In April 2020, as the world shut down, I found myself alone with my horses every day. It was an abrupt stop to many years of working together with my horses, through equine assisted learning, to help people heal. I found myself physically and mentally exhausted, and the time to be with my horses was a refreshing break that enabled me to deeply feel my tired body. I began to ask God for a path through. A few weeks later I came across a group on social media I had never seen before that advertised horses for sale. As I scrolled through, a beautiful brown and white painted horse immediately grabbed my attention. I read the ad and immediately felt the Holy Spirit nudge my heart. Seeing as I already owned 11 horses, I thought surely God was intending for someone I knew to buy this horse, so I sent the ad to a couple of friends for review. However, when several days went by and no one seemed called to buy this horse, I didn’t understand. And then I heard that ever familiar quiet whisper... “No, I want you to buy this horse.” I replied, “Surely Lord, you realize that we are in the middle of a world pandemic and I have no income to buy this horse!” And then that sweet whisper came again, telling me to have faith. “The money will come”. And just days later it did, the exact amount at exactly the time He said it would. So a few weeks later off we went on a 3 hour drive to pick up an unknown painted horse, obedient me with my ever patient and understanding husband. We arrived and I immediately noticed that the horse pictured was not quite the horse in front of us. He was in poor condition: thin and parasite infested, he was kept in a dark stall that had not been cleaned in a while. My husband was ready to turn around and leave, telling me “Jo, you do not need to buy a sick horse!” But this was the horse God told me to buy, so I paid the owner the money and loaded him in the trailer and home we went, me and my rescued Rio. - Joanna Dunlap
Rio spent several years at our farm healing in quiet sanctuary. In the summer of 2023 at the age of 23 he began losing his battle with a debilitating disease and crossed the rainbow bridge to forever green pastures. His spirit lives on and continues to inspire us to provide a safe and loving home for other horses in need.