Leading with Love: Wranglers Testimonials
Written by 14 year-old Junior Volunteer and Becca Leavy
"Have you ever felt overwhelmed, like there are a bunch of little things you need to get right? Or have you felt like if you don't get those things right, something bad would happen, or you'd ruin something? Maybe people would be upset or angry with you? Or you just need some help? I felt all these while teaching a miniature pony to circle.
I was a part of the Wranglers Program this Spring where I and a few other Junior Volunteers had the opportunity to learn how to train 5 miniature horses over the course of 5 days. During Wranglers Day 4, we were teaching our minis to do the Circling Game. Circling Game is similar to lunging where you send your horse out and have them walk in a circle around you. During Circling you need respect and for your pony to focus on you. Mine was not.
My mini horse, Bullseye, started out great but as we progressed, he decided to test me and see if he could get away with being naughty. Clearly, I was supposed to be teaching Bullseye to circle, but he ended up teaching me a lesson about myself.
I was so afraid if I did it wrong I would mess him up and ruin his training. I didn't take time to stop and think things through before it all got bundled up in my head. Carissa noticed I was having trouble and asked me to take a break and run around. For horses, moving their feet helps them think, and surprisingly, that works with people too! She told me I was overthinking, and named basically everything related to that which I struggle with. It really helped me to think about how my relationship with God was at that time, too.
During my circling, I never thought, "Ok if I pray and ask God for help maybe this would get better." Instead, I was too focused on "What if I ruin his training?", and "Am I doing this correctly?" What I needed to do was ask God for help.
God used Bullseye to help me realize that I needed Him in the moment. He helped me see that when I pray and ask for help, He will help me. Psalm 121:2 says "My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth." As we continued, Bullseye did great because my help didn't come from any of the leaders or myself. It came from God."
-Written by 14 year-old Junior Volunteer
"I started writing the Wranglers Program in the Summer of 2022. I had just stepped away from leading Junior Ranchers and in a small way, my heart was grieving. I still was in the mindset of coming up with session ideas and needing to write a plan each week. I talked to one of my previous co-Session Leaders and she told me that I should keep writing session plans and see what God does with them. Not too long after that Carissa, our Director, told me about an opportunity to train miniature ponies and how we could turn it into a program for young teens. I offered to write the program and got to work on it. When I was writing it I never thought it would actually get used but God has been incredibly gracious to me. Over spring break through all the cold weather, I got to lead this program for five amazing young girls.
Our goal was to take horsemanship and use it as a mirror to our relationship with God and that could not be communicated without God’s presence.
I prayed before and throughout that week more than I ever had in my life. I am completely incapable of leading this program but God is not. I’m still in awe looking back on the week and seeing how God brought me to it and carried me through it. I wrote this program to help others but I feel like it helped me the most. I’ve learned to draw closer to God and lead with love, patience, and great care. I’m so proud of the girls that participated and I hope they continue to grow afterward."
-Written by Becca Leavy, Volunteer