The days start early at Double R Ranch, a working horse ranch where men, women and children who have been abused or abandoned, have a unique opportunity to work with animals. There are goats to be fed, eggs to be retrieved, pigs to be slopped and horses to be brushed. This amazing facility helps build self-esteem and gives its residents a safe place to learn how to care for others. Randy’s Story: Sixty percent of my whole life I’ve been behind bars. I’m just a person who didn’t have any guidance and went the wrong way.
I was awarded to the courts at 10 years old. I started to use drugs and I was incorrigible. My mom couldn’t take care of me. I became a heroin addict and started living on the streets at 15 years old. I had been at San Quentin, Soledad and Folsom for heroin use and embezzlement. When I was in prison, I’d write to Art Center College in Pasadena and get their catalogs. I’d sit in my cell at night and dream of going to college. When I got out of prison, I didn’t hold onto that dream. My addiction was stronger. Until the night I got arrested for the 78th time. I was processed to go to the California Institution for Men in Chino, but because there was a riot, they couldn’t take any new arrivals. I walked out of that police station a free man. I got into a rehab program and heard about the Rescue Mission. They told me that if I went to Double R Ranch, my life would be changed. I became a trail boss at the Ranch and took people out on the trail.
I had a brief experience with horses before but nothing like I know now. I know I’m able to talk with these horses without putting up a front or being someone I’m not. I did a lot of horse shows and got blue and red ribbons. I can ride in the backcountry on the back of an Arabian. I learned a lot and got to share what I learned with families and kids. I had this one kid who didn’t want anything to do with the horses. After eight months of working with him, he loved them. I’d been estranged from my sister for seven years and from my daughter for 17 years. I wasn’t a good father or a provider. I was a heroin addict. Now my daughter’s in my life and I talk to her twice a week. I talk to my sister once a week. I have a great life. I’m in the Alcohol & Drug Studies program at Palomar Community College and I’m working in a recovery program in San Clemente. God has blessed me and it’s all because of the people at the Rescue Mission with big hearts. “I had a brief experience with horses before but nothing like I know now. I know I’m able to talk with these horses without putting up a front or being someone I’m not.”
Find us on Facebook.