You remember a while back I reviewed a book named 'Bridge called Hope'? Well, there is actually a kind of prequel to 'Bridge called Hope' and it is titled, 'Hope Rising.' It's written by the same lady; Kim Meeder. She and her husband Troy run a ranch in Oregon, called Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch. They rescue abused, starving and sick 'beyond' recovery horses, and pair them with children of all ages (including that age we call 'adult') who are hurting - physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
'Hope Rising' tells many stories - all 100% true - about children, youth and adults who have come to the ranch, broken and hopeless. There they have opportunity to groom, ride and spend time with a horse. Somehow animals seem to sense a persons feelings, and when these hurting people spend time with these horses, something happens. They feel loved, wanted, and needed.
The very first story in the book is of a young boy, whose father abused him terribly. He had never known love in his life. Kim took him over to one of their horses, and together they groomed and saddled the horse, Hobbs. Kim showed him how to hold the reins, and what to do. Suddenly, the horse literally reached his neck around the little boy and hugged him.
'...For a brief moment , this battered child was allowed to be nothing more than a little boy who was loved by a pony. Adam's head slowly dropped until it rested against Hobbs' neck. Like a whispered prayer, more to himself than to anyone else, he began saying over and over, "He likes me...he likes me...he likes me." ...Moments passed and the boy's hug melted into long strokes on both sides of the pony's neck. The stony tomb that had once imprisoned Adam's heart began to crumble under newfound love... With his arms still around the pony, he turned and looked up at me. "He likes me!" he said again. But this time he said it out loud, with a convincing sparkle in his eyes...'
This book also tells stories of horse rescues, of horse races, of hope, and other stories related to life on the ranch. It tells of an 'ordinary girl' who made it her mission to rescue some dying horses; it tells of a grandfather who had a horse named after him; it tells of a girl who was abused, who found hope in coming to the ranch, and whose prayers for a horse were miraculously answered. It tells stories of hope rising.
I really, really enjoyed reading this book. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It made me think, How can I share hope with those around me? It inspired me to live to give. It encouraged me that ordinary little souls like me can do something. It was one of those books I couldn't put down until it was finished... In other words: It is a really awesome book! Go read it! :)