Welcome to the Equestrian Program at Wears Valley Ranch
We help people grow through Christ-centered learning with horses.
Helping People Grow
Those we serve most are two groups of kids: 1) students at St. Andrew’s School with Wears Valley Ranch, and 2) campers with Camp Arrowwood. We ultimately want to see them grow in relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Children are always learning, therefore we seek to provide an environment where everything they learn is true, where the truth is made believable, and where character development is our most important measure of success. We also serve adults through various events and groups hosted on campus.
Through Christ-centered Learning
Horses are good mirrors, reflecting who we really are. As we help the kids interpret what the horse is reflecting, we use the Bible as our framework. Check out our Statement of Faith.
Our structured, progressive lessons include ground lessons; mounted lessons in Western, English, and trail; and equine-assisted learning activities. Click here to meet our horses.
Meet Our Equestrian Director
Ryan McCaffrey came to us in 2006 with a B.A. in Communications from Wheaton College. His first ride on a horse came when he was on a missions trip to a children’s home in the Dominican Republic when he was 18 years old. After he graduated college, he had the opportunity for more exposure to horses and ranch life. At that point, he sensed a clear leading from the Lord to jump all-in! His first full-time wrangler job was at a dude ranch in Arizona. He followed that by working at several year-round camps and conference centers working as a wrangler and ranch hand, even teaching “Horse Science” class at an outdoor education program. Having grown up playing team sports, he sees lots of similarities between team sports and the ranch setting. That enthusiasm comes through the structured lessons and activities he does with the students.
Meet Our Assistant Equestrian Director
Nicole grew up on and around horses, doing everything a little girl can think of with her horse. She took an interest in barrel racing, drill team, and riding cutting horses. She graduated from Judson College in Marion, AL in 2019 with a double major in Equine Science and Psychology. She started at WVR first in 2018 as a Summer Wrangler for Camp Arrowwood, returned in 2019 after graduating as the Equestrian Intern, and will stay until 2021 as the Assistant Equestrian Director. She has riding instructor certifications with both CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) and PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International). Nicole is graciously sharing her horse, Inny, with us while she is here. She is looking forward to growing in her knowledge of horse training and riding instruction.
For more information on the internship, contact our Equestrian Director, Ryan McCaffrey.
Certified Horsemanship Association
We are happy to be program members with the Certified Horsemanship Association. CHA’s mission is “to promote excellence in safety and education for the benefit of the entire horse industry,” because “CHA changes lives through safe experiences with horses.” Our Equestrian Director is a CHA-certified instructor. We also currently offer an internship with one of the goals being to pursue instructor certification. CHA offers many great resources which help guide our program, policy, procedures, and lessons.
We also a yearly CHA All-Discipline Standard riding instructor certification clinic. For more information on our next clinic, contact our Equestrian Director, Ryan McCaffrey.
Wears Valley Ranch/St. Andrew’s School
Wears Valley Ranch (in Sevierville, Tennessee) provides Christian homes, education, and counseling to children in crisis situations. Our vision is to see each child inspired to follow Christ, healed from the past, and equipped to reach their potential. St. Andrew’s School is the on-campus boarding school for the children who come to live at Wears Valley Ranch.
All students help with animal chores, regardless of whether or not they come for organized class at the barn. “Ranching” is an elective class that the students can come take at the barn where they learn ground and mounted skills with the horses, learn English and Western disciplines, help with ranch responsibilities like fencing projects and caring for the calves, and more.
Camp Arrowwood is a dynamic 5-night residential camp open to campers between the ages of 8-14. Our excellent staff help campers to have a life-changing experience here that they cannot experience anywhere else. We take our jobs very seriously and safety is paramount in everything we do. Our purpose is to point kids to lifelong change through Christ-like leadership in a safe and personal environment.
During their week at Camp, campers have the chance to choose multiple program tracks. Horseback riding is one of the tracks they can choose. Many of the campers have never ridden a horse or only been on a pony ride so we emphasize safety and fun with the basic skills to create a positive first exposure to horseback riding.