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What is Restoration Reins?

Restor​ation Reins is just one facet of the many treatment methods we use at Blazing Hope Ranch. We utilize equine-assisted mentoring to teach residents from Blazing Hope Ranch and other counter-trafficking programs key developmental and relational skills. 

Horses may be big and may seem intimidating, but they are sensitive to people's energy and can respect the boundary of even a gentle touch. It takes patience, determination, a calm-yet-confident spirit, and a willingness to keep showing up and showing love (even if the horse is being a little bit difficult) to build a solid relationship with a horse. And all of these traits can be things that are negatively impacted by trauma.

Working with horses through equine-assisted mentoring can help residents build important skills that will apply to many areas of their lives, such as confidence, endurance, and better self-awareness. Here are the horses that help make that possible! 


Chase is one of the first two horses we got here at Blazing Hope Ranch. In 2016, he was in a field in the Cleveland area where his owner couldn't care for him anymore. A friend of the ranch picked him up and brought him to the ranch, where he has gone on to participate in two summers of Camp Run Free and win the hearts of many. 

He wasn't so friendly when he first got here, though. He used to charge anyone that came near him. It took months of consistent food, water, and exposure to people before we could touch him. 


Since then, this dwarf mini horse has grown into his big horsenality.  He's curious and explorative, and shocks people who expect less sass from such an adorable package. We lovingly call him the ranch punk or mascot depending on the day. He will often throw his head while he prances around trying to show us all his "fabio" hair and how big he thinks he is.

Chase is quick to connect with people and very sensitive to human movements, which makes him easy to train. He teaches residents to be intentional and light in their movements which helps their body awareness and mindfulness. He loves relationship and wants to please, which also shows residents that they are valuable and worthy.

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Prince was donated to Blazing Hope Ranch in 2017 and is our oldest horse at 36 years old! This past summer was his first time at Camp Run Free. Prince came to the Ranch after his previous owner’s husband died and his care became too much for her to manage. She wanted to make sure he came to a good home. 

When we first got Prince, my daughter, then 9 years old, was the only one who could approach him without food. We had to be really intentional to approach him slowly and gently. To this day he tends to be a little nervous around new people and is quick to run away if he feels unsafe.  


He teaches relationship well because he's tough to work with if he senses you're more about task than relationship. Residents have to be focused on connecting with him on a personal level before catching him to work or ride. One resident said, “I think God used Prince to teach me to slow down, be still, be present, and that I'm going to be okay.”


Trigger is owned by a horse-training friend of the Ranch as a personal horse for one of her children, who has since grown up and left home. She wanted him to come to the Ranch because she knew his horsenality would be a perfect fit for our program and an asset to the residents, so in 2022 he came here to live and has participated in three summers of Camp Run Free. 

Trigger is a lot of fun, but if you want to keep up with him you've got to stay on your toes. He's inquisitive and requires assertive leadership. He'll test the boundaries to see if you're willing to be tough with him, but enjoys connecting with good leaders. As the king of the herd, Trigger has to be reminded that the human is actually in charge. 

Trigger teaches those who work with him to be calm, present, and assertive. When residents have been dysregulated, he lets them know he's not okay with that.


Residents that are most drawn to Trigger tend to have vibrant personalities themselves, and understand his need for structure and leadership. They are able to laugh at his antics while setting safe boundaries at the same time. 

"Trigger helps me calm down and be less anxious."


She is phenomenal at teaching our more quiet residents to step up in assertiveness. Fellina won't take advantage of them if they don't set boundaries, but also doesn't feel safe without them. She has taught residents that boundaries are a way to show love and build relationship.

Fellina is the only mare of the whole bunch at BHR.  She came in 2022 from the same horse trainer that Trigger came from, and has also participated in three summers of Camp Run Free.

Fellina loves a engaging her mind. She's not very confident, so she thrives with a calm leader who sets consistent boundaries. She enjoys connecting with people, and also seems to enjoy the attention she gets from the male herd. 

Every year, the kids at Camp Run Free fall in love with her. One said, “Fellina likes to pretend she is her own leader. When her and I fell in love she started to trust me and let me lead her! She's my favorite forever.”



Peanut came in September of 2022 from the same trainer as Fellina and Trigger, and has helped for three years of Camp Run Free. Before that, he was an Amish buggy horse. 

Peanut is a little fearful and needs his people to be patient, but wants to make them happy. It's so rewarding when you get him to trust you. Once you're connected with him he loves scratches and belly rubs and will even get so relaxed that his nose is on the ground!


He's got a lot of physical stamina, and more 'go' than 'woah'. He can work through any task you throw at him. His sweet eyes can look deep into your soul. 


You have to be focused on relationship in order to catch him, and sometimes even that takes a while. He's great at teaching patience. He's also an overcomer, which the ladies at the ranch relate to. “When you allow yourself to trust again, there’s nothing you can’t do!”


He is teaching his lady to be steadfast through consistent assertiveness. She says, “he has taught me how to open up and love again.”

Sterling came from the horse trainer that Trigger, Fellina, and Peanut came from. She supports our program and felt Sterling would be an awesome addition. He came to stay in September of 2023 and has helped at Camp Run Free for three years.

Sterling is eager to please and loves to be a part of things. He is beautiful and incredibly intelligent, and prefers a confident leader because he can be easily scared and is very sensitive to cues. He also loves mints, and can hear the wrapper from a hundred yards away! 


One of his favorite things to do is jump barrels. One day his lady decided to have him jump over the barrels and he just kept doing it. She started calling him her magical unicorn after that day.



Wendell came from the same trainer as Trigger, Fellina, Peanut, and Sterling. He came to stay in September of 2023 and has helped for three years of Camp Run Free

Wendell is the strong silent type. He's confident and doesn’t need to prove himself, and prefers relationship over task. One resident describes him as, “quiet, social, challenging, interested, and stubborn… sunshine after the rain and hope for what is ahead.”  Wendell can do amazing things and is happy to please others as long as there is a relationship there.

The shortest resident was paired with him. At first she wasn't interested in working with him because, at 17 hands high, he's a big horse! Since then, though, she has grown in confidence. When we needed to treat his feet for thrush, she marched right up to him and tried to pick up his foot. He just stared back at her. When she took a breath and took a minute to connect with him first, he was more than happy to lift his foot for her. 


“Wendell has taught me so much about myself. To be mindful, aware, to trust, to build relationship and friendship, to set boundaries. Most of all he has helped me build confidence in myself. He brings me love, joy, peace, kindness and compassion. Most of all he has brought healing and has done it freely.”


He is a ginormous horse and yet so gentle. He teaches confidence and tenacity. One lady said, “He is a remarkable creature. He is an overcomer and has made a huge impact on my recovery.”

Jerry came to live at the Ranch on October 6th, 2023. He was originally bred to be an Amish buggy horse, but was sold to a carriage company because of his conformation. He was then found to have shivers, and was sold to the Chattanooga Carriage Company, where he got to see the sights and was greatly loved.  They, in turn, donated his use to Blazing Hope Ranch so he could retire from having to get on a horse trailer every weekend and pull people around the city.

Jerry has been called the “Gentle Giant”. He is peaceful and still and not easily flustered. One time we played Red Light, Green Light with the horses, and added Purple Light which meant to dance. The lady holding Jerry was dancing and feeling silly but Jerry was standing there calmly looking down with what she perceived as concern. 

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