Sharla Nightengale, the ranch's equine director, has been studying Parelli Natural Horsemanship for over ten years. She has spent time at the Parelli ranch and has also studied with several of their instructors.
The ranch believes that bonding and connecting with an animal can give the girls practice in building better relationships with their families. Horses are also like mirrors. If you have bottled up emotions inside, the horse will sense your fear or anger, and respond accordingly. Horses are also forgiving and live in the moment, so they are willing to give you a fresh start if you get control of your own feelings and are ready to be a good partner for them.
Sharla does horsemanship sessions with the girls as they progress through the ranch program. This starts out with grooming, then groundwork with the horse on a halter and lead rope or at liberty in a round pen, ponying the child while riding another horse, and finally, the girls are so excited when they are trusted to ride a horse by themselves.
Raising Hope Ranch thinks a lot of their equine friends, and they are a very integral part of every girl's healing process.