational behavior and are therefore more effective “teachers.” Horses have the innate ability to understand and respond to people’s emotions and energy. The kids in our program are asked to take responsibility of caring for their horses. In doing so, they begin to form a trusting relationship with the horses that respond to them with unconditional love. Connecting with the horses help the kids to explore and reconnect with their own feelings.
Through their experiences working with our qualified, therapeutic horses and the direction of trained staff, young people learn personal responsibility, a sense of worth, trust, respect, courage, and the skills to nurture healthy relationships. They also learn how to deal with failures, frustration and anger, healthy confrontation, boundaries, fear and anxieties. The healing, unconditional love and relationship skills they acquire give the foundation and hope these young people need to become healthy, responsible adults who lead productive lives.
Knowing what abused kids have endured and witnessing their healing process as they experience our program is truly inspiring. The transformation of the kids who come to us is our miracle – we call it the “Miracle of Mustard Seed Ranch”.
We work in collaboration with Community Partners to offer our program to their youth. We also provide training for their staff to ensure they have the benefit of experiencing our program. Training equips them with the skills to help the kids in their care as they begin to explore and express their life issues.