The horse pulled back his ears, a sign he was clearly upset. Standing face to face in the middle of a large pasture, the horse sensed Justin’s aggression and anger. Justin, a big kid who just turned 14, took a few steps back and calmed down. The horse responded. His ears flopped back to normal and, after a few minutes, he walked up to Justin.
The two stood side by side for more than 30 minutes while Justin recounted the story about his mother’s abuse. He cried. The horse listened patiently. “How did it go?” a counselor’s aid later asked. “The horse didn’t run away did he? Well, I won’t run either if you want to tell me your story.”
Justin’s earliest memory in life was his mom hitting him. She would hit him just to wake him up for school every day. “That’s how all kids woke up for school,” he assumed. Until school officials noticed his bruises and investigated his case, Justin had no idea his childhood wasn’t normal. Kids have no frame of reference and assume they deserve what happens to them. They also learn to treat others the way they have been treated.
Working with the staff at Mustard Seed Ranch, Justin has begun the healing process. Reaching out for help only happened after he was able to begin trusting again. The horses were the beginning of this connecting process.
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