Amanda and Christopher Moore bought two horses and moved to Rio Verde to rebuild their struggling marriage. They had no idea where this was about to lead them.
Amanda watched the wild horses that lived in the Rio Verde area (not the Salt River horses) and started to learn their behaviors. Maricopa County was responsible for the herd and decided to wrangle them up due to damage they caused to people’s homes and safety issues for motorists on Rio Verde Drive. The Moores stepped into the situation and took in 67 feral horses to adopt out.
While trying to adopt them out, something unusual started to happen. Neighborhood kids began showing up after school to help care for the horses. Amanda did not know these kids, but day after day, they came and started sharing the stories of their lives, their hardships, and their deep wounds. Amanda noticed that something about the horses calmed the kids and made them feel comfortable.
The Moores decided to honor what was organically coming to life and started their nonprofit, Reigning Grace Ranch, with twelve horses. Unbeknownst to them, trauma therapists in the area were sending kids to them when they got stuck in their therapy sessions. Amanda and Christopher took heed and got certified to provide the therapy these kids needed.
At the heart of what they do, Reigning Grace teaches kids to love themselves and how to get rooted in their identity so they can learn how to conquer anything. There is no judgment, and kids from all walks of life are welcome. If the kids want to ride, they must learn how to care for the horses and help with the chores. There is more gratification when they accomplish difficult tasks, and they learn that if they want something, they must work for it.
Reigning Grace serves ages 6-18 in their program. They also offer marriage equine therapy, grief and trauma therapy, and team-building experiences for corporate groups.
The organization relies 100% on donations, most of which come from individuals. People can also donate through the Arizona tax credit program, and volunteers at the ranch are always needed. Their two paid staff members and 137 active volunteers help care for 20 acres and the 65 horses that live there.
For more information, visit azrgr.org.