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TOP: At the ranch’s annual benefi t, each child and horse puts their best foot

forward to put on a great show for the public, including singing the National

Anthem, poems, essays, musical rides, show jumping, mounted games and endurance riding displays. LEFT: Many of the horses arrive at Challenge Ranch as rescues or someone’s problem horse.

Paris was one of these. She is now a beautiful show jumper/endurance horse and never a problem!

From Tuesday through Saturday every week of the year, as many as 20 youths a day who have

no family of their own come to the welcoming arms of the Challenge Ranch family. Jane and Ron Tomczak founded Challenge Ranch in 2000 to give these children the stability and solid home base they’ve been missing. A place where children, who by the age of 10 may have been in 10 diff erent foster homes, and others who have known no other home life than that of a group home, can discover the simple joy of being a kid and part of a family. Challenge Ranch really started long before 2000. Its roots can be traced to England, where

Jane grew up in a family that provided a very lonely and unkind childhood. Her only true, trusted companion was the neighbor’s pony. As a young girl she’d slip through the hedges, carrying her toys and books, and spend the entire day under the watchful eye of that pony. Sadly, she was never missed at home. Or welcomed. At the age of 14, she struck out on her own, put ing herself through high school and college working on horse farms. She didn’t know much about herself, other than horses were part of her. She knew, too, they saved her life.

A NEW LIFE Fresh out of college, Jane

moved to Cal i fornia to start a new life. In 1998 she met Ron, the man of her dreams. T ey married and together they raised Jane’s two wonderful sons from her fi rst marriage. All the while they enjoyed the rich, loving family life Jane never experienced as a child. Time, love and life marched hap- pily on. There came a day, when the boys

continued next page WWW.TRAILBLAZERMAGAZINE.US • September 2012 | 73

“Jane wondered if she could help just one child experience what she did as a girl with the pony in the hedged yard… experience the spark a horse’s heart can give a child who feels lost. She knew firsthand the way a horse’s spirit can wrap around a lost child and carry them into a happier world..”

Ron Tomczak speaking to a Challenge Ranch rider. She was just qui- etly sit ing in the arena, confi ding her problems to her horse. Some things are hard to talk about. T e day ended well.

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