Nestled in the countryside not far from Myrtle Beach, SC is a quiet horse farm whose purpose is to encourage hope and healing through fellowship with horses. It's the Barnabas Horse Foundation, which provides equine therapy for individuals and families recovering from trauma, including returning warriors and women and children who have been victims of abuse.
My step-daughter, Jacqueline Cristiano Campman, a psychotherapist, treats battered women and children at Barnabas. There, they can hug and ride Princess, Doodlebug, Toby and many other horses large and small, even specially trained donkeys, and find comfort and encouragement as they struggle with the challenges of their lives.
Barnabas, which means "encourager," began offering equine-assisted psychotherapy to abused and traumatized children in January 2013 and later began serving women in crisis, partnering with the Rape Crisis Center, where Jacquie was working, in 2014.
"With much prayer and discussion, in 2015, Barnabas launched a safe haven for our warriors who now battle post traumatic stress syndrome, making every Monday morning Veteran's Day at the farm," said Barnabas' founder, Sue McKinney. Then, the program was expanded to provide therapeutic riding for those with handicaps, such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome.
Barnabas is free to its clients and so it depends upon contributions and volunteers. This past weekend, Barnabas participated in the Myrtle Beach Craft Festival, where numerous horse-related products were sold and where pictures were taken with Santa as well as the farm's two miniature horses, Numerous local businesses support Barnabas, and tax deductible contributions and volunteers are always welcome.
The Foundation was started by McKinney after a tragedy within her own family. Out of that heartbreak came a foundation that shares love, hope and healing through fellowship with horses for those who have walked a similar path. It's a terrific program that fills a real need in our community and is deserving of our support.