Like I said in yesterday's post "Our Bend Trip-Part Two", I'm saving the best for last!
This little adventure was a favorite for all of us, I think.
Pete had heard about Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch on a "Focus on the Family" radio show years ago, and has wanted to go visit ever since. On our last trip (when we were just passing through Bend to get to the coast), we weren't able to go. But this time, he made sure that we got to go visit.
Crystal Peaks (just a few miles north of Bend) is an organization that rescues abused and dying horses and pairs them with children in need. Troy and Kim Meeder run the ranch and Kim has written 3 books (I've read the first two, and they are some of the BEST books I've ever read--the stories will bring you to tears, but are so awe-inspiring and full of God's hope!!) called Hope Rising, Bridge Called Hope, and Blind Hope. Troy has also written a book called Average Joe.
So, we spent an afternoon visiting this awesome place!! Here are some photo highlights....
The sign that greeted us at the entrance to the ranch!
This cute little dwelling was the first thing we saw as we walked down the gravel road to the ranch. Troy and Kim bought this piece of land when it was just the remnant of a cinder pit. They have patiently and lovingly restored it into a beautiful place where horses and people are healed!
Ellie enjoyed her ride on this cute wooden horse!
One of the horses at the ranch. We got a tour of the ranch and were introduced to quite a few of the horses with details of where they had come from (many horrifying stories, but all with great endings:o)).
A view of the ranch...this is one of the ranch's arenas where an instructor works with a child and a horse. The ranch's program is special in that it almost always pairs one child with one horse, guided by one leader. All this is done free of charge--always! Just awesome!!
Ellie enjoying a ride on this ingenious "horse-walker" swing for kids.
This old cowboy wood statue (sorta reminds me of my grandpa or as Ellie calls him, Opa Hat (because he's always got a cowboy hat on)) posed with Ellie and me in front of the tack room.
The ranch's well-organized wall of bridles in the tack room. Each of those names represents a horse saved--so inspiring!
As we were leaving (walking back down the gravel road to get to our car), this beautiful horse came to tell us good-bye!
Ellie got caught in a surprise good-bye "sniff". Too funny!