*Names and some details have been changed

“She has a rough story,” her now foster mom says as we talk on the phone.

And as she continues, the word “rough” fails miserably to describe this 10 yr. old child’s life.

Amera’s mother has been a prostitute all of Amera’s life.  This led to sexual abuse by her mother’s clientele which in turn,understandably, led to an ingrained distrust of adults and authority. The abuse began at age 3 and continued up until she was finally placed in the foster care system.  She was then transferred to 3 different homes over the next 4 months.  Her father is an alcoholic who has been prohibited from speaking with her since he threatened to kill her the last time they had talked.

“Could she come and spend some time with the horses? I think it may help,” says her foster mother.

The time is set; she will come once a week for one hour.

6 months earlier…

“He has a rough story,” his owner says as we look at the little stout red paint horse before us.  “He was a child lesson horse at a riding stable before he was sold to a nearby farmer.”

And as the story goes on, once again the word “rough” is inadequate.

She goes on to explain how the farmer got on Shiloh and spurred him to go get the cows from the pasture.  Shiloh, not ever having known spurs before, bucked the farmer off.  The farmer, in his anger and frustration, tied Shiloh to a post and beat him until he stopped struggling and simply stood there. He then left him tied to the pole with no food or water, where he may have died without the help of this caring person standing before me.

“Do you want him for the ranch?  I know he won’t be able to be ridden without some work, but I think it may be good for him to stay with you.”

And Shiloh arrived at the Ranch.  Afraid, distrusting, he often stood in the corner of the corral with his back to the gate.  When anyone would enter, he would shudder and turn away. After many days of quiet interaction, while gaining weight and healing from his wounds, the most he would do is turn and face whoever entered the corral.

Back to the present…

Amera showed up for her lesson, a beautiful girl with dark curls and dark eyes.

“Would you like to meet the horses?” Josie asks.  “You may play with anyone that you want.”  As Amera surveys the herd, her eyes fall on our beloved Thunder.  At 17 hands tall and 2200 pounds, he is a jet black, gentle giant whose idea of heaven is to be scratched while eating.

“I think I would like hi….,” but that is as far as the words got out of Amera’s mouth before a white nose blocked her view of the massive Thunder.  She moved to peer around Shiloh as he has come between her and her choice.  She points again to Thunder, “The big black o…,” and again a white nose blocked her view.  Shiloh breathes deeply, his nose only inches from hers, as if completely taking in who this little girl is.


A slight giggle.

“I think I need to take this one.  He won’t let me choose anyone else.  He chose me!”

And with that, a little red paint horse has obediently followed the will of his Master and chosen to reach out to a kindred spirit.   His experience will now be used by God to help heal another.

Josie and Amera carefully approached Shiloh with the halter.  He stood quietly and accepted its placement on his head.  Leading Shiloh slowly to the hitching post, Josie glanced over at me, standing by the fence watching, and raised her eyebrows.  Amazement at Shiloh’s behavior was written all over her face.

Later, while brushing Shiloh’s now glossy and smooth coat, and after solemnly listening to his story, Amera looked up at Josie with those dark eyes and asked, “He doesn’t have any scars from the farmer?”  “No” says my wife, “not on the outside, but he still has scars on the inside that have not yet healed.”


A whisper, “I know. Me too.”

And with that simple statement, the wounds start to heal in her little heart.  The scars that no one can see, that we think no one else knows, God knows.  And through a horse’s choice of a little girl, I knew that He had chosen to share her scars with a horse that understood what those unseen scars can do.

She has a long way to go, but, in time, maybe, God will choose to share someone else’s unseen wounds with Amera, and He will allow her to be His tool to start the healing in another that she has started to experience now.


Amera was the only little one that Shiloh ever chose.  Having so many people in and out of his safe place, the corral, began to be too much for him and he started to retreat into fear again.  Recognizing this situation, we made the difficult choice to find Shiloh a new home.  A home with one owner that he could build a lifelong trust relationship with.  A haven where he would never have to be afraid again. After many months of searching, that home was found and Shiloh continues to thrive and grow.

The victory for Amera came when we were able to participate in and witness her baptism into new life and healing through a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Her road has been hard and long, but we continue to pray that the seeds that were planted in her heart, when God led a little horse to choose her, will someday bear much fruit.

Published in: on July 12, 2008 at 6:29 pm  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Dude…you have a way with words. I just cried. How awesome to see how God is using you guys, and what an amazing ministry. I’m linking to your blog from mine.

    My parents live in Greeley now. I see that they’re not too far from where you’re at. Next time we go out there for a visit, I’d LOVE to come out there and see you guys.

    Blessings on you both…

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