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Gateway Equine Healing Centre
A Place of Refuge and Healing for Abused Horses, Teens & Women

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By Nancy Drew

Picture 1

“I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out and find pasture… I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John10:9,10

Picture 2 Gateway Equine Healing Centre is a place of refuge and healing for abused horses, teens & women. During one on one sessions, the “students” learn how to help the horses cope with and recover from the damage from their past. In helping the horses, the students learn that they also can heal and go on to live purposeful lives.

God not only works in the lives of the horses and students, but also in the lives of the staff who volunteer their time to this ministry. Let me share a story I wrote a while back, inspired by one of our rescues named Atarah.


Each evening after chores are done, I spend time giving our rescue, Atarah a photonic light treatment in hopes that it will help the healing of her wounds. I have had a lot of time to think during these sessions, and I often find myself reflecting on the many scars she has on her body. It looks like many of them will never grow a proper covering of hair and will always be noticeable. I find myself wondering how all those wounds came to be. It seems such a shame that she will always have these ugly reminders of past hurts.

After treating these scars every day for weeks and weeks, I began to realize that no matter what I did, they were probably never going to disappear. This caused my thought patterns to start to change. I started to think a little deeper about scars, their purpose, and how they affect us. (Note: To give due credit, some of the thoughts I am sharing below were inspired by Sharon Jaynes, author of “Your Scars are Beautiful to God”.)

When thinking about how Atarah got her scars, I realized they must have come about in one of two ways, either by something being done to her by someone, or by her own mistakes. At this point it doesn’t really matter which way she got them. The important thing is they are no longer wounds. Scars are evidence of healing. Oh how I wish horses could talk and say “See here - I was wounded, but now I am healed. Let me tell you my story…”

After the resurrection, when Jesus appeared to His disciples, they did not recognize him until they saw his scars. Jesus could have come back to life without his scars, but he chose not to. Is it possible that he did that to encourage us to use our scars for a purpose?

Picture 3 We deal with students at Gateway who have physical scars and emotional scars from their abuse. Some of the physical scars are even self inflicted in a desperation to deal with their emotional wounds. One day one of our students had short sleeves on and there wasn’t a square inch of her arms that didn’t have red scars from cutting. It was a very cold day, and I offered her a jacket or sweater but she didn’t want one. I wondered if she just wanted me to see her wounds. Was this possibly her way of crying out for help?

The horse she was working with came from a very abusive background and is very sensitive. He really likes this student and comes right to her whenever he sees her. He approached her this day and the first thing he did was touch her arm with his soft, gentle muzzle. Alarmed, she pulled back. I quickly assured her that he meant her no harm and was just curious about her arms. Time and time again God uses these horses to open up conversations like this for us.

Picture 4 I have no doubt that we will have many discussions in the future about Atarah’s scars. I am looking forward to the opportunity to talk to the students about what God is teaching me about the beauty of scars and the stories of healing they represent.

My prayer is that these students would allow God to replace their wounds with scars of healing; that others would see their scars and be willing to listen to their story of healing and find hope; and that through helping others God would redeem even their most painful experiences.

For more info on the ministry of Gateway Equine Healing Centre:

Phone: (519) 666-2668
Fax: (519) 666-3003
Address: 9862 Charlton Drive RR#1, Denfield, ON N0M 1P0