When Aaron Guin texted his wife, Amanda, that he was ‘done,’ she didn’t know what he meant until she heard the police sirens. He’d been at home with another deep bout of depression, so she and her two young kids were staying nearby at her parent’s house until ‘Daddy felt better.’
But this time it was different. The beloved husband, doting father, 82nd Airborne Ranger, and neighborhood Mr. Fixit lost his battle with the demons that haunted him since serving in the Gulf War. Aaron Guin, who could tinker with anything and make it work, sadly couldn’t repair his own life. He killed himself at his home on a Saturday evening.
This is how life ended for Aaron Guin. But for Amanda, Garrett, and Ashlyn, this is where their journey of hope and healing began.
Aaron’s suicide devastated the close-knit Guin family, especially Garrett, who spent every free moment glued to his father’s side, playing football, gardening and serving as his young handyman apprentice. Amanda tried desperately to reach her son, but his thoughts and feelings remained hidden behind a veil of detachment.
When a friend suggested the equine therapy program at Hope Reins, Amanda was skeptical. “I thought, really? Garrett’s going to open up to a horse?” But after their first meeting, the 7-year-old seemed instinctively aware of his new 2,000-pound friend’s gentle strength and moved easily around the huge Percheron, a breed known for its mighty stature.
It was a natural connection. The massive horse served as Garrett’s confidant – one who could shoulder the weight of his darkest pain without ever divulging a word. He would talk and Abby listened.
Session after session, Amanda watched in wonder as Garrett would brush, walk and then ride Abby bareback through the green pastures at Hope Reins – beaming with pride and accomplishment. His caring leader, who remained a comfortable distance away, would watch in amazement, too, as God’s handiwork helped create a bond of love, trust, and openness just when it was needed most for a lost little boy deeply missing his best friend, his Daddy. “I can’t even put into words how good it makes a mom feel that a horse can do a job that I can’t,” says Amanda. “I just thank God we found Hope Reins.”
There’s a lot of hope these days at Hope Reins. It’s revealed through the mending of hearts like the Guins, the committed volunteers who show up on cold mornings to feed our growing herd of horses and especially through generous donors who support the ranch ministry’s free services.
For more information on how you can help, volunteer or pray for Hope Reins, click here.