LITHIA (FOX13) - Debbie Sturgill has two passions in life: kids and her five horses. At Gaits of Hope Ranch, those two loves converge.
The ranch is open Monday through Friday to foster children. Each child gets to work one-on-one with the buddy of their choice.
"They don't care what you look like, what color you are, how much money you have. They are just in the moment with you right now, being their authentic non-judgemental self," Sturgill said.
Turns out, most of Sturgill's rescues have experienced heartache themselves.
"They all have a story. Just like all these kids that have been through traumatic experiences of no fault of their own. They all have a story," she said.
Sturgill walks the children through equine therapy. In the process, the horses teach them a lot about themselves.
"They're going to mirror back what you're putting out," she said.
Through each encounter, Sturgill says her horses teach kids to trust again.
"With these special talents they give us, they can help us walk through our journey. And I don't mean by hopping on their backs and riding them. It's just working with them, it teaches us so much about ourselves," she smiled.
For more information on Gaits of Hope Ranch, visit www.gaitsofhoperanch.org