WHAT WE DO
Serving the orphans, the poor and the forgotten
The Focus of Horses for Orphans
At Horses for Orphans, we serve orphans, at-risk-to-be street children, and poor families. Most of our efforts are concentrated on Brazil, where we have a small farm with horses and other animals. Several young adults live with us, and grow up in a family environment. Younger children from local orphanages come and visit during the day. Our hearts desire is that every child, youth and adult who comes into contact with us, will experience the love of the Father and enter into a living relationship with Jesus.
The spiritual foundation from which all of Horses for Orphans projects and programmes flow, comes from our main focus – to seek the face of Jesus every day with all our hearts.
We set time aside to turn our hearts and affections onto Him and to worship Him. The most important part of our day is to come to Jesus and let Him love us. In surrendering to His love, we understand that He is the only one who can satisfy us, and that in His presence is fullness of joy. He is our greatest need and everything we want. He is our salvation, our redeemer, our best friend, our healer, our strength, our joy, our wisdom and our reward.
It is from this place, that we are able to pour His love into the children in our programmes, and into the surrounding community.
We believe that the purpose of man is to love God and have intimate communion with Him. The one thing no one can take away from anyone is the right to seek God. God’s promise to us is that if we seek Him with all of our hearts, we will find Him. (Jer 29:13) God can be found and in finding Him each day, He meets us and causes us to fall more deeply in love with Him. In Him there is peace and joy, no matter what goes on in our outward circumstances.
I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. (Ephesians 3:18–22).
Our kids’ programme welcomes children from local orphanages, to come and spend the day at Wild Horse Farm near Anápolis. These are children currently living in poverty conditions who have little or no hope for a better life.
Horses for Orphans welcomes them with open arms, to enjoy time out of the city, and see how much more life has to offer. Their visits start with prayer, a biblical principal, and an object lesson in which we use the horse as a practical illustration. This is followed by a theory session about horse communication and a simulation, where we practice together. We simulate approaching and handling the horse before going down to the stable.
Before heading down to the horses, we visit our other animals, and teach the children how care for them, and interact with each species.
Our dog, Chili, is first, followed by chickens, and our guinea pigs. The children can feed and pet the animals, learn how to catch a chicken, and give simple commands to Chili.
On our way to the horse fields, the kids pick ripe fruit from the trees. This is our way of helping them further enjoy the countryside view and feel.
During their time with the horses, the children learn a wide range of skills including:
- how to approach a horse and put the halter on,
- how to lead a horse in all gaits,
- how to communicate at liberty, and
- how to ride bareback with just a halter.
Some days, they get to wash and brush the horses, and learn how to pick up their feet, too.
After the horsemanship training session, everyone returns to our main house for drinks and snacks, and a recap of all that was learned.
We finish the day with an English lesson and lots of hugs, before the children return to the orphanage where they live.
The Purpose of These Days
Every child has value, and they are the future.
At Horses for Orphans, one of our major focuses is the healing of their hearts. They have suffered so much loss in their young lives. With so little to look forward to in life, it is vitally important to help these children understand who they are, and how much they matter. It is with this understanding, that they can begin to allow God to restore their sense of identity and begin to follow their dreams and destiny.
The amazing thing about horses is that, sooner or later, they find a way into every child’s heart. Through a relationship base on love, honour, and trust, the children begin to grow in confidence, connection, communication, leadership skills, and problem-solving abilities.
We love to see children begin to smile, begin to experience happiness and the joy of connection with horses.
Most of the kids’ programme is taught by our older boys. These boys were orphans themselves, part of the first group of children we taught in Brazil. They have become sons of our Horses for Orphans founders, Richard and Ingela Larsson Smith.
Welcomed into their hearts and home, they are now teaching the next generation.
The children and youth who come to our Horses for Orphans (H4O) base in Brazil often lack even the most basic of life skills. Our programme focusses on instilling a wide variety of skills, to give them the abilities necessary to succeed in life.
Our heart’s desire is to help each child / youth learn communication and interpersonal skills. Through interaction with horses, they develop:
- decision-making and problem-solving skills;
- creative thinking;
- God-awareness (instead of self-awareness);
- self-control; and
- resiliency (so they can bounce back to joy faster, after a setback).
By building a relationship with a horse, and gaining the horse’s trust, they also grow in confidence, vision, and learning how to dream again.
Life skills training for the boys who live on the Wild Horse Farm includes everything from showing them how to do basic banking, coaching them for job interviews, to discussions about dating and marriage. The boys are also taught computer skills, history and English.
We have a multitude of activities for everyone to get involved in on the farm. We help the boys with horsemanship, foot trimming, saddle fitting and taking care of leather tack. They learn about studying the Bible, with the purpose of finding Jesus and entering His presence. The boys have the opportunity to help with building projects, construction of furniture and fence building. They also get practical lessons in electrical skills, gardening, field management, painting, and taking care of animals.
Orphans and the underprivileged have had so little for so long, it is a major step forward in their development when they begin to understand the concept of helping others. The more advanced horsemanship students receive mentoring in how to teach the smaller children, how to make lesson plans, and how to put others first.
Those who have acquired more advanced English skills have lots of opportunity to practice them in real life situations – in conversations with visitors, translating horsemanship lessons, or translating for those who preach in churches.
At Horses for Orphans (H4O), we believe in building relationships, and carrying the love of Jesus to the people around us. Therefore, our outreach starts with the underprivileged who are living closest to Wild Horse Farm.
To our poor neighbours, we bring friendship developed over time. Our outreach starts with donations of eggs, chickens, and tea. We share the bounty from our gardens, and honour their friendship by receiving gardening advice from them. This helps them begin to understand their value.
On Sundays, our neighbours are invited to the Farm for pancakes and fellowship. These weekly events are always great fun. We make a massive amount of pancakes and serve everyone at the tables until they are full. We celebrate their lives, by making them feel special. We share testimonies about the goodness of God, encourage them to share too, and then we pray for them.
Additionally, we bring food and comfort to the families of the boys who live with us on the farm. This includes basic supplies like rice, beans, flour, oil, sugar, and salt.
We also visit local orphanages, and have our older boys share their stories with the kids there. Sometimes, we take some of our horses with us, and do a live demonstration. Our aim is to bring them hope and encouragement.
We educate the poor in our community on healthy living, including nutrition, hygiene and body protection when using chemicals or working with asbestos.
The young people that live on the Horses for Orphans base, receive education on healthy lifestyle, including nutrition, fitness, hygiene and workplace safety. We also provide medical and dental care.
For the horses that are part of the kids project, we provide veterinary care, including vaccinations. They are on a regular de-worming programme and as all of them are barefoot, they receive monthly foot trimming. Once a year, each horse is seen by a horse dentist.
We also take horses in that need rescue and restoration and they receive the same treatment as our own.