"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man." -Sir Winston Churchill
One of Kim Meeder's first riding experiences came at the age of nine, on the day of her parents' funeral. Riding quickly became a healing refuge for her after the shock of their deaths. Her father, unable to face the bitter divorce ahead, decided to end it all by killing his wife then committing suicide. By the love of a little mare and a merciful God, this young girl's life was saved from pain and despair.
This saving grace became a symbol of what was to come, years later, when Kim and her husband, Troy, made the decision to purchase property and start a small ranch. The only land they could afford was a nine-acre rock quarry, used to mine cinders for winter use on the roads of Central Oregon. The property was so devastated that no one else wanted it, with no trees, no grass, not even soil.
Transforming the gaping pit into an environment suitable for horses became the Meeders' next goal. This involved planting broken, unwanted trees in the wasteland and filling it with neglected horses to love broken, and neglected kids. It was a perfect match. In 1995 Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch was born. Currently, the ranch is a haven for 26 horses and 4,000 - 5,000 visitors annually-more than 25,000 visitors to date.
Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, funded by private donations and grants with no government assistance, offers its therapeutic program at no cost to participants. Since its inception in 1995, the ranch has hosted 25,000 riders (most are socially, mentally, emotionally or physically challenged children) and has rescued approximately 300 neglected or abused horses. The therapeutic program at Crystal Peaks, where the rehabilitation of abused horses is foundational in the therapy of children, is unique within the United States.
Kim Meeder, a certified Health Fitness Instructor, has a passion for sports. She enjoys skiing on snow and water, snowshoeing, running marathons, strength training, equine endurance racing, and surfing. Meeder has competed, on a national level, in Nordic ski racing and has participated in the Olympic biathlon trials. She has also set two world records in power lifting.
Yet other passions pale against Kim Meeder's love for the "high places." As a fledgling mountaineer, Kim has climbed many of the highest peaks in Oregon, Washington and California. "It is in these powerful places that I see God's face reflected in the creation of His hands," she explains. "What an awesome God!"
Hope Rising, Meeder's first book, communicates her life message through its stories of horse and rider and healing. "I want to do what someone did for me-they threw out a life ring into my devastated life. I want people to know that there is hope."