About the Book
Author: Jennifer Marshall Bleakley
Genre: Inspirational, Memoir
Release Date: May 8, 2018
The heartwarming true story of a blind horse named Joey.
A horse story for adults? This idea was quite intriguing to me when I read the sign-up information for Joey, so I looked into the book a bit farther. What I saw made me want to read the story. I was not disappointed—this is an incredible account!
The account of the founding of Hope Reins, the ranch, which is in North Carolina, is very interesting. The story of how the ranch was founded and how God provided what was needed to build it and keep it going is interwoven with Joey’s story, as well as the stories of the people who volunteered there and cared for the horses.
I found it fascinating to read about the various solutions the staff of Hope Reins came up with to help Joey. I had never thought about what it would be like for a horse to go blind. It was also incredible to read about how he helped children who came into his life. I had never heard of equine therapy before, but it makes sense that hurting children would be helped by helping hurting animals. And, it wasn’t just children that found help and healing; some of the adult volunteers did, as well.
This is a book for horse lovers—but not just for horse lovers. This is also a book for anyone who likes to read about the different ways God works in people’s lives, and it is a book for people who care about hurting children. I highly recommend this true story.
I received a free copy of this book from the author; all opinions are my own.
The Author’s Synopsis:
At the height of his show career, this beautiful Appaloosa’s majestic stature, strength, and willingness to work made him the perfect partner. But when an injury cost Joey his show career, he moved from one owner to the next, ultimately experiencing severe abuse and neglect. A rescue group found Joey nearly dead from starvation—and blind.
Then he came to Hope Reins—a ranch dedicated to helping hurting kids who had been abused, emotionally wounded, or unwanted. By teaching these children to care for rescued animals, the Hope Reins staff were convinced they could reach kids with love and hope and show them that we are never forgotten by God.
But could the financially struggling ranch afford to take care of a blind horse that no one else wanted? Could Joey somehow learn to trust people even though the world had hurt him so badly? And what would happen—to Joey, the kids, and Hope Reins—if they failed?
A true story of friendship destined to become a classic, Joey will touch your heart and reveal the power of finding light in the darkness.
More Information About This Book:
- When a blind horse named Joey meets a struggling ranch owner dedicated to helping troubled kids, the result is a story of friendship, faith, and overcoming–and ultimately, a tale of how God always cares for the cast aside and uses them for His glory.
- Joey is an inspirational memoir-like read that delights readers with a story about finding healing and restoration in the unlikeliest of places.
- What a blind horse can teach you about overcoming your past and living fully in the life God has called you to have.
- An unlikely story of God using a blind horse to bring healing and restoration to hurting children.
- A percentage of the author’s proceeds from her book, Joey, will go to supporting Hope Reins which pairs hurting kids with rescued horses.
- God said “you’re worthy” when the world said “you’re worthless.” Joey, an inspiriting story of finding healing and restoration in the unlikeliest of places.
- The Hope Reins ranch set out to save these horses, but in the end, the horses saved them.
- How the story of Joey saved the ranch… and taught the most valuable lesson.
- Joey… your family’s next read
- Let God wake you up to life lessons learned in unexpected places!
About the Author:
Jennifer Bleakley graduated from Florida Southern College with a degree in biology and was planning to apply for medical school when her best friend’s father died of pancreatic cancer. Walking through that experience with a family she had loved for so long left a permanent mark on her heart, and she soon realized that God was calling her to stand alongside other families facing similar heartbreak and loss. Jennifer earned a master’s degree in counseling from Nova Southeastern University and began working at the local hospice in St. Petersburg, Florida, as a child and family grief counselor. It was a job she loved deeply and one she continued doing until she and her husband started a family.
When her husband’s job required the family to relocate to Raleigh, North Carolina, God began awakening in Jennifer a long-forgotten passion for writing. She began journaling—recording evidences of God’s hand at work in her new season of motherhood. Her journal morphed into a blog, and she still writes regularly about glimpsing God’s grace in her daily life at jenniferbleakley.com.
Jennifer now writes curriculum and devotionals for her local church, is a contributing author for Treasuring Christ curriculum and She Believes online Bible studies, and leads a community women’s Bible study. She loves introducing children at her church and in the community to Jesus, helping them discover his goodness. Even though she once asserted she was much too introverted to be a public speaker, Jennifer has found that God’s grace is big enough even for lifelong introverts, and she now delights in speaking to audiences about his extraordinary grace at work in our ordinary lives.
Guest Post From Jennifer Bleakley:
One October evening I stared into the eyes of the most unusual looking horse I had ever seen—his black and white spotted coat resembled that of a Dalmatian; his soft pink lips were chewing at some invisible morsel; and his charcoal eyes seemed to peer into my very soul.
And although I’m not what anyone would describe as a horse person, I was completely captivated by this horse.
I inched closer to him, compelled forward by some unseen force, until only a thin rail separated us. He stared at me. I smiled. Can a horse register a human smile? I had no idea, but I smiled anyway. The founder of the horse ranch was telling our small group about the ministry she had started—a ministry that pairs rescued horses with hurting children to help them find true hope and real healing. I listened to her words, but my eyes never moved from the horse. He looked at me as if he could read my every thought. As if he knew exactly why I was at the ranch that night. That I had been feeling a bit lost, struggling to find myself—my calling—in the midst of a new season of life. That I was on this tour in the hopes that I might find answers here—maybe even a purpose.
He bent his head toward the railing just inches from my resting hand. His eyes now level with my own, the setting sun reflecting brilliant hues in the depths of his eyes.
How beautiful, I whispered as my fingers reached toward him.
“And our Joey here is completely blind…” I heard the woman say. “He was a former champion…injured…sold…abused…abandoned….
The fragmented sentence floated around the picturesque scene, but the words just didn’t make sense. Surely the woman wasn’t talking about this horse? Not the one who could see into my soul. Not the black and white beauty who knew all my secrets with just one look?
The woman handed Joey a carrot. His greedy lips taking the treat from her hand, leaving it free to scratch him behind the ear.
“But Joey was rescued and now he lives here,” she continued, “Where every day his determination and blind faith, point hurting kids to hope. Kids who have also known abuse and abandonment. Kids who see Joey choosing to live, choosing to learn, choosing to trust, and realize that maybe, just maybe they can too.”
Tears flowed down my face as I watched the horse nuzzle the woman’s hand. A blind horse leading people to see hope. The phrase swirled around my mind, before settling in my heart.
I had gone to the ranch that day looking for a purpose. Thinking that I could volunteer—use my long forgotten counseling degree in some way. Thinking that time spent here would ease the transition from full-time mommy to mother of school-age children. However, days after meeting the horse his eyes still haunted me. His story still captivated me. And so in spite of knowing very little about horses, and having never attempted anything like writing a book before, I sat down to write about a horse named Joey. A blind horse who was helping me find my way home….
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