Turning Tragedy Into Triumph, About Barnabas Horse Foundation
In the midst of a trial no family should ever have to experience, God placed a vision on Sue McKinney’s heart she could not ignore.
Seeing the healing that came to a loved one from being around the family’s horses, she combined her love of horses and children and began this foundation in 2011. Initially Barnabas, which means “encourager,” began offering equine-assisted psychotherapy to abused and traumatized children, seeing their first clients in January 2013. Because of the high need for alternative therapies in Horry and Georgetown Counties, Barnabas Horse Foundation also began serving women in crisis, partnering with the Rape Crisis Center and the Family Justice Center in 2014.
With much prayer and discussion, in 2015, Barnabas launched a safe haven for our warriors who now battle post-traumatic stress syndrome, making every Monday morning Veteran’s Day at the farm. With the rapid growth in the program, over 533% in three years, the board decided to hold off on adding any further programs. However, God wasn’t finished with Barnabas yet!
The Bible tells us in Isaiah 55:8, “‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.” In the pursuit of a certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, Sue McKinney and Laurie Johnson volunteered at Bethlehem Therapeutic Riding Stables, and fell in love with the Special Needs riders and their families. In their excitement, they immediately took it back to the board of directors, and it was unanimously approved to begin a therapeutic riding program for those with special needs. BHF now offers special needs programs throughout the week and on Saturday mornings for riders and non-riders.
The only alternative therapy program recognized by the SC Attorney General’s Office since 2016, Barnabas has been the proud recipient of the VOCA grant. This grant provides salaries for four full-time staff members to meet the needs of victims of crime.
In 2021, Barnabas added an equine-assisted learning program for First Responders, providing a relaxing, safe environment to process through the trauma and stress of being on the frontlines serving those in need.
Barnabas continues to expand the trauma-focused, equine-assisted psychotherapy program, partnering with the Formation Project and local agencies to offer services to human trafficking survivors. If there is a need in our community, Barnabas Horse Foundation will strive to provide a safe and brave space for healing.
Out of one family’s tragedy and heartbreak, came a foundation that shares love, hope, and healing through fellowship with horses for those who have walked a similar path. To God be the glory forever and ever!
To encourage hope and healing through fellowship with horses.
To facilitate healing of the mind, body, and spirit
through the grace and strength of the horse.
To provide equine assisted therapy for individuals and families recovering from a traumatic experience and/or to improve the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities through human and horse interaction.