Farewell to a Faithful Friend


Miracle Farm recently retired one of its most beloved horses, Annie, after nearly 14 years of service to boys of Miracle Farm. Annie was one of the first horses to be donated when the Farm began its horse program in 1998. Having never been ridden, she started out as a very obstinate horse.

“As an example of her ornery streak, Annie once sat on a Mercedes in protest of participating in a local parade,” said Tim Webb, a former Miracle Farm campus administrator and now pastor of Champion Fellowship in Brenham, where 14
Miracle Farm residents currently attend.

Annie gave birth to a foal not long after the incident. Through the process of becoming a mother and caring for her colt, Annie was humbled and became receptive to training.

“Her colt just wore her out, and she quickly realized, as many of us do after we become parents, that she couldn’t just lay around and do whatever she wanted all the time,” said Tim.

Just like many of the boys she served, once she understood the horse program, Annie settled in. Like the boys, she overcame many obstacles in her life and gained a sense of purpose through her role at Miracle Farm.

“When a young man arrives at Miracle Farm, he is overwhelmed with life and has often times already failed in many ways,” said Tim. “When a boy is assigned a horse, it gives him the opportunity to succeed.”

In having the responsibility to care for a horse, the boys learn to thrive by taking it one day and one step at a time. Once they’ve mastered their horse, their self-esteem is rebuilt. They then have the confidence to transfer those same skills into their
school work and their relationships.

“The key to horses – really to all relationships – is consistency,” said Tim. “If the boys act rude to a horse, the horse bucks them. But if they communicate and develop a relationship with their horse, the horse cooperates and gives back.”

During Annie’s nearly 14 years at Miracle Farm, she became a consistent friend to more than 20 boys. “To me, Annie was the best horse on the Farm. She listened,
never threw a fit and knew exactly what to do,” said Jon Snow, former Miracle Farm resident. “I treated her right, so she treated me right.”

Annie was like Jon in many ways including the fact that they both needed food before they could put on a friendly face each day. “She taught me many things including responsibility, patience and how to care for someone other than myself,” said Jon.

Since leaving in 2004, Jon has returned to Miracle Farm frequently to visit staff, friends he made through church, and of course, to see Annie. He’s not alone since many other boys feel the same.

“Many times when a boy comes back for a visit, it’s because they’re facing a crossroads in their life and they need to reconnect to a time when they were making some good progress," says Miracle Farm Equestrian & Vocational Trainer Mike Gallaway.

“Seeing that horse and feeling that emotional bond again helps them remember what they’re capable of, and they can walk away knowing, ‘I can do this.’

“The emotional bonds our boys naturally form with their horses through caring for them each day often results in the boys’ first steps in learning to consider the needs and feelings of parents, siblings and others at home,” said Alex Hamilton, Executive Director of Miracle Farm.

Annie continues to be a blessing in retirement after joining a family with a little girl who’s just learning to ride. Over the last 14 years, Miracle Farm’s horse program has
grown from two horses to 33 horses. Thanks to the generosity of donors, each boy continues to be changed and receive hope through beloved horses like Annie.