Our Beginning Point
Our country is bursting with “Animal Therapy” programs because they are such a life-giving tool for changing people’s lives. By calculated design, our Creator intended woundedness, devastation and destruction in ALL living entities to respond to healing and restoration. Thus, when working with broken and wounded horses, a huge amount of mileage can be obtained through love, nurture, patience, compassion, training, health care and good nutrition because they are designed with the capacity for restoration and redemption.
These concepts are the heart of 8th Mt. Ranch as well. But we also endeavor to go beyond the healing of their bodies and souls, and take this redemptive process to a higher level through restoring and healing the original redemptive gift of their spirit. We train their minds and will to partner with their human caregivers, we listen to what they have to say, we create a safe place for them to open their hearts, and then we specifically work to uncover their orginal design, and to unpack the gift they were sent here to deposit.
Unique among all other animals, the horse was fashioned to be a majestic portal to escort the King’s Grandeur and Elegance into the earth. Every single one of them comes with a piece of Kingdom Culture to deposit into the earth. Sadly, most of them never accomplish their destiny. Why is this? For the most part, few cultures in this world view the horse as a carrier of heaven, with something vitally important to share with us.
In reality, they have been sent to teach us about the supernatural world, to introduce us to a Father that wants to share in our lives. Regrettably, we see them only for their natural beauty and majesty, their power, speed and usefulness, their economic value or utilitarian potential. So we frame their world with the things WE have to offer them, exploiting all they have to give, then tossing them aside when there’s nothing more we can use.
So 8th Mt. endeavors to turn this inside-out; to heal, restore and redeem their destiny and inheritance so that we can grow and be enlarged by the Kingdom puzzle pieces they carry. Then, they can in turn, deposit their gift into hurting and broken people that intersect with them here at the Ranch. This will leave a spiritual legacy as well as touch the lives of others.
Born into a flourishing herd of full-blooded Rocky Mountain Horses, the little foal made a dramatic entrance one brilliant spring morning. Brood mare and owner examined her thoroughly only to discover slight twists in her lower hind quarters. No one told her she couldn’t stand, so she instinctively struggled on her wobbly legs, as all fillys do. “Look at me!” squealed the spirit of this little horse full of joy, as life’s breath and new beginnings poured into her innocent being.
However, her audience was much less impressed. Without taking in the wonder of new life, the breeder snubbed the young horse knowing it would never generate a dime of income. The mare, having been through this cycle countless times, had long ago lost the desire to bond with her soon-to-be-gone offspring. She threw a disinterested look before promptly succumbing to exhausted sleep. No doubt, she would soon be with foal again and the whole futile process would repeat. Sadly, the little filly knew none of this and the catastrophic pain of rejection and loss inflicted its first blistering sting.
The other youngsters in the pasture grew in stature and agility, while the little lame filly worked twice as hard to frolic and play. Balance and speed escaped her, but strong will enabled her to match their stamina. While the increasing weight of her growing frame pressed against the weak deviant bones, her lower hinds twisted and bowed further, yet still the heart of this horse propelled her to assert leadership in the herd. She became known for her discernment in the pasture, a “boss mare” who disciplined the young ones with her pinned ears or sharp nips, and kept efficient law and order. Through exercising her pleasant dominance she gained the respect of her herd, which would have to suffice, for an experience of maternal love eluded her.
Now mature, the mare grew into a gorgeous 15 hands chocolate-flax mare…with crooked hinds. Sadly, the farm suffered a series of tragedies including a marital separation. Then one fateful day, an ominous trailer pulled slowly down the long drive, carrying away all her fellow pasture mates. In courageous alarm she raced frantically along the barbwire fence chasing and calling as it disappeared out of sight. Whinnying with all of her might, she cried “Wait for me! Wait for me!” Her life, her herd-family and friends were all gone. Nothing was left except a giant empty hole in her world. Time stood still as she longingly paced the desolate pasture, snorting, calling through the empty land that once held life and vitality, but now seemed to swallow her whole.
Desolate days passed into forlorn months. The change of seasons descended bringing a cold, harsh winter for her to endure alone. The isolation and abandonment warred with her as her broken heart lost all interest in life. Then came another fateful day. In a half-hearted effort to woo the disconnected orphan, an ignorant and careless ranch tenant bribed her with some raw beet pulp. Eager to taste the beckoning treat, she snatched the offering with her fingering lips. What escaped them both was the fact that when saliva from her mouth mixed with the dense fibers, a thick mass immediately swelled in her throat occluding her airway. Like the poison apple, the first bite proved lethal for its victim.
Collapsing without ability to vomit or gag, the horse travailed for hours against the blockage in her esophagus. Blood dripped from her nose as she struggled and fought for air, edging to the precipice of death. Thankfully, angelic provision arrived bringing arduous emergency intervention just in the nick-of-time, and together with her tenacious spirit, this young mare survived. But for what?
Spring rains came and watered the thirsty Colorado landscape which yielded a rich lush grass extremely high in sugar. Descending the slippery slope of loneliness and depression, the mare’s days blended together as she grazed herself into oblivion. Year after year, this dense sugar amassed until it created a condition similar to human diabetes. Damaging fat deposits built up throughout her body, limiting the use of her muscles and increasing her sugar craving.
Unable to detox the carbohydrate overload, she subsequently developed a painful condition called chronic laminitis in her neglected and overgrown feet. Evidenced by the undulating rings on her hoof wall, she now wore the scars of repeated bouts of this inflammation. Healthy hooves are critical for blood circulation and as this condition advanced, she was in jeopardy of organ deterioration and severe muscle atrophy. If nothing changed, the advancing inflammation and atrophy would eventually stop the heart and soul of this lost 8 year old beauty.
Excruciating pain kept the pathetic mare from moving very often or very far, so she stayed in the outfield and remained cautious of any occasional human. When the day finally arrived for her rescue, she was nearly immobilized with agony and weakness. Her overly thick neck was bent over, glued down with dense fat deposits. Apathy and discouragement had destroyed any motivation to move and she possessed no ability to fight. Fear was her only enemy. She feared the rope and the box on wheels. She feared the humans and imminent change. Mostly she feared the unknown. But this time, fear became her friend as our volunteer capitalized on the natural pain killer, adrenalin released from her flight response, and safely loaded her into the trailer.
And so on a crisp soggy morning in early May, we embraced the mud caked and grossly overweight caged spirit. With flared nostrils and anxious breath, our precious Regal spilled off the trailer into her new home. We could hardly wait to embrace her and begin redemption and restoration, to bring friendship, trust and love into her life, and eventually a new herd-family. But every day brought negative declarations over her life: “You are making not only a futile investment, but a foolish one,” declared one. “It’s an impossible situation, best put her down,” groused another. “You will never get more than a pasture ornament out of her, if that. My advice… return her.” “Laminitis is terminal, it never reverses and there’s no cure. The progressive lameness will kill her.” We pushed back against the negativity but it continued.
“Prognosis is grim,” they said and again, “She is so chronic, it will take 2 years of expensive treatments just to get her walking without pain.” The words continued. “This is a big mistake. She will eat all of your resources, time and money, leaving nothing for your program. Put her down!” “She can never be ridden or worked,” “This is the most difficult disease to encounter and it’s foolish. It’s a dead end. The horse is worthless.” “That horse is dangerous. We can’t take the risk. Get rid of her.” The same scoffing rejection followed her everywhere.…
We battled against the nagging doubt. But life is not about avoiding unpleasant situations. It’s about creating a profit from them. What if every potentially damaging situation was really a shortcut to a brilliant experience of Jesus? When we take our eyes off the negative we disempower it. Rather, we choose to live in the new nature of Christ in us, the hope of glory. We do not treat disappointments as house guests. In the kingdom we attack the negative and we drive it out. It has neither possession nor inheritance with us. Then we hunt down the opposing blessings and concentrate on activating those.
We are catalysts, door openers; ones who create breakthrough. The Father can trust us to stand when others run. He can expect us to see things that others do not. We are not ordinary, we are exceptional. Our passion causes us to press into Him. We are explorers in God’s nature. What we have discovered about the Lord will make us strong enough to do exploits.
So 8th Mountain purposed to unpack Regal’s treasures, align her path with her kingdom destiny, infuse her with love and acceptance, exquisite care, healing nutrition, and a persistent appeal to the Creator and His angelic forces for nothing less than as many miracles as it would take.
Just 3 months after these dismal predictions, Regal began to walk on beautiful healthy hooves with no pain, and daily shows less and less deviation in her hinds. Overcoming her fear has been a challenge, but she is learning to trust the hands of her caregivers. As Rachael faithfully approaches her paddock every morning and evening, our shiny dark chocolate mare holds her now-slim neck high and flashes her flaxen mane. She trots to the fence and whinnies with exuberant gratitude, declaring “I am loved!” She is strong…. She is Regal!
During our thanksgiving offering we inquired of our Father, “Why do you care so much for this little horse?” He replied, “Because redemption on any level matters to Me! I created it all, and all is treasured for it speaks of Me.”
You see, God has a way of investing Himself into our lowest place to release an empowerment that changes a deficit into an advantage. He is so supremely confident in His own ability that He can easily afford to choose the weakest elements possible from this world to represent Him. He is joyously accomplished in developing the kinds of people and animals who have been written off by everyone else. His talent in doing everything with nothing is masterly. He turns our potential into something actual. He is never fazed or diminished by our inabilities but takes great delight in empowering them to be what they could not possibly become by their own efforts.
The blessings of our Father are our birthright in Jesus. They are our inheritance. Did you know it is impossible to be in Christ and not be blessed? We must learn to take authority over everything that would prevent His blessings from being experienced. It is vital that our lives are blessed, not optional. We are taking responsibility for our own blessings.
Now look what our Redeemer has done! In only 4 months!
“You have given her the wings she needs to fly. No longer to escape, as terror is not at her heels, but to soar with confidence from within.”
The Gift of Honor
One of the Father’s dreams for us is Alignment. To be spiritually aligned with His Kingdom enables us to become mighty weapons in His hand.
Honor is the economy of heaven and this currency of Honor flows down from the Kingdom and waters every part of His living world. It is His heartbeat. Once a vibrant part of many cultures, it has now been stolen from the world and replaced with cultures of negativity and dishonor. But the Father’s heart longs to restore it.
Contrary to popular belief, Honor is NOT humility. Honor is also quite different from flattery which is only based on things the receiver is not responsible for. Biblical Honor is affirming something in ones character they have worked hard to produce. Honor is Holy because it gives “life.”
At its foundation, Honor is a mutual exchange of the very “essence” or “substance” of life, from the cellular level up. It is a transfer of life-giving strength. Its root-stock is righteousness, purity and integrity. If something stops this flow, the process of death begins. Honor sustains and empowers life.
The second principle is that relationships permit this exchange to occur when parties are connected emotionally. Sustained Honor is vital to maintaining any community because it releases life and brings cross-pollination of gifts and anointing, wisdom, and the assorted flavors of the Father’s poly-variegated nature. Thus, Dishonor kills relationships. When people, animals, land, nature etc. are isolated, a dying occurs. Sadly, our culture today walks in massive amounts of dishonor.
Thirdly, Jesus demonstrated that “the small things matter the most.” He ate with the unclean, He touched the diseased and dead, He honored an unclean woman in the midst of a crowd, He made time for children, He stayed in homes of hated tax collectors and corrupt politicians, He cared about the hungry crowds, He chose dishonored Galileans for disciples.
The fourth important principle is that second hand verbal honor is more valuable than first hand. [Prov. 31:31] This happens when one person honors a 2nd person to a 3rd person, with or without the 2nd person present. This nurtures a “culture of life” like water to a barren desert, and weaves strength into life flowing, emotional and spiritual connections. Trust level increases so higher anointing can flow. It builds a platform of success under another. [Our horses listen attentively when those around them talk about them – either with honor, or dishonor].
The Scriptures teach us that our job is to make Honor a core value, to lift up the down-trodden, the broken, the dishonored and unloved and transfer to them the “essence” of the River of Life and Honor: To nurture a culture of life, to exchange righteousness, kindness and goodness, blessing and integrity for their garments of shame, their broken souls, their crippled bodies and hearts. To recognize, draw out and Honor their known or hidden beauty and gifts. To begin an emotionally connected, empowering community of “exchange” that can, hopefully, increase their connection with the Father. When we are aligned with a heart of honor, honor will position us at the headwaters with the Kingdom of Heaven.
[Kingdom Perspectives by guest contributor Savta Chapman, http://author-savta-chapman.blogspot.com]
When the Heart is Touched
Lonliness is isolating. Elijah cried out, “Lord . . . I am left alone.” Yeshua asked sadly, “Will you also go away?” Paul grieved, “No man stood with me, all men forsook me.” David lamented, “No man cared for my soul.”
It was a miserable day. Icy rain was falling. The newsboy looked for and found refuge in a store doorway. A stranger saw him wet and shivering, bought a paper, and stood with him for a while. “Aren’t you very cold?” asked the stranger. The boy smiled and replied, “I was until you came by.”* * * * * *
Being a veteran horseman at the seasoned age of 6, Trevor arrived at the ranch eager to introduce himself to our herd. Nearly fearless, nothing seemed impossible to our young wrangler unless it required height taller than 3.5 feet and weight heavier than 10 pounds.
“What’s this for?” he curiously inquired. We had retrieved the grooming kit for our furry friends, and he inquisitively explored every known and unknown object. As our horse-tribe shamelessly crowded in to be first in line at the spa, Trevor whipped out the blue rubber circle and held it up for inspection.
“lt’s called a curry comb,” I explained fingering the rubber teeth. ”We use it to scratch the horse so all the dirt and dust loosen up, kind of like a dry shampoo. They also really like it.”
“Why?” his impish face asked. I dawned on me that my logical information was not a satisfactory response for this eager young mind. To connect with my wee colleague, I would need to be less educational and more, well . . . six-ish.
But before I could answer, he fired another one at me, “How long do you have to comb the horse?” With divine inspiration, I found my bridge. “Do you like your mom to scratch you back?” His older sister, who was eavesdropping on our conversation, answered for him, “He loves for my mom to rub his tummy.”
No coincidence there, I thought with a chuckle. “How long do you like your mom to scratch your tummy?” Trevor looked at me with his innocent eyes, “Until I ask her to stop,” and then a sheepish grin flashed across his face, “. . . which is never.” I laughed, “Well then, it’s the same for a horse. They love to be scratched until they tell you to stop.”
After intermingling to supervise the other participants, I circled back to Trevor. With profound diligence, he had spent the rest of his session indulging the mare’s tummy with a well executed variety of irregular patterns all over the one 4×4 area he could reach . . . because she never asked him to stop! Now that’s Honor embellished with love.
“God has crowned love as the queen of all graces because it is the controlling attribute of His own character. What beauty is to the rainbow, what perfume is to the rose, marrow is to the bone, harmony is to music – all of this and much more, love is to the soul.
When the heart is touched with love it sends its health waves throughout our being, purifying, uplifting, and elevating both soul and spirit. It drives out the gloom, sorrow, and isolation. Like a steady flame it burns on the altar of the soul, puts sparkle in the eyes and a ring in the voice. Without love, eloquence is empty and goes down with a crash. When compared to God’s love in the heart, gifts pale into insignificance as moonlight vanishes before the rising sun. Love alone is the center from which we are to work.” [adapted from Gold That Washed Ashore, Dean Sheets]
When Father God authors our dreams, nothing is lost or stolen. Everything that matters to us, matters to Him and is fulfilled in His perfect time.
As a young man, seeds of an unknown dream were planted as Dennis Eben began work on a youth ranch. The inspiring labor and ministry he found there deeply touched his heart. Unbeknownst to him, those seeds found warm soil in which to germinate, even though they would take many decades to pop out of the ground.
After college, Dennis joined the Air Force as an officer and began his exciting military career. A few years later however, he found himself at a crossroads. Before him lay two paths of desire: an extended military career with international deployment, or the challenge of youth ministry in a mountain ranch setting. Dennis interviewed at a youth ranch in the foothills of Colorado and felt those seeds begin to squirm, but decided instead to take Military orders for Germany, a commitment that would close the door for a season on a treasured dream buried in his heart – a yet undiscovered path to his destiny.
Meanwhile, the Father was weaving another tapestry. Reminiscent of childhood years spent in the mountains of New Mexico, Deborah also dreamed over the decades of satisfying her longing to live surrounded by majestic mountain beauty which seemed to tug at the corners of her heart strings, calling her name. However, career and homeschooling commitments planted them in the suburbs of Denver instead.
But time has a way of ripening dreams. The Father knew what dreams He had woven into their fabric and the “right-time” was about to open up a path that would bring them into alignment with their designs and destinies, and launch a new chapter in their kingdom adventure.
On the 40th anniversary of that long ago youth work interview, Dale and I [Amy] shared the vision God had given us for 8th Mt. Ranch. When we spoke of the love of Jesus planted between rescued horses and rescued kids, uniting on a peaceful property. . . somewhere in the Rocky Mountain foothills, Dennis wept knowing he would finally see the buried desires of his heart fulfilled. “This is a ministry I can give the rest of my life to,” he humbly shared.
As a courageous act of faith, Dennis and Deborah prayerfully prepared to transition from their former secure and familiar life into their shaky and unknown future. Just a few months after Dennis’s 70th birthday, we completed our treasure hunt for the perfect property for the momentum of our dream to accelerate. Selling their recent home of 24 years, they squeezed decades of memories into a moving truck destined for Castle Rock, Colorado. The arrival at their “cottage,” which boasts the panoramic landscape of the noble Continental Divide, began the recovery of long-lost dreams and the fulfillment of secret hopes and desires. The Father of Lights gives good gifts . . . perfect gifts . . . and dreams greater than we can conceive.
As he invests his life daily, moment by moment, Dennis brings the Redemptive Gift of Servant into our “pot of stew” and faithfully cleanses people, children and animals with his rich kindness. He lifts their load of criticism, loneliness, trials, hardships, conflict, brokenness and rejection. He continually blesses us with his authority to wash dirty souls from their wounded treks through a broken world, caring for the needs of others in practical ways.
As she faces new and unique challenges with an anointing of authority and dominion, Deborah brings her Redemptive Gift of Teacher to the table. In the normal course of life, she selectively scatters seeds of wisdom as the Bread of Life to feed others. She is a “gardener”, planting seeds and reaping a plant that bears seeds so that others will be blessed. We celebrate as we see the potential God has sown for years to now multiply its fruitfulness in those around her and we’re excited to watch her stand with God’s authority for His kingdom to come into the earth.
Through Dennis and Deborah, God surprised us with the flavorful provision of a unique multi-generational dimension to our ranch. Their willingness to serve this vision remains a source of strength and comfort to Dale and I as we venture to run with God’s dream for our family and this region.
What a fascinating journey of discovery and treasure hunting this has been…all with a momentum of its own, so much faster than expected. Please celebrate with us all that God has done to create His dream in the earth for such a time as this!
First of all, we extend a hearty thank you to those who have decided to sponsor one of our horses and for those who freely and sacrificially contributed to our winter hay provision, and footing for our round pen. Your partnership is extremely valuable, and your heart to partner with God has blessed us immensely. To you we are indeed grateful for shouldering our burdens and needs.
Exciting Praise Report 8th Mt. has been gifted a Photonic Health Package which includes a Basic Course and Photonic light for “Red Light Therapy” to further assist us in restoring the health of our herd [$1000 gift] What a blessing!
For your prayerful consideration:
Immediate and Urgent Needs
- Fence repair
- Pasture mitigation
- Adjustable Small and X-Small riding helmets
- Handyman skills
- Do you love the sound of hammers and saws? How about getting your hands dirty, or squishing in the mud, does this delight something deep inside? Maybe you really enjoy bringing order to chaos, or solving logistical problems. Do you love to putter? Or just need a reason to get some exercise?
Jesus is looking for people He can bless. So if you have a desire to use your skills to advance the physical needs of our work, we are always looking for help with contracting, handy-man skills, manure shoveling, and garden maintenance, even an occasional chicken butchering. Send us a message and we will let you know about upcoming work-days or convenient times for your joyful partnership.