Testimonials

 

RACHEL’S TESTIMONIAL

With education comes opportunities. And for those who cannot stand idly by and feel they must work to solve the world’s problems, putting their education to good use is critically important. In our society the highly-educated often do not give back enough to their communities and do not see how lucky they are to be where they are in life. If someone is lucky enough to have opportunities to achieve education and wealth it is necessary to give back. In my life I am lucky to have been touched by an incredibly selfless and giving individual. When I was in middle school studying to become a Bat Mitzvah, I was required to do community service. This wasn’t a problem for me. I had been involved with numerous organizations through my temple for years. I was already versed in the idea of “Tikkun Olam,” which translates as “healing the world.” I also have a deep love for animals so when my mother’s friend, Rose Sullivan, who owns a farm suggested I volunteer, I jumped at the chance.

Over the course of my time working with Rose on her farm, I got to know Rose well and I was able to experience her kindness and love for humanity. Rose was born in Argentina and found a true love in God. She became and still is to this day a devout Christian. Through her love of religion she found it necessary for her journey to help all those she could. Soon she became a licensed nurse and gave to her community in immense ways. She periodically travels to other countries to do humanitarian work and helps to rebuild communities closer to home as well. Once she moved to Oregon,  she pursued her love for horses and volunteers her horses for equine therapy, where a psychologist connects people to horses to help patients work through their hardships.

Rose also started a rescue organization out of her house; she takes in abused or unwanted animals. Her home is a safe haven for animals of all kinds. Her kindness does not stop at animals. Over the years she has also helped many young people who were down on their luck either struggling from drug and alcohol addiction or had severe problems with their
families. Rose gave them jobs on her farm in an effort to rehabilitate them and help them find their place in society. She has also gone on missions with her church to Central America to help provide medical care to indigent people, and distributes necessities to the homeless. Through working with Rose and getting to know her, she taught me the importance of giving back. I realize how fortunate I am to be financially comfortable and have access to education. Rose gave me the insight into how to do my part in helping heal the world.

 

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JERRY’S TESTIMONIAL

Dear Rose: I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful time my wife and I had visiting the Helping Hands Horse Rescue and Equine Therapy ranch. Your love and caring for others and your animals was evident the first time we meet you. Your gift for working with animals is amazing. Your hard work has created an oasis for others to come and visit and lose themselves and their worries behind as they interact with the animals.

I am a Vietnam Nam veteran, dealing with PTSD, anxiety disorder, clinical depression and have been battling cancer for the last 8 years. Some days are better than others, but what I noticed when I was petting the horses, colts, chickens, and seeing the bunnies, chicks and getting to hold a baby goat was that, I felt nothing but joy and happiness. It was like I was a little kid again, nothing else mattered in that moment, but being with the animals.

I have visited Helping Hands Rescue four times and each time I have a new and rewarding experience. I come away with a calmness and a sense of well being. When I am with the animals I can see that each one has part of you in them. They create a calm, caring, loving atmosphere.

Thank you for sharing your dream of Helping Hands Horse Rescue and Equine Therapy ranch with us and the others who have had the opportunity to visit. You and your animals are very special and you are making a difference in peoples lives, you have in ours.

Thank you for all your hard work that goes in to running Helping Hands Horse Rescue and your caring and sharing that with others.

Sincerely,

Jerry Cowart

 

CARRIE’S TESTIMONIAL

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There is so much feeling inside in regards to the Farm it is very difficult for me to put it into words.  In short, the farm is my sanctuary.  It seems to be the one place that I am able to make a break form my life at home and turn off everything I have left behind.  It is the one place I can stand in the midst of the beauty of God’s creation knowing He is there and I will see Him when I seek Him there.  My husband is my only link to real life when I am there as he is not able to spend as much time with us due to work.  I am very blessed he allows our girls and I all the time in the summer we want to go hang out on the farm.
Jimmy – I never really understood what equine therapy was when I first met Rose and she said that is what she does.  I had a once in a lifetime experience with a horse named Jimmy on her farm in California.  I know God put me on that hillside one day to do a work in my heart.  I knew I was going to tell my troubles to one of the horses that day but didn’t know which one.  I also knew I didn’t want an audience as there were a few others on the farm that day.  I walked to the bottom coral where a big brown horse was watching me.  I just started praying as I hung on the fence.  I dumped core on an issue that involved 4 people who had deeply hurt my daughter and I and it had turned into a deep seeded hatred that had me full of anger.  As I prayed for God to take my anger and help me to forgive these people as I didn’t see how as none thought they did any wrong.  So hard to forgive those who don’t acknowledge any wrong doing.  Anyway, as I hung on the rail, praying and crying, this horse never broke contact with me.  He pressed the side of his face to mine, pulled my shoulder with his chin, breathed in my ear. He was doing his best to hug me as I told him my story.  When I was done and had actually released my anger to God, I looked at this horse and he was smiling at me!  I knew it was God smiling at me telling me He was there and this moment was for me.  He was proud of me and smiled through this horse to prove it.  God spoke so deeply into my heart that day in a time I wasn’t even sure He was listening as this hatred was so deep and strong and dark.  I am so thankful I had my camera with me as I took a picture of this God smile.  At some point another horse came up behind him and he reared up his back legs kicking until the other horse walked away.  I was shocked as the ground under my feet shook.  He them gently walked back to me and hung his head to my chest letting me know he was back with me.  I remember being shocked at this incredible display of power as he chased the other horse away from us.  I realized that as I hung over the fence with my eyes closed only caught up in my own drama, I blindly trusted a massive animal I did not know that could have bitten my ear off as easily as he breathed his warm breath into it.  As I got back into my head and studied the smile, I thought it was just that he was old and his lip was saggy and I just hadn’t noticed it at first.  As I later met with Rose in the house, we talked about what had just happened.  I asked her the name of the “big brown horse at the bottom of the hill that looks like he stepped in motor oil up to his elbows as his legs are black.  The one with the saggy lip that looks like he smiles.  She looked at me like I was crazy.  She has about 40 horsed, many were brown and ALL of them were big.  I showed her the picture.  She laughed and said it was Jimmy but she had never seen him smile before.  At that moment it was confirmed that it was God smiling at me through Jimmy!
Soon after this Rose moved her farm to Oregon.  I assumed I would never see her or Jimmy again as Oregon is so far away.  Rose and I bonded during the time I had helped her pack up and get ready for the move.  Actually, I offered to help her so I could spend time with the animals on breaks.  She quickly became the sister I never had.  Almost from the start she has felt like family and has welcomed and accepted my family into her home and her life.  She said we would have to come visit but I wasn’t sure how it would happen.   As I had kept talking about the amazing experience I had with Jimmy and wanting to see him again, or have God speak to me again through him, my husband encouraged me to take our girls up for a visit as he could not take time off work to go with us.  I had never done anything like that before but I drove 1,000 miles to see Jimmy and Rose, of course.  We were only able to stay for 8 days.  It was the most amazing time I had ever had.  It was a great adventure for me and my girls.  20 acres, 40+ horses, baby goats and their mammas, bunnies, chickens, roosters, ducks.  Rose welcomed up with open arms and gave us carte blanch to her home and her farm.  The day after we arrived, I went in search of Jimmy.  I was almost desperate to have God speak to me again.  After searching almost the entire farm, I was in the last coral with about 8 horses who were almost all all the right color but had fly masks so I couldn’t see their faces.  I was a bit overwhelmed when I realized I was completely surrounded by these beautiful horses who all wanted my attention.  I started talking in an attempt to keep myself calm.  I was scratching a horse that I thought could be Jimmy but he wasn’t smiling.  I said, “I think this is you Jimmy but I really need to see you smile so I know for sure it is you.”  I was in shock as he turned his head towards me with a huge smile!  From that moment on, I knew that was only the first of many visits to the farm.  I have not had another encounter like the one on the hill in CA, but I know that is where I feel closest to Him as all encumbrances of my life are not present.
 We jumped in with any chore Rose allowed us to do.  Helping with feedings, filling water buckets, pulling weeds, mucking stalls, feeding babies.  We work our butts off and love it.  It has become my mission each trip to rid the property of the Tansy Ragwort that is poisonous to horses.  After 3 summers I feel I have finally gotten the upper hand on that weed!  That has been a very fulfilling accomplishment for me.  I am in awe as my daughters find their favorite animals and complete the jobs they are given. I am not sure if they share the same love for horses that I have but they love being able to walk a horse anywhere it may need to be moved too.  The confidence they feel in being able to lead a massive animal is huge.  I must say that one of our favorite chores has been imprinting upon the baby pygmy goats.  They are sooo cute and adorable.  Well, there is also feeding the foal whose mamma wasn’t producing enough milk for him, and then assisting CJ, the goat, as she struggled to deliver Miracle, who is named that as it is a miracle he survived as he was so big he was stuck and CJ wasn’t able to push him out, or Myla the sheep who doesn’t like people finally accept me and come to me for lovin.  It is also a tradition that we go to Winco and buy the 25lb. bags of carrots that we give to almost every animal for treats.  So many great moments.
Over the past 3 summers we have been blessed to have spent time on the farm, I love watching my girls as they grow in their self confidence as they interact with all of the animals from the small gentle animals to the horses.  We each have our favorites, Jimmy of course is still my number 1, but each one has a special place in my heart. We have also learned the hard lessons of life as there have been several deaths while we have been there. The birth of Miracle was definitely a counter to the deaths.  Praying during the year as some of the animals have struggles with illness has been a good life lesson too.
This fall I was given the opportunity to become the Farm Manager for a week while Rose was away.  I spent 15 days on the farm while I left my family at home to fend for themselves.  I had not been gone alone more that a weekend, ever.  I was thrilled yet scared as there was a huge responsibility in caring for 45 horses, 17 goats, 2 llamas, 1 black sheep, numerous chickens, ducks, roosters, turkeys, bunnies, 7 cats and 2 dogs.  I made it though the first full day on my own and told the woofer, “this was a great first day, nothing died”.  She thought it was odd, but I told her my fear was an animal getting hurt or dying while I was in charge.  She said, “yes, then it was a great day!”.  I am very proud of myself for taking on the responsibility as there were a few moments of anxiety.  I would take it to Jimmy.  I still can’t believe Rose would entrust all that she has to my care.  I guess I proved myself the previous summer when my girls and I were the Mon-Fri employee and the Woofer as they both suffered injuries that took them away from the farm.  I thought God had me there for that month to help Rose in their absence.  I had no clue that He was preparing me for these 15 days!  Again God has touched me through this farm.
I had struggled a bit as this last trip was coming to an end that I had missed what God had planned for me during these 15 days.  Yes, I had a restful time not having to take care of anyone but me, on my own schedule.  And being able to spend hours at a time without another human in sight was total peace.  The week after I got home there was a guest pastor speaking at church.  He dug into Psalm 23.  As he went in depth into each line of the psalm, it came to life for me as I could see a different area of the farm or an experience I had.  The green pastures were the tufts of grass miraculously emerging out of the horse poop.  The quiet waters were the stream at the bottom of the Mare’s pasture.  He described “other water”, as being vile and not safe to drink, this was the standing water in Anne and Princessa’s coral where the water had been trapped in the deep hoof prints in the mud as it had rained.  As this was not just water.  He definitely restored my soul with peace of mind.  The Valley of the Shadow of Death brought be back to the thunder storm that passed over the property the summer before and the while Rose was hours away, the 19 year old woofer and I had to walk 3 stallions from the hot walker to their stalls in the Big Barn.  There was a horizontal lightening bolt than traversed through the property between me, in the open arena, and the back tree line of the property.  The thunder was deafening.  If thunder struck at any time we were walking them, either one of us could have been killed.  We definably felt Gods hand of protection on us that day!  I now call the farm my Psalm 23 Sanctuary.
As my daughter Jessica is starting high school and we are talking about what she might like to do with her life, she says she wants to work with animals doing something like Rose does on her farm.  She doesn’t want to be a veterinarian, but a trainer or rescue.  Her plan at this point is to attend the America’s Teaching Zoo program at Moorpark College and the Arabian Horse Unit at Cal Poly Pomona.  God had given her an amazing role model to look up to.  Rose I thank you for the example you are for her as she grows and discovers what she wants to be.  She is hoping to intern with you in her college years.
From the very first visit in California Rose said it was a healing property.  I call it my sanctuary.  When I get stressed and I need to escape life, I revisit the farm through my pictures and videos.  The farm is such a part of who I am that it is in my thoughts on a daily basis.  I have the picture of Jimmy’s first smile on my fridge as a daily reminder of God’s love for me.  The wallpaper on my phone and email screen are farm pics.  I have come to see that the blessing of the farm is my reward for the painful trial that led me to that hilltop with Jimmy in the first place.  If that ugly hatred had not happened, I doubt that I would have ever considered driving 1,000 miles to see a horse smile.  Now it is just assumed that is where my girls and I will go every summer.
Thank you Rose for sharing your blessing with us by allowing us to make your farm, our farm.  I love you my dear sister.

RD’S TESTIMONIAL

Dear Rose,

I want to thank you for a great day on Saturday and your wonderful hospitality.  I had such a great time with the horses and thank you so much for your trust in me it means alot to me. My dearest friend Nancy has lead me down this path back to my roots with horses, I owe her so much especially introducing me to you. In the last year I lost 2 family members, when my grief counseler asked me what made me happiest, I told her it was my love of horses and she told me to reconnect, I called Nancy. She asked me to commit to 9 weeks and I did. In those weeks she helped me to come out of a deep depression and through her amazing horse and got back the confidence I had lost. Nancy has my best interest at heart and if that means bringing you and your amazing farm into my life I am truely grateful, Again Rose thank you so much for allowing me to enjoy.

Gratefully Yours,

R.D.

 

To understand more about how Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning can help you, please read this personal experience from a Helping Hands Horse rescue and Equine Therapy client:

CINDY’S TESTIMONIAL

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“Having had a worthwhile experience in a typical therapy setting, I was looking forward to participating in equine therapy. Without a doubt, it has been one of the greatest opportunities in my life. I have never been in such close contact with horses until Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, but I quickly adapted to working with the horses. I was extremely comfortable, which made the environment very relaxing and enjoyable to work in.

Working with Kim as my therapist and the other specialist Rose, I feel like they both gave me this great environment to work in and really supported my growth and confidence in working with the horses. Kim really made me feel like I was a part of the therapy process; she really got me to think about, analyze, and reflect over my behaviors and emotions.

Amazing cannot even begin describe working with the horses. They have an inexplicable sixth sense- they just know you and they can read into all of your emotions and thoughts. Through the different activities and exercises performed during the session, I felt a huge trust built with the horses, which also formed into a trust and confidence nurtured within myself. Through EAP, I was given the opportunity to layout what I wished to work on, whether it be relationships, self issues, or any other struggles. It was great to have the chance to translate the obstacles I faced with the horses into what was going on in my life. It really gave me the opportunity to see things so much more clearly than I ever could. With my experience, I would actually say that I prefer this type of therapy over ordinary therapy. More so, I have developed this strong love and appreciation for this amazing process and the horses in general.”

~Cindy S.

Jessica’s Testimonial

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Dear Rose,
  The farm is an awesome place to come.  I am always excited to come when we come up during the summers.  I love hanging out with the animals.  I feel relaxed when I am at the farm.  The animals help me think about problems and how to solve them.
   I love feeing the small animals in the mornings.  I also love to help feed the horses in the afternoon.  Hanging out with the animals gives me time to figure things out.
Jessica K.
Christina’s Testimonial
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 When I go to the farm during the summer, it always feels welcoming.  My favorite thing to do there is sit in the goat pen and read a book or hang out with the goats.  For me, when I go there, it is like a break from all the stress and anxieties of my everyday life at home and from school.. All of the animals seem to understand and listen to you.  Most of all, I enjoy being around animals and on the farm I am surrounded by animals of all kinds.  The farm makes me feel welcome and I love to go there.
Christina Knight, age 12

HERE ARE SOME PICTURE TESTIMONIALS FROM CHILDREN WHO HAVE VISITED THE FARM

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