Wings of Hope Ranch helps children soar outside of the classroom

Posted at 10:13 AM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 10:16:13-04

MONTPELIER, Va. -- Allison Boyd will tell you small miracles can happen when you ride a horse.

"I guess what always amazes me, after 15 years of doing this, is just the simplicity of it," said Boyd, the founding director of Wings of Hope Ranch.

The ranch is a Christian ministry that rescues and rehabilitates neglected horses, and uses them to help children facing conflicts or challenges, free of charge.

"While we don't fully understand all of it, horses, especially rescue horses that are kind of on their own second chance stories, are very inspirational for kids who are feeling like they've been through a lot," said Boyd.

Kids like a first grader named Grey. Her sensory issues were hurting her ability to concentrate during school.

But Grey's relationship with Cody, a show horse until he lost his sight, is helping her focus.

Since coming to the ranch, Grey’s grades have improved along with her focus.

"I really like history and science. And horses," Grey said with a giggle.

Kim Alford from South University volunteers at the ranch, along with occupational therapy assistant students.

She'll tell you overcoming sensory challenges, trauma and other obstacles can help kids excel in the classroom and in society.

“I have the privilege because I bring out occupational therapy assistant students from South University,”said Alford.“So I get to see them learn clinically as they practice what they learn in the classroom with the kids here."

Boyd gets emotional telling you about the breakthroughs she sees in some kids.

“It’s watching God working. And hearing the parents say 'this is the only thing that's ever helped my kid. This child has been on medication, and this child has struggled in school and all their social relationships, but whatever you guys are doing there... we've got to keep our kids coming to this.'"

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