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SWR Hosts CHA Clinics

Cheryl West – Training the Trainers

Stormwalker Ranch has had the honor of hosting two CHA Instructor Clinics, One in March and one in April with plans to host more clinics in the future. CHA, Certified Horsemanship Association, is committed to promoting excellence in safety and education for the benefit of our industry. CHA provides certifications not only for instructors, but also for facilities and facilities management.   We consider our CHA membership and promotion as an important part of what we do at the ranch as we invest in our instructors and our facilities. All of our instructors are working toward various forms of certifications in order to provide our clientele the very best in their equine experience. Stormwalker Ranch has chosen to host the CHA Instructor Clinics for many reasons. The most important of which is our search for Instructors.  In order to keep our year round lesson and group outreach program going alongside our camp program, the Ranch needs more instructors.   Hosting these clinics gives us the opportunity to not only provide training and education for our own instructors, but it is helping us identify prospective new instructors.   If you know of someone interested in pursuing Equine Education as a possible career path, do not hesitate to…


Nine Lives Completed

Naomi Walls – Barn Mom

As many of you remember, back in January we introduced you to Virgil, our Barn Cat. Well, I’m sad to report that we recently lost our beloved Virgil.

On a beautiful spring day, we laid to rest our Good Ol’ Barn Cat, Virgil Earp, in the back forty of Stormwalker Ranch. Virgil had a rag to riches life, from stray to star. He will be greatly missed, especially his best friend and playmate Ringo. His funeral progression left the barn with heavy hearts early afternoon April 16th with pall bearers Sudi and Bono. Other attendees were Valerie, Mindy, Debra, Luke, Jimmie, Cheryl, Lana, and myself.  Amazing Grace was sung and each shared a memory of Virgil, a Good Ol’ Barn Cat.

Unfortunately, the joy of having and loving a pet goes hand-in-hand with their eventual loss. And it is often the first time many kids are exposed to the concept of mortality, to life and death. So, helping them understand and cope with grief will strengthen them in with future.

Our children are at different ages, maturity levels and life experiences and these can be used to gauge how much information we give. Calmly explain what has happened. Be brief, then let their questions guide how much more is discussed. Be honest about your feelings. Show them that it’s okay to be sad for a time before refocusing on the many blessings in your lives.

“A new day will dawn on us from above because our God is loving and merciful.” – Luke 1:78

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Mia Danielle Merciez

You may recognize Mia Danielle Merciez (Mercy), nicknamed “Mia Girl” by her daddy, in her signature hot pink helmet hanging around Stormwalker Ranch. She’s been putting on her boots and gear since she was 8 years old, when she started at Stormwalker in 2013.

Mia’s “horse thing” started in Ponca City when her Nana took her to a friend’s ranch for the day, where she was asked to ride in the lead wagon at the 101 Ranch Rodeo opening parade. She was hooked. Mia started collecting Breyer horses, built her own ranch out of hundreds of popsicle sticks and asking to ride.   

The family didn’t have a ranch history or horse knowledge, so they looked for the right place for a girl who loved horses which landed her at Stormwalker Ranch. Mia was one of the first youth riders and Hoofbeat Campers out at Clay and Phyllis’s ranch as her…


Be Still, Get Busy

MK Kilburn • Media & Marketing

Years ago I took a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada mountains with church friends. During the daily miles of hiking, a Bible verse echoed in my head, “Be still (from Hebrew: “let go” or “release.”), and know that I am God.” Psalm 46:10a. I kept asking, how can I “be still” while hiking? How can I focus on knowing God, while I’m so busy trying not to trip over rocks, hit my head on branches, or lose sight of the group? 
Flash forward. I am no longer hiking up to Mt. Whitney, but I feel even more busy than ever. How? I have the same 24 hours, the same 7 days. But, I am often crushed by what feels like a lack of progress, never experiencing a sense of completion. How can “so busy” accomplish so little? To what have I given my time? When we don’t have a sense of what is important, we don’t have a sense of priority and everything feels urgent. By saying “yes” to things that don’t really matter, we are saying…


From the Horse’s Mouth

Valerie Eshelman • Barn Manager

Hello, my name is Shiners Hotrod. Around the Ranch folks know me as “Hotrod”. I was raised by Don and Elayne Scott (Some of you call her “Nana”). And you probably know my Mom, Sleepless. She is also part of the Stormwalker Ranch family I was born into. When Mr. Scott got sick, I was sent to a reining trainer down in Texas. Turns out I kinda liked it. New views. New challenges. New grass. It tasted a bit like BBQ 😉

After some training work there, it was time for me to come back home to SWR. But when I arrived, there wasn’t any reining for me. Instead, I started a new job doing riding lessons. I wasn’t sure about it at first. There were a lot of different people riding me, and I will be the first to admit, I’m not always much of a people-person, uh, horse. Over time, though, I found that it wasn’t so bad. I could hear the joy and see the smiles on the faces as I helped teach kids and adults how to ride.

One of my favorite human partners is Ms. Sudi Freeland. She’s super nice and is always very stylish, just like me. Well, last November I got to go with Sudi to the Kansas Regional Cowboy Dressage show where we competed together. It was a fun show. I almost cracked a smile.

Lately I have been helping with the CHA Clinics. These clinics are certification clinics for riding instructors. The people riding me got to pretend they were just learning to ride, they pretended to be different ages. But as humans go, they’re okay in my book. Team SWR takes great care of all of us. I get Acuscope treatments on my Stifles. I really love them. They make me feel so much better. Life here on the Ranch is peaceful. I am glad to be here with the rest of my friends. The grass here tastes a bit more sm-okie. Tastes like home.

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:7

May Calendar

May 01: Buckaroo Day – Caney Kindergarten
May 16: Last Day of School – Dewey / Caney
May 23: Last Day of School – Bartlesville
June 01: Summer Schooling Show – SWR
June 03: Start Summer Riding Schedule

May Birthdays

  • May 10: Kenedi – Happy 12th Birthday
  • May 17: Ms. Elayne – We love you, Nana
  • May 18: Maritza – Happy 7th Birthday
  • May 22: Harmoni – HBD to an outstanding SWR instructor
  • May 23: Anna – Happy 18th Birthday


Behind The Scenes

Volunteer: Kathi Barlow


Uneasiness. Apprehension. Heart pounding. Panic. Horses are very large and powerful, and for some, can be very intimidating. For those who participate in Gates of Grace, it is unusual for one to choose not to ride. But this young woman opted to just lead the horse around inside the arena.

At the rear gate, away from watching eyes, she stopped. Apprehension. Heart pounding. Clearly yearning to make an emotional connection with this beautiful and mysterious creation, she moved closer and began to speak softly. Slowly she reached out her hand in hope and apprehension. In that moment of uncertainty, the horse lowered his head to meet her. This loving acceptance drew her in even closer, expressing her affection in this gentle kiss.


She was given 3 timed obstacles to complete with this high-spirited mustang: to cross a tarp, to jump a 1.5’ obstacle, and the most difficult, getting the horse to walk between two barrels 3-ft apart. With many of her own emotional obstacles swirling around in her head, she still pushed forward supported by her loving family. With obstacles #1 and #2 behind her, she worked diligently to move between the barrels, but not before the buzzer sounded.

In her disappointment, however, she did not respond with frustration or defeat. Instead, she reached out to her equine partner, “whispering” and stroking his neck. And though the obstacle test had not appeared successful, it was clear she had made a connection with this wild horse.



Philanthropy Changes Lives and Culture

Clay & Phyllis Scott – Executive Directors

The dictionary defines “philanthropy” as an altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property and by generosity to other socially useful purposes. Melinda Gates, wife of tech billionaire Bill Gates says, “Philanthropy is not about the money. It’s about using whatever resources you have at your fingertips and applying them to improving the world.” 

2 Corinthians 9:8 says, “God will give you His constantly overflowing kindness. Then, when you have everything you need, you can do more and more good things.” 

This has been a philosophy under which we have been working with the resources for Stormwalker Ranch since its start in 2011. We have always been committed to using that which we have been given to help others…



the Kelley Blog

From the Mountains to the Prairie

APRIL 10, 2019  –  It was the Summer of ’77, and all I wanted to do was work with horses and teach kids to ride at good ol’ Shiloh Ranch. Little did I know how life altering that particular choice would be for me as my heart, hands and feet stepped through the gate and onto the grounds of that small faith-based ranch camp in the Malibu mountains of Southern California.

I thought I had life by the tail, but my tough-girl attitude was a mask established to try and dismiss so many pain-filled memories. I had been emotionally wounded in my youth…

the Kelley Blog

What’s Cooking?

APRIL 24, 2019  –  Just as Spring has burst upon us, Stormwalker Ranch is bursting into the community, and we want everyone to know about the unique and powerful things being accomplished at the Ranch! I love people, and I love sharing a heartfelt message or telling a story to them.

I recently had the opportunity to do both in a big way at the KWON Cooking Extravaganza in Bartlesville. You may be wondering why Stormwalker Ranch was present at a cooking show. That’s easy, to introduce folks to what’s have cookin’…


Buckaroo Days - Preview

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