Welcome to the Equestrian Program at Wears Valley Ranch
We help kids grow through Christ-centered learning with horses.
Helping Kids Grow
We serve 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.
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 Intern
Jade joined us here at the Ranch early spring of 2017. She is a Licensed Veterinary Technician specializing in Equine and Large Animal Medicine. After working in the veterinary field for a few years, Jade felt God calling her to pursue her passion to minister to others through the use of horses. Jade grew up with horses and has been riding since the age of 5. She has ridden many disciplines, with her favorite being Western. She is also a CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) Certified Riding Instructor. This year Jade is looking forward to teaching the students and passing along her passion for Christ and love of horses.
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 host periodic CHA All-Discipline Standard riding instructor certification clinics. 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 horse 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 three of six 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 safe, fun, initial exposure to horseback riding.
The Farmstead at Wears Valley Ranch
Utilizing the farming resources of Wears Valley Ranch to teach our students hard work, discipline, and other valuable life skills, the Farmstead offers pasture-raised beef, lamb, and eggs for the students and staff at WVR and for sale to the East Tennessee community.
Our calves spend their first grazing season at the Ranch in a herd with our horses. We use these smaller, weanling calves to teach our riders how to handle cattle from horseback. This includes things like herding the cows around the arena and pasture, ranch-style roping, sorting cattle, etc. While at the barn for horse chores, they’ll also help with chicken chores for our egg layers who are working hard to help eat fly larvae out of manure, helping spread the manure in the process which makes it more readily available as fertilizer for our grazing pastures.