Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year from HIS Ranch

We want to update you regarding what's new in the last couple of months at the ranch. Perhaps the most exciting news is that God is leading one of our wonderful volunteers from this past summer back "home" to the ranch. Alicia Steffen will be joining us in mid-January and we cannot wait for her arrival! One of the most encouraging and humbling parts of running a ministry is when others choose to come alongside to help carry out God's will and plan.

We are working hard in the off season (well, okay, especially Shannon) to continue remodeling the buildings/property in preparation for next summer. The work on converting our large curvette building to our official "barn" complete with individual horse stalls and a center round pen is continuing. Dallas Haerr has been a HUGE help with this effort. We are also grateful for the budget-friendly consulting of Alan Knobloch : ). We were very humbled when Harold Knapheide from Knapheide Manufacturing offered to pay for ALL of the stall doors!!

In addition, we are almost ready to officially move the ranch office to the new Welcome Center. The building is not completed, but is at a stage where it is usable. We hope that the new office will be ready for Alicia's arrival.

The horses are thriving in our crazy Missouri winter. We have had negative wind chills to 50+ degrees and everything in between. We received one new horse, Amigo, earlier this fall. He is a beautiful, buckskin gelding that has a wonderful disposition.

We have one presentation scheduled in Bluffton, IN in February but still have dates open if you would like us to present this ministry to your church or community group. Just let us know as far in advance as possible.

Thanks for your prayers and support. God bless you in 2009!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"A time to be born, and a time to die..." Ecc. 3:2a

I, once again, apologize for the long wait for a new posting. I do have a good excuse this time:). For some reason, I was unable to bring up the correct website for over a week. So, thanks for your patience, and read on....

As you know from previous entries, we were blessed with two beautiful foals in June of this year. We continue to marvel at them as they grow and it brings great joy to just watch them run, jump and play together.

A little over a week ago, we had to bid a tearful farewell to our dear Shady. Shady was the first horse to ever step off of the trailer here at HIS Ranch. Many children and adults alike were blessed by time spent with her. In her day, as we understand it, she was quite the barrel-racer. At times, we would see that old spark return in her as she held her own in the herd. We knew her heart was getting worse and could see that she was getting weaker. Finally, the day came where she could no longer stand. It still amazes me how a couple of farm kids like Shannon and myself could get so emotional. But...when you begin to see these horses as the truly amazing creations of God that they are, saying goodbye will always be hard.

We continue to put plans into place for the Fall Fundraiser. We are hoping to host Jon & Amy Gerst again before that big day to work on the gardens. Jon has generously donated his time and talents in drawing up our plans for the Healing Garden and Amy has been so helpful alongside her husband and in encouraging us. We are so excited to get started with it and hope to at least get the preliminary work done with elevations, etc. and get some trees planted. It is encouraging to think of having a beautiful place for the parents/teachers/caseworkers to relax while their children are having lessons.

The inside of the Welcome Center is now fully insulated and the drywall has been painted (thanks to Mom (Sally) Haerr, Dallas Haerr and Crystal Sutter). The material has been delivered for completion of the exterior cedar siding and the interior wood siding as well. We also have the rough-cut lumber ordered for the stable stalls. Notice what we are missing?....SKILLED LABOR! :) If you fall into this category and would like to come lend us a hand, we would be thrilled.

Thanks to all of you who have already contacted us about next summer. It is humbling for us to think that you would choose to allow God to use you here.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Glub, glub, glub.....

As I write this, I would hate to even guess how much rain we have received this week.....and it's not finished. For those of you who are interested (i.e. those who worked on the project), Shannon has finished painting the trailer!! I will include photos soon, hopefully. He is in the process of putting it back together so we can clean out the "big building" for the Fall Fundraiser. We are busy planning that and would be so honored by each of you that can attend. I know we are offering a free lunch and free Starbucks coffee :) as well as pony rides. There are other possibilities in the works so I will keep you updated.

I was talking to my sister, Erin Knobloch, today. She is in Reynosa, MX with Isaiah 55. We got onto the topic of how we as Christians are so willing to do the "tangible" tasks, but often fail to give prayer its proper place in our lives. I am a firm believer that prayer, when truly unleashed, would blow our minds like nothing else could. Why do we feel like we are not doing enough when we pray? It's true, sometimes we need to put "feet on our prayers" and make a difference where we can. However, please don't ever underestimate the power your prayers have. We have witnessed the fruit of prayer here at HIS Ranch and stand in awe of it. (Susan)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

So blessed......

Forgive us for the delay between our last blog and now. It has been an exciting and busy time here at the ranch as we finish up our first "official" season open. Without question, the best word to describe this summer is "BLESSED".

On August 13, we welcomed Paul & Susan Baliles with children Fred & Isabel; Don Wendland with son,Nathan; Marcin Rodzko; Frank and Sherrie Scalero with children Noah, Jackson, Natalie, and Ellie. They came to work on our Welcome Center for the ranch. As I try to describe the efficiency of this group, I think the only way I can describe it is to refer to those home makeover/remodeling shows where it shows the crew in fast motion. This is the NORMAL speed for this crew (Marcin was actually faster yet)!! They were amazing! It was not only the work completed that blessed us so much, but equally special were the memories made with them as we worked and played together. To each of you, thank you so much. You boosted our spirits immeasurably.

We continue to be humbled and amazed as our great God raises up His people to meet our needs and even many of our desires for this special place. On August 22, Shannon and I (Susan) with our daughter, Lena, made the trip to Alamar Acres near Princeville, Illinois to pick up 320 bales of donated hay from Alan & Mary Ann Knobloch and to meet, for the first time, two beautiful Clydesdale mares to be donated to the ranch. WOW!! The following day, Alan & Mary Ann delivered Ruby (2-yr. old) and Hadassah (1-yr. old) to HIS Ranch. They are already ministering to us and to others visiting the ranch. As a girl who grew up on a farm and took the animals for granted, I continue to be amazed at how God uses His creation in amazing ways to bring calm and peace to troubled lives. To the Knobloch's, THANK YOU....through you, we have been amazingly blessed.

It was with mixed emotions that we decided to close our doors for lessons on Labor Day weekend. Our students have been quick learners and amazing young people. It sometimes seems strange to call them "students". Maybe "teachers" would be more accurate because we also learn so much from them. Our summer help is now back in school and we miss them dearly. We especially miss Javon Steffen as she was such a rock here through a, sometimes, very hectic summer. We are trying to connive ways to get her back here as soon as possible!

Though we miss our "teachers", we know also that times of rest and restoration are necessary. If Christ took time away from His ministry, then the need for this time away is even more significant for us. Kim Meeder has told us, "You cannot give what you do not have. If you do not take time away to be filled, you will have nothing to give." We do hope to stay open longer in the years to come as our staff grows. There is still much to be done here, even without the lessons occurring. There are quite a number of projects still in the works to make the facility more efficient for our program.

By the way, if you would like to book a presentation for our winter "tour" at your church or organization, now would be a great time to call or email us.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


These adults from a local teaching facility are visiting us each week on Thursday. It is so neat to see them come and each put their thumbprint on the ranch. Each person that comes just adds something especially unique. One gentleman explained to us that even thought he doesn't ride horses very much he is a real cowboy. He was so thankful to us for letting us ride His horse. Another woman in a wheelchair thought the horse was a little high for her to ride, but she loved to sit next to it in her chair and pet its lower side. After she came out of the arena, she kept smiling and tightly squeezing others hands and pulling them close to her. It was like chocolate for the soul!
Apart from this group there are several kids that come either daily, biweekly, or weekly. One girl that plans to come every day until her school starts came today. I asked her what she thinks she'll remember of the ranch once she goes back to school. She said, "Calming...it just feels to nice to be with the horse. I'm going to miss it a lot when I go back to school." She is such a sweet girl to have here but seems to lack confidence and deep self esteem, please pray these horses and the love she has for them can be a reminder of how deep love can be. And that this love might guide her to the ultimate love that our Redeemer Jesus Christ has for us.

Encouraging hearts and willing hands

You know... it is easy to sometimes second guess that a certain conversation could have been improved or acted differently. The prayers of those around us gives us those moments of peace when your unsure if you did the right thing. Thankfully, God blessed us with a couple of volunteers last weekend. These two sisters (Amy Folkerts from Washington and Ellie Wettstein from Roanoke) were such an encouragement to our His Ranch staff and helped us complete a lot of our extra tasks around the ranch. Our project with the trailor has moved along nicely. It is now fully spray primed with all of its parts primed as well. Our next task is to spray the lower part black and the upper part "ford grey" to match Shannon's truck. We are all excited to see the finished product. Jennifer and Amber Rassi finished up their visit this past Sunday as well. Words can only get so far, however, we want them to know we are so grateful for their help and willingness to spend two weeks of their summer here to help with all of the slow and sometimes monotonous jobs. They sometimes didn't get the most exciting jobs but had the best attitudes. We are so thankful for their help and we need to say, we would never be this far along without their help.
I extend a big thank you to all those who have volunteered your time or money as well as our faithful prayer warriors. God bless you all!

Friday, August 8, 2008

Only One

Well, just yesterday we thought our last puppy would be leaving us. And in a change of events, we have him back with us today. He is a cute male purebread labrador with a sweet temperament. When a mom and daughter came by and picked him up, I think the feeling was pretty bittersweet. It was good to know the puppies would be gone and to nice homes. But they were such a fun part to the ranch. The neighbor kids loved to play with them. And they were great to pet for those that came to ride the horses too. Needless to say, most everyone was excited to see our puppy come back. We still would like to sell him to a good home. So if anyone is interested, we'd love to hear from you!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Is that a new trailor?





It may not look like much yet but we were able to purchase this used trailor. This has been our key project for the past week. It took Jennifer, Amber, and I 3 days of wire wheel grinding and a group from Bluffton to completely sand off the old paint. The girls from Bluffton finished the entire inside in their one day here on the ranch and we are so thankful for their help. Now that it is sanded, we wiped off the dust and are working on priming it and might even hopefully paint it with a sprayer later today. It has been a large task and that has made it even more exciting to see progress. It will be the best trailor this side of the Mississippi!
The Bluffton girls were so helpful! They drove all the way here on Friday evening and worked hard all day Saturday. Well, all day includes the serious riding they each did on the horses. Amy, Sadie, and Alicia, the theme words for your riding were "no fear"! You three whipped those horses into shape (not literally).
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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Prayer brings progress





His Ranch had the amazing opportunity to take part in a local parade for veteran's. If you have never ridden through a parade on horseback I encourage you to try it sometime. There is just something so peaceful about slowly walking on a country road in the middle of a small town watching kids run back and forth along the sides of the street collecting their sweet treasures. Our His Ranch banner saluting our veterans came through first as our gator pulled a trailor of kids, adults, and a puppy all throwing (all except the puppy) candy to the excited kids and their parents. Every so often we would see older men usually wearing green caps to signify their presence in that chaos years ago. This was such a special time for His Ranch to be able to thank those men with a graceful bow of our head and a mouthed thank you as we tried to really look into their eyes to show our meaning. The Bluffton group was able to ride through with us and a couple even got to ride the horses. We took through the parade Louis, Glory, Victor, and Colonel and they all did amazing as they steadily walked and tried to avoid the bullets of candy in the air.
On Sunday, two girls from Morton arrived to help volunteer as well, Jennifer and Amber Rassi. They have been a blessing to help continue the progress of the Bluffton group. Please keep them and their spirits in your prayers as they will be here until August 8. We finished painting our bathrooms in the welcome center and even chose the tile for the flooring and bottom part of the walls. They have spurred on progress and we are so thankful to have them and the rest of the volunteers come and help.
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Friday, July 25, 2008

Bluffton Work Team





We have been very encouraged by a work team from Bluffton that came out to help on Wed at 3am! That is commitment. They plan on returning home on Saturday after they have graced this area by being in a local parade supporting His Ranch. During their time they have primed two bathrooms in our 'being constructed' welcome center, set up posts and hotwire for some new pasture land, creatively decorated banners for the parade, and Amber Dehoff even bought a puppy. They have been a tremendous blessing and encouragement with their willingness to tackle any task that comes up before them. Tonight, since it is their last night, we are having a sharing time and bonfire to remember the special times during these past days as well as personal reflections on how each were affected by this time. Please be prayerful for this evening that hearts can be touched and that they can have a safe and quiet(with a puppy in the backseat) drive home tomorrow. Thanks for all of your support!

Also, as a side note, we are ordering youth sizes (s,m, and l), 2XL, and 3XL of our merchandise so everyone feels welcome to spread the joy of this ministry. This ranch's priority in reaching out to the community is based around giving everyone from every background an equal opportunity to enjoy our horses; this includes our ranch t-shirts and gear :)
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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Transitions today

This is one of our first posts where we are actually posting about what happened less than a couple of hours ago! A group from a local business called Transitions visited our ranch.

"We provide an array of services to help people of all ages and all abilities. Whether you have a loved one with a developmental delay, you need job skills training, or you have challenges surrounding the care of an elderly parent, we can help."

--Mark Schmitz, Associate Executive Director

They brought six kids with mental and physical disabilities to ride our horses: Zach, Aaron, Jami, Nikki, Maverick, and Levi. They rode Victor and Louis and seemed to enjoy petting the puppies and caressing the fur onto their cheek and face. Maverick was so interesting to watch. As we told him it was his turn to ride and showed him in sign language, he jumped from his chair and gathered his balance to walk toward the steps. With agility and help from Shannon, Eric, and Tate, he set his foot in the stirrup and swung his leg behind him to set into the opposite stirrup. And with two side walkers he took his turn with a smile from ear to ear. Because he is blind, we could tell he enjoyed feeling the horse below him and sometimes would even close his eyes to become more in tune with the feeling. It continues to feel amazing to see these kids and their helpers enjoy the animals and watch them open their hearts to the horses and puppies. We may not have any idea what their past has been or their future may hold, but we know that they are silently pouring their hearts out in trust to these blessed animals. Keep these kids in your prayers!

Monday, July 21, 2008

New T-shirt Designs

Would you like one of these cute shirts, or two, or three, or four? We just recieved these three new t-shirts designed by Riggalicious. The first picture is of the front of each of the shirts and the second pic is of their backs. To share the news about His Ranch in a silent witness, we welcome whoever is interested in buying one of these shirts, a brown sweatshirt, a brown rugged cap, a camo hat, or a pink hat (all embroidered with the His Ranch logo). The t-shirt prices are $10, sweatshirts are $25, caps are $15, and if you might add a little for the shipping that would be great. We are so thankful God has blessed us so richly with this opportunity and thank you for all of your support and prayers.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

More Hay...

We recently were able to buy some hay from a farmer here in Taylor. However, our need for alfalfa-hay will never expire as we use it every day. We would prefer that the hay would be in square bales, but we are not picky with that which is donated! Big round bales will also work! Thanks so much for your prayers and interest! You'll never know how much it is appreciated and needed! Pray not only for our needs/wants, but also for the spiritual well-being of Susan & Shannon Haerr, staff, and all others involved at the ranch. Thanks again!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Noah's First Lesson!


Willie comes out about once a week to work with the horses. This week, Willie helped Sarah, Javon, and Alicia work with haltering and leading the fillies. Here Willie and Javon are working with the colt named Noah, teaching him how to walk with the lead rope.
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Best Pals...


At the end of the lesson, Javon and Noah pose for a picture. A lot was accomplished even in the first day of lessons. Yes, it was a GREAT day!
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Ornery Little Girl!


Upon first getting to know the foal named Genesis, one sees how spirited and ornery she is. The first day of handling the foal with a halter and lead rope started off a little crazy as Genesis broke the water bucket. During the lesson Alicia started to teach Genesis how to turn with the lead rope.
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Sweet Thing!


By the end of the day Genesis, who earlier would not even let you touch her, was nose to nose with Alicia and willing to receive kisses. She really is a sweet thing! We are hoping that she will be as good with the children as her mother, Cheyenne, is.
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Monday, July 7, 2008

Our last bale

The ranch is sending out a plea for hay! If we had the time we would take a picture of what used to be a T-hanger garage full of hay. And as of right now, we have one bale in the far corner. So if there is anyone who would be willing to fill this need we would appreciate it. God is good in whatever that happens. And thank you all for your continued support and prayers.

Friday, July 4, 2008

how much is that doggy in the window?..arf...arf!!





The ranch has been blessed since about a month ago with 13 purebread labrador puppies. Java, their chocolate mother, is a sweet dog and has made friends with all the animals here including the new foals. Their father is a black lab and is owned by the ranch founder's sister from her kennel. We are hoping to find each of these curious little guys a home and thought this blog might be a good way of spreading the word. In all there are 10 black and 3 chocolate. For the black little ones there are five male and five female. And for the chocolate, there are 1 male and 2 female. We would love to hear from you if there is any interest. Our contact information is listed on our website at the link on the left of this page.
By their pictures you can see they have a lot of personality and play well with people. Each have been dewormed, fully registered, up-to-date on their shots, and have been checked over by a licensed veterinarian. If you would like more information or other pictures, feel free to let us know. And also, they are each incredibly different. So if you'd rather have a larger one or smaller one, we are likely to be able to accommodate you. These puppies and their mom have been an amazing addition to our ministry with smaller children and others whose personalities are well suited for dogs. They have been handled with small children and adults. And they seem to get along well with other animals as well. Thanks for reading and we'll be keeping you posted on our upcoming events :)
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Tuesday, July 1, 2008

New Beginnings



In the wee hours of the morning on June 16, Cheyenne delivered a foal. The filly was named Genesis, signifying the first birth at HIS Ranch. Just a few days later on June 19, Reva, another mare at HIS Ranch, gave birth to a colt. He was named Noah, signifying the flooding of the Mississippi River. It was amazing to see God's faithfulness in bringing two healthy foals into this world, even in the midst of the straining battle against the rising river.
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A Moment of Peace


Like many of the Taylor residents, Norman Haerr was working every day to fight the rising Mississippi and Fabby Rivers. Yet even in the midst of it all, Norman was able to take a moment to watch the peaceful scenes of new foals and their mothers bonding together. The births of the foals were joyful distractions from the strains of a possible flood. Births are always reminders of God's wonderful plan in the way He created each life as precious.
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Thursday, June 26, 2008