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Rachel Elizabeth Knickerbocker

Rachel has been a Hay Day volunteer for 2 years. She is an experienced rider and has a huge heart for helping horses and kids.  She is loving, compassionate and a true blessing to ALL!

Here is her Hay Day Testimonial…

“In early March of 2015, I got a persistent headache that has not gone away since. I went to multiple doctors who tried every migraine and headache medication imaginable and nothing worked. I was even admitted to the hospital for four days in May. I was so afraid of what it might be and no one seemed to be able to give me answers. I was so frustrated with not knowing, and I started to lose hope that I would be able to find something to take my pain away. I stayed in my house for weeks; only leaving for doctors’ appointments that seemed to go in circles. Nothing was helping and I was passed from doctor to doctor; no one knew what to do. I was getting desperate. I just wanted to find something to help. So, I started coming out to Hay Day Ranch again. I had been a volunteer for over a year and had to stop participating because of my condition. Being around the horses helped so much. Hay Day became my Happy Place and I could almost forget about my headache. In those times spent at Hay Day, I felt like ME again. During the scariest experience of my life, Hay Day Ranch was my sanctuary where I could escape from all of my worries and my doubts. I am so grateful to Susan for creating this beautiful place where I could escape from my struggles and find hope again. Thank you so much for everything!”


Our daughter Maren visited us from Germany this summer. She already had therapeutic riding lessons in Germany. Learning of the opportunity to ride in the United States was a special attraction for her. We were very pleased when Susan at Hay Day Ranch agreed to allow Maren this special experience on several days. Maren met the horses (and dogs) at Hay Day Ranch. Maren thoroughly enjoyed the program and the volunteers who worked with her, Rachel and Kathy. Thank you to everyone who made this possible for Maren. We hope to participate again when Maren is here next summer!


One day after my 11 year old daughter had been out to Hay Day Ranch riding the horse named Dewey, we were sitting in church. At one point during the service she leaned over to me and whispered, “I wish I were riding Dewey right now.” It made me smile that while we were supposed to be pondering God’s glory she was pondering horseback riding. When asked what is your favorite part of going to Hay Day Ranch, she just lights up and says she couldn’t pick just one thing except to say that it is all fun! I really like the confidence she has gained by being with the horses. Usually a timid child, she is not at all afraid to be by the horses, brush them, and feed them treats. She sits up tall in the saddle and follows Miss Sue’s advice to be large and in charge which is totally new for her. When her anxieties pop up at home, we talk about how she feels on Dewey and to tap into those feelings to get through the moment. Hay Day has been such a great experience for her! Thank you, Miss Sue.

As a new volunteer at Hay Day Ranch, I’ve been amazed at the connections I already feel — to others, a connection with God, and a connection to doing things that matter. As a former school psychologist and horse enthusiast, volunteering at Hay Day is the perfect match for me. I strongly believe in the mission and vision that Sue has for Hay Day, and seeing it in action has gone right to my heart. When children connect with horses and feel pride in their accomplishments, I believe that can help them feel joyful and empowered. I am so excited to be part of Hay Day and can’t wait to see all the good things that happen here! 


I have been volunteering at Hay Day Ranch for the past six months and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Susan has a true passion for helping kids and horses. The horses come to the fence and greet us as soon as we arrive. They seem to have a natural healing ability and it is amazing to watch them interact with the kids and bring smiles to their faces. From the first time I went to the ranch and experienced the warm and inviting atmosphere, I knew I wanted to be part of this program “


The spirit of Hay Day Ranch that has meant the most to me and my family is, “come as you are.”  As we drive into the property, a sense of calm and contentment comes over us all and we are so grateful to be able to experience the love and beauty at the ranch.  Come as you are, where you are, and you are welcome and loved, valued, and important.  There’s no greater gift than that and we are so grateful for that out at Hay Day!


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