Sonora, CA– A unique program in Tuolumne County is bringing together special kids and special horses.
Rehorse Rescue Ranch in Jamestown and Tuolumne County Child Welfare Services recently launched Hands and Hooves. It’s a program that partners abused and neglected horses with kids aged 8-17 who have also experienced abuse and neglect.
Annie Hockett, Child Welfare Services supervisor says the program started in June with nine participants, and the second 8-week session started in September with thirteen. Several children in the first session have even come back for a second time to serve as youth mentors.
Rehorse Rescue Ranch director Raquelle Van Vleck says she’s very proud of the Hands and Hooves program.
“We have the kids come out to the ranch for three hours once a week,” said Van Vleck. “We do normally an hour of education, an hour of chores, and an hour of fun stuff with the horses. We have had some amazing healing and growth with both the kids and the animals. It’s been absolutely awesome.”
Hockett says the program has received a grant from the YES Partnership and will continue to seek additional donations to keep Hands and Hooves going strong.
“One really powerful thing we have seen with the kids is that they can really connect to some of these horses because they share a similar story,” said Hockett. “It’s been a really powerful program all around.”
For more information on the Hands and Hooves program, contact Annie Hockett at (209) 533-7349.