Welcoming Our First Intern!

I am so excited to introduce to you our very first intern, Kaley Hilliker! We are so excited to have her on board with us this summer! This summer is going to be filled with new adventure, learning new skills, and furthering the training of our rescue horses. Help me welcome the fabulous Kaley! I’m going to let her take over, and share with you about what brings her here.

Hi, as you read before my name is Kaley! I am very excited to be interning here this summer. I am excited to grow in my knowledge of horses and a rescue, but also to further my growth in the Lord.

A little background story about how I heard about Just Another Chance Ranch is kind of a neat story. I starting taking are of my neighbors horses while they were traveling and that lead to her and I riding together. I was a little bit struggling with what the Lord was calling me to do with my life and we would talk about that on our rides. I said for years that I wanted to be a Game Warden. After the wonderful year of 2020 it changed things for me. Certain things were set in place that I wasn’t willing to look past. I had mentioned that a dream of mine was to work with kids in building confidence and leadership, especially children with special needs and teach them how to do things outdoors. Outdoor skills like building a fire, fishing, building a tent and working with animals are all things I find meaningful and I enjoy teaching. Being outdoors and riding horses has helped me a lot in life with my own personal struggles.

One day I went on a trail ride and my neighbor, was telling me about how she to wants to start a rescue ministry, and that I should look into working on one. She told me about one of her favorite rescues, Crystal Peaks so I applied! They contacted me and wanting to further interview me and were very serious about wanting me to work with them. I ended up turning this place down because I felt like the Lord did not want me there. I had a check in my spirit. I was a little discourage, but I knew it was right.

Crystal Peaks has helped many other non-profits get started, and they are listed as “Similar Ministries” They sent their Similar Ministries the names of the interns, like myself, who decided not to intern with Crystal Peaks. I started getting a bunch of calls and emails from rescues across the US who were interested in having me work with them. I turned them all down; none of them felt right.

A couple months go bye, I’m sitting in my breakroom at work and I get this phone call… the number is from Walla Walla. I thought, “That’s weird. It’s probably a scammer”, so I didn’t answer. Well, they left a voicemail; it was Just Another Chance Ranch. At first, I did not know who that was. The funny thing is Stacy Just was actually my second grade teacher at Eagle View Christian School! I’m not gonna lie my little second grader self still wants to call her Mrs. Just, it’s a little weird saying Stacy!

Stacy and her family also went to church with my family for years when I was very little. On top of that I used to have a little miniature horse and Stacy came out a couple times to give me lessons with him. She ended up moving to Walla Walla, to start Just Another Chance Ranch, when I was still very young. She suggested to my mom having a friend of hers help me with lesson. Well her friend happens to be the very same neighbor who encouraged me to get into this kind of ministry! What a small world! So, not only did I already know Stacy, but my family and my neighbor did as well! We both knew this had to be a God thing! I’m excited to see what God has in store this summer.

Drop me a line and let me know what you dream of doing someday!

Wranglers-In-Training & BMAC Partnerships

Just Another Chance Ranch has launched a NEW program this summer: our Junior Wrangler-In-Training program.  Briana, a super hard working and horse crazy gal who went through our Hands-On-Horses program last year, wanted far more than one ranch experience a week.  Here is what she would like to say about her experience this summer:

photo of Briana, our new Wrangler In Training for summer of 2016.


Hello my name is Briana, and I am Stacy’s first Junior Wrangler-In-Training.  What a Junior Wrangler does is learn how to care for, train, and to ride horses properly. We are also helpers with keeping the ranch cleaned up.  I have learned how to work with horses who have  fear of an object. For instance,  yesterday my friend Stephanie and I were bit training Trigger, a cute miniature horse. While doing this,  we discovered that he is afraid of  chairs when they make noise or get too close to his sides. So Stacy showed us how to start desensitizing  him to the chair.  First, we have him smell the chair, then we had the chair make noise by dragging it away from him and having Trigger follow. Next, we had Trigger walk around the chair so he could look at it from different angles. Then we had him stay put and move the chair to his side and gradually move it to where it would rub on his side so he could get the notion that the chair would not hurt him. We repeated that on each side so he would not get spooked by the chair. Trigger still has some work to do before he is ready to withstand being around the chair.

I have observed that no matter what the size of child or the experience a child has, the program horses Trigger, Sunny, and Samson have the endurance to listen to the rider to do what the rider wants instead of doing what they may want to do. Also, Stacy has the capability to work with a child who is rowdy, shy, or has health problems and still have fun in what she does. No matter what she will do anything she can to help a child in need of a place to learn how to take care of an animal or  be there when an animal or person is in need. This ranch has helped me by giving me a chance to do the things that I love to do that I can’t do at home. I can’t thank Stacy enough for how much she has taught me about how to take care of a horse and to ride. One thing that I can tell you is that Stacy is the best teacher for working with horses that anyone could ask for.

When I go back to school and everyone asks me what I did  this summer,  I am happy to say that I was working at Just Another Chance Ranch where you can have a second chance at learning how to be responsible and that horses get a second chance at life without neglect or abuse. I would recommend to anyone who was looking for a place to volunteer, donate, or learn to ride Just Another Chance Ranch because I think that they have the opportunity to become big. Having more horses so that more children can have lessons on how to ride is also important. It would mean a lot to me if I was one of the ones who helped hundreds of children love and respect horses and ride like a champion.


We are happy to announce our third year partnering with BMAC’s Youth Employment program.  This year we are blessed to have a super sweet and hard working gal by the name of Stephanie.  Here is what Stephanie has to say about our Ranch and what we do:

Picture of a horse taking a scrub brush in his mouth and "scrubbing" the bottom of his water trough.

Sampson is “helping” to scrub out his water trough!

Hi! I am Stephanie,  one of Stacy’s helpers here at the ranch.  I am part of the BMAC employee program which helps out local non-profit organizations by paying us to work for them, and this program gives young adults a head start getting the experience working in a professional work place.  I have earned my high school diploma in Job Corps.  Working at the ranch  I learn something new every day, and I’ve been loving working here. Having the interaction with the animals I love it and it keeps me busy.

Let me tell you a funny story about Sampson.  Just the other day I was outside cleaning the main water trough and all the horses were watching me.  When they were watching me, Sampson thought that he was going to be nice and help me clean it.  At first I was using a brush to clean the bottom of the trough and Sampson would use his teeth and I thought it was the funniest thing.  After a little bit, Stacy walk over to me and ask how I was doing and I told her that I had a little helper.  If you look to the right side you will see the picture of Sampson grabbing the brush and then started cleaning the water trough.  I was happy that Stacy was able to get that picture of Sampson helping.  Horses just want us to think they don’t know how to clean! Ha-ha.

One way that the animals keep me busy would be is grooming them after they have been playing in the mud. One of the horses named Sampson has an unusual quirk. When I groom him I guess I get

Photo of Stephanie writing her portion of this post.

Stephanie writing her post.

that really good spot and he leans right into it and he moves his upper lip in the air. I laugh every time I see this!  Then there is the time where I would help bit train Trigger with Briana.  We are starting to desensitizing  him from mostly everything to get him ready for him to eventually pull  a cart.

Not only do I come and take lessons with the horses, but two of my younger siblings do as well.  It is really quite interesting to see my little brother have his first lesson and when Stacy told him to tell the horse to move back he acted like the horse was a car and looked back to see where he was going, as if he had to watch for oncoming traffic or something! I was laughing so hard when he did that!

When my sister comes for her lessons its quite cute to see her trying to groom the horses back because the back of the horse is really tall.  There was this one time that I was looking at my little sister and then I look up from my phone and I see her facing the wrong way on the horse, and it made me crack up so bad, because I thought she did not know how to sit the right way in the saddle.  It ended up that they were playing a game called “Around The World,” where Stacy calls out a direction like “south,” or “west,” and the rider has to sit in that direction.   The game was apart of learning your balance and sense of direction, getting comfortable maneuvering around in the saddle.  Riding and taking care of the horses also teaches the kids to have patience with not only Stacy and the animals but in everyday life when they are at home as well.

When people ask me what I think, I would be proud to recommend  volunteers for Just Another Chance Ranch and to work with Stacy.




Our First Family Fun Day!

We launched our first annual Family Fun Day, which kick-started our summer youth mentor program, Hands-On-Horses. It was a beautiful and sunny Saturday, and we had a great turnout.  In fact, our volunteers were hopping so much from activity to activity, that most of the families did not get their pictures taken.  However, we still had some cute ones.


Picture of a family of 6 dressing up in western play clothes.

Dress-Up Photo Fun


What is Family-Fun-Day?  It is an open invitation for the community to come and meet us, to sign up for our summer youth program if they wish to, and to have a blast!  We had water balloons, western cowboy and cowgirl dress up for pictures, face-painting, hotdogs, snow-cones, a bean-bag toss game with prizes, a craft table, and more.  Don’t take our word for it.  Let the pictures speak for themselves!  Briana is our first Jr. Wrangler-In-Training, and she helped us out a lot. I asked Briana what her favorite part was and she said with relish, ” Making sure Mr. Just did not burn the hotdogs!!” Her second favorite thing of the day was seeing all the kids have so much fun and helping them interact (meet) the horses.  My favorite activity was the face-painting. We had tigers, puppies, blue kitties, and all sorts of little “creatures”  running around with their faces done up.  Laughter, giggles, and delights of surprise abound.

We plan on having this event annually the last Saturday in June! Take your shoes off, set a spell.  Y’all come back now, yah-here?

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Hands-On-Horses Summer Program

Our First Summer Program

Picture of us holding up a banner about our summer program.

Our Summer Session Banner

We are thrilled to be able to provide our first annual summer youth mentor program to the Walla Walla Valley area!  We are in week 5 of our 6 week program and things are going wonderfully!  The kids are having  a blast, all the while learning new and valuable skills about how to be assertive and gentle leaders with the horses they work with.  Come and see below a few of our participants and what we are learning:

Picture of young boy learning to hoof pick with session leader.

Hoof Picking 101

Above, this young ranch helper is doing a great job learning the basics of horse grooming.  Here, our session leader, Jason, is helping this young man to hoof pick Trigger, our miniature horse.

Below, this gentle gal is doing a great job putting this horse at ease with her calm handling techniques:100_1307

Next, this gal is working with our session leader, Jody, to practice walking a horse safely through the gate and leading a horse:

Picture of session leader teaching youth to safely take a horse through a gate.

Safety Through A Gate

Below, here is a lesson in progress of a student learning the Horseman’s Safety Knot:

Picture of boy learning horseman's safety knot in a session with Trigger.

Horseman’s Safety Knot

Each participant comes on a weekly basis, and builds on their skills from the week before. Some participants have the goal of learning to ride, so we start on the ground and work our way up. All the youth participants help with a short ranch chore first, then they learn how to lead, tie, groom, and tack-up a horse before they start learning riding skills.  As a general rule, participants need to be nine years old to be able to ride.  Younger youth are welcome to participate by learning many valuable  ground working skills.  No matter the age or the experience of the participant, the emphasis is building a positive relationship between the horse and the youth as well as safety. This Hands-On-Horses program is FREE to youth participants.

Some of our participants did not want to be photographed, for various personal reasons. So, what you see here is only a partial representation of what we have done this summer! We have worked hard and learned a ton!  I am proud of each one of our participants and what they have gained! Even our barn-yard kitty, Mistletoe, loved the summer sessions, as she found willing laps to sit in while the sessions were going on…100_1422

We hope these kids will return and join new participants for an extended program next summer and we hope all of you have a great school year!

If you’d like to find a way to get plugged in to our ranch life, I would encourage you to come during one of our several ranch “clean-up” days and spend the day getting to know us as you help us gear up for the new season. We also have a few fundraisers going on throughout the year, which will be posted under our “Upcoming Dates” column on the right side of our website. Donations are always welcome and are tax-deductible, as we are designated a 501(c)(3).  If you have someone who is interested in participating, please email Stacy Just .

We welcome volunteers anytime we have a work day, and sign-ups to participate in our 2016 program will start in April.  We are looking for people to volunteer for our 2016 program to work with horses and kids in our Hands-On-Horses program.  If you are interested, please apply ASAP by filling out our volunteer application and our liability release form and returning them to our ranch:  PO Box 997, Waitsburg, WA  99361.  We will contact you shortly regarding the other requirements and trainings needed to become a session leader.


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Our Grand Opening Celebration:

Picture of Grand Opening's cutting the ribbon.

Cutting The Blue Ribbon

We had lots of fun during our Grand Opening last Saturday!  Thank you to everyone who showed their support by either volunteering at our event or by stopping by to see us!  We worked hard daily for nearly two weeks to get ready for this special event. We appreciate you and could not have put everything together without your help!  Jason Just had a sweet speech he gave, sharing about his “crazy” wife who came to him over five years ago and told them they would be starting a youth ranch some day…and here we are!  We had an official cutting-of-the-ribbon to kick-start the beginning of our youth mentorship program,

Picture of Jason with face painted red, white, and blue.

Goofy Fun With Face Paint

Hands-On-Horses.  We are starting the sessions for this program right after the 4th of July.   Some of our activities included fun with face painting, meeting the horses, crafts, snow cones, a bean-bag- toss game up in the hay barn with stuffed animal prizes, animal balloons which kept popping in the heat (LOL!), hotdogs, and good-ol’ fun visiting with everyone who came!  It was too hot to be outside in the sun, so most of the activities were moved either in the barn or the shop.  Lets not forget Erek Pruitt’s surprise contribution: his Redneck Swimmin’ Hole he created in the back of his rig!  Sitting in it while eating dinner was the perfect ending for the evening!  Thanks Erek!  It was awesome!

We didn’t even get to use some of the games/activities planned because it was just too hot to be out in the sun at all!  We will save our marsh-mellow shooters, our water balloons, our relay contest, and our western cowboy photo-booth for the next time we have a fun BBQ with the community as well as the other activities we did do this time around! So stay tuned!  We are thinking of having a fun time to end the summer season in late August! Who’s with me on this?  Hopefully things will be a tad cooler then.  Let us know if you are interested in having another chance to hang out with us and have some fun!