Woman Uses Horses to Help Kids Grow

This week's Act of Human Kindness recipient is Ginger Salido, who brings abused horses together with disadvantaged kids in the area to help them heal.

Posted: Dec. 28, 2018 10:50 AM
Updated: Dec. 28, 2018 2:18 PM

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - "Growing up I was a bully, just really rude, moving from home to home, wasn't really fun," said Joseph Bradshaw, who rides horses as a sort of therapy at Exodus Farms.

That was before.

"We really just open the gates up to whoever's hearts are broken and needs some time with a horse," explained Ginger Salido, owner of Exodus.

It started as a fluke - some foster kids visited Salido at her ranch for abused horses. But when they interacted with the horses? Something amazing happened.

"The rescued animal and the broken child have a lot in common, they take care of each other," Salido said. 

More than a decade later, Exodus Farms is now a refuge for struggling kids, too.

"Because if the amount of addiction in our counties, a lot of our kids come from severe emotional, sexual abuse, neglect, we have a lot of foster children," Salido said. 

Salido's solution? Put them to work.

"The first things they do is a chore - they're out there with their volunteer so it's a great time to talk," said explained.

Next? Find common ground.

"Our kids that come out here really help our broken horses. A lot of times they'll see a horse that has brokenness or issues similar to there's and they identify a lot to one another," Salido said. 

Like Tommy and (horse) Cheyenne.

"They both have a lot of anger about what their life started out as, and they're helping each other learn how to let it go," Salido said.

"It's taught me to be more careful around the horse and more caring to horses," Falin said. 

Salido says it's not really a job - helping the kids is more of a calling.

"We all make choices to either stay in that heartbreak or to move forward," Salido said. 

And her method is working.

"It's taught me the golden rule: treat people how you want to be treated," Bradshaw said. 

"It's about the patience it takes, horses require a lot of patience and it really taught me that I needed to be more patient with others," said another rider, Zoe Johnson.

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