Equine Program

The Equine Center for Excellence

Salem4youth is unique to other therapeutic boarding schools and residential programs because of its nationally known horse program. Called the Equine Center for Excellence, through the years, we have found that horses can be some of the best therapists a young man can have. Many of our students have never been around horses before they arrive at Salem. The soothing and trusting relationship that begins to develop between our horses and the students, often dramatically changes a student’s behavior and resolve.

A Word From Seth Warner Our Equine Program Manager

I am so excited to have become a part of the Salem Ranch family! For years I have been in contact with staff from Salem, have volunteered on occasion, and have always mentioned to my family that I would love to work for Salem – and now I do! Salem Ranch is more than a job to me – it is my ministry. I have often wondered how I could combine my passion for horses with my love of Jesus Christ – and God provided the answer! I believe that God has prepared me specifically for this opportunity in a variety of ways.

I grew up in a little town near Effingham, IL called Beecher City where I spend much of my time riding on my Godparents Arabian horse farm. I attended Lincoln Christian College during which time I met my lovely wife, we married, and shortly thereafter I left for a six-month journeyman farrier course in Missouri. I graduated from Heartland Horseshoeing School in ’02 and began my career as a farrier. As a young farrier you receive the horses nobody else wants to do, and so I had to quickly learn safe and effective methods of training to succeed with these challenging horses. And so, I began to educate myself about Natural Horsemanship. After extensive research of the various methods of horseman such as Clinton Anderson, Pat Parelli, Craig Cameron, Ray Hunt, Guy McLean, and others, I began my training career. I have trained horses and educated people in central Illinois for the past 13 years. Specifically, I have focused on colt starting, problem horses, retraining and remedial horses, western dressage, riding lessons, and horsemanship instruction. I have held multiple horsemanship clinics throughout the area, have attended many more, and try to never stop learning.

My passion and my skill is horsemanship, but my goal as Salem’s Equine Program Manager is to glorify God. Horses are majestic creatures – created by God to reflect His beauty – but all the horses in the world aren’t worth one of these young men, for whom Christ died. Many times we receive horses at the Ranch that are scared, timid, or aggressive. Many of our young men come to us the same way. If I can teach these young men how to connect and help horses overcome their fear then my hope is they will be able to see their way more clearly to healing in their own lives. It has been said, “The outside of the horse is good for the inside of a man.” It is equally true that the inside of a horse is good for the inside of a man. Horses reflect God’s beauty, but men reflect God’s image. I will have succeeded if these young men see Christ in me each and every day. Connecting with horses is fun and rewarding, but connecting with Christ is life, love, and peace. Please pray for our Salem Signature Series program as we strive to fulfill our mission to glorify God, restore hope, and change lives!