Riding Light brings faith to the farm

Participants in the InFaith – Riding Light Ministries this year include, front from left: Lauren Bleess, Elisabeth Nelson, and Lorali Young. Second row: Mia Trevino, Grace Scheff, Carol Bartness, Judy Wiedemeier, Alison Dirksen, Sarah Popp, and Krista Loott. Third row: Tarra Kothenbeutel, Isla Potter, Sadie Popp, Fallon Culbertson, and Sarah Dirksen. Back row: Jill Skogen, Corrine Owens, and Helena Ecksted. Not pictured is Grace Nelson.

     It’s been a successful first year for a new youth mentoring program that combines ministry with a love for horses.

     Judy Wiedemeier of Buffalo Center started InFaith – Riding Light Ministries this summer at the Triple J farm, where she and her husband, Jerry, live northwest of town.

     Eight girls took part in the 10-week program this summer, coming from Buffalo Center and surrounding communities in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota.

     Wiedemeier says the girls have learned about horses, including how to groom them, touch them and saddle them. “They really gain some skills out here,” said Wiedemeier. She says it’s amazing how much confidence the girls have built with the horses over the summer.

     The girls each work one-on-one with a mentor and a horse, while Wiedemeier served as the group leader.

     Wiedemeier says this program is an extension of what she’s been doing for the last 10 years, as she runs horse camps at Prairie River Camp near Bricelyn, MN. “It’s a passion of mine to share the horses with the kids and then share the Lord with them, too,” she said. “It’s a nice way to relate to them.”

     There were lesson plans for each weekly session, as two groups met this year on Tuesdays and Thursdays. While the sessions vary from week to week, they usually have devotional time, horse time, and one-on-one time with the mentors.

     Alison Dirksen, one of the mentors for the program, says this first year has been excellent. She has been mentoring Mia Trevino this summer.

     “For me, it was kind of something I was looking for,” said Dirksen. “Since college, I wanted to do something with investing in people, but I wasn’t really sure about a good outlet. So it’s really been excellent to have this.”

     See full story in the October 3 edition of the Buffalo Center Tribune.