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Rachel and Boris Gokovski own and oper-


ate BR Ranch in Fredericksburg, Virginia, a full-service equestrian center off ering board- ing, training and riding lessons. But they off er a greater giſt , too—Equine Assisted T erapy. In 2006 they opened the doors at BR Ranch, and since then over 100 children with special needs, and dozens of adults, learned to master the art of a smile and exhilaration of success under the gentle direction of Rachel and her wonderful therapy horses.


FROM A FARAWAY LAND T eir journey to help people experience all


they want to in life, regardless of their situa- tion, began long before 2006 and in a land far from Fredericksburg. Twenty years earlier in Israel, Rachel and Boris established a highly respected equine-assisted therapy center, which is still operating today with seven therapists and 20 horses helping light up the lives of hundreds of clients a year. In Israel, Rachel was a physical education


teacher in public schools and had a keen talent for bringing out the best in her students. Boris earned a living as an engineer, and always loved horses. He holds several certifi cations as a horse trainer and was always very busy and much sought aſt er as the man you wanted to train your horse. In Israel he earned the nick- name “T e Hebrew Horse Whisperer.” Boris spent so much time with horses that 25 years ago, Rachel decided if she wanted to spend time with her husband, she’d bet er discover the world of horses. And so she did. Almost immediately, she picked up on the


marvelous way horses have of touching the human psyche. She asked herself if somehow she could combine the physical education she did and the horse’s ability to aid in learn- ing and therapy. Determined to do just that, she became certified in therapeutic riding instruction and combined it with Boris’ busi- ness. Parents of children with special needs began seeking them out. T eir riding arena was soon full of young people who faced their challenges and learned to laugh, ride and even walk, feeling the love and energy coming from both Rachel and the horses. T ere came a day, while taking account


of the exciting progress they were making in Israel, Rachel felt compelled to do more. She looked around, watching the day’s activities, the children smiling as they rode even as they struggled with their lesson, and felt God as- suring her she could and should do more. She felt compelled to expand. How could she and Boris do more to help? Something told her to go to America, to open a therapeutic riding


center. But how? Neither she nor Boris knew anyone in the US and neither spoke English well. Nevertheless, following their hearts, they traveled to California in 2000 and had a wonderful time, but found no real connection. T ey scheduled a trip for the following year to the Midwest and the East coast.


FINDING THE CONNECTION THEY SOUGHT


When they found Fredericksburg, they felt


the connection they sought, as if they had been there already. T e connection was unmistak- able. But back home in Israel, they had second thoughts. Here at home they had everything— friends, family, a home, a business. In the US they had nothing. How would they even begin? Should they begin? Rachel knew they must. Seeking guidance, she called the embassy


but all she really remembered was Freder- icksburg and exit 133B off Interstate 95. T e embassy put them in touch with Ralph Rob- bins in Virginia, whose business was to help to establish business in the US with Israel. Excited, Rachel called Ralph and they ar- ranged a meeting with another gentleman who he knew in Virginia. And that man lived off exit 133B. For Rachel and Boris, that was the sign they needed. In 2003, with the help of that gentleman, Rachel and Boris found and purchased the seven acres that would become BR Ranch. T ose seven acres are off exit 133B.


BUILDING A DREAM, FROM THE GROUND UP


In the beginning, there was nothing on


those seven acres—no house, no barn. Rachel went back to Israel to take care of business while Boris set about clearing land and build-


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“Seeking guidance, Rachel called the embassy, but all she really remembered was Fredericksburg and exit 133B off Interstate 95. The embassy put them in touch with Ralph Robbins in Virginia, whose business was to help to establish business in the US with Israel. Excited, Rachel called Ralph and they arranged a meeting with another gentleman who he knew in Virginia. And that man lived off exit 133B. For Rachel and Boris, that was the sign they needed. In 2003, with the help of that gentleman, Rachel and Boris found and purchased the seven acres that would become BR Ranch. Those seven acres are off exit 133B.”


WWW.TRAILBLAZERMAGAZINE.US • May 2012 | 55


Lily shows Cadan how much fun it is to laugh and cheer.


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