A horse movie with some heart. That sounds like a good time to me!
The holiday season is a time of giving. We give gifts to family and friends. We give extra time to those we care about (provided all our shopping is done, of course). And in my family, we also sit down at the end of the year and decide which charities to give to. I have my favorites that I usually try to share with, but I’m always on the lookout for new opportunities.
And this year, one sort of fell into my lap.
I don’t usually watch the previews of movies, but when I do it seems like more and more I find other things I want to watch. That’s how I found Emma’s Chance. Written and directed by Anna Elizabeth James, the story features good girl on the brink of going bad, Emma. Emma has gotten herself into a little bit of trouble by sneaking onto the local Red Bucket Ranch on a dare from her friends and disturbing the horses. As punishment she is forced to work at the ranch after school and on weekends to make up for her misbehavior.
The horses on Red Bucket are rescue horses. They are either bought at auction and saved from the slaughterhouse or purchased from owners, sometimes abusive, who no longer care to keep them. In the movie, some of the horses were former show horses or jumpers that were abandoned after they got too old to perform or compete. Emma befriends one of the more persnickety horses.
The movie has a decent cast—even considering Joey Lawrence—and I enjoyed watching it. Like every red-blooded American teenage girl, I too, had a horse-crazy phase. I always thought it was unfair that my mom got to have horses when she was younger and I didn’t (to be fair, she grew up on a farm). I’ve since grown out of it (thankfully) but as I was watching the movie, I wondered if there really were ranches like this that saved horses.
It turns out that I didn’t have to look too far because when I googled Red Bucket Ranch, I found out that it’s a real thing. “The Ranch that the Horses Own” really exists in Chino Hill, California and it’s called the Red Bucket Equine Rescue (redbucketrescue.org). It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit and their mission statement reads:
Our mission is to save and rehabilitate horses
Restore their trust in humankind, and
Find them safe, loving, permanent, adoptive homes.
There are stories of the horses they have saved with pictures of the horses. All of the horses used in Emma’s Chance were from the Red Bucket, and many of the extras were volunteers.
So this holiday season, take the time to consider those who are less fortunate. If you have favorite charities, please give to them. If not, or if you need some new options, watch Emma’s Chance, and maybe consider the Red Bucket Ranch. Either way, make sure you stock up on some good movies from the library for your holiday break. They are excellent to curl up next to the fireplace with (provided it’s not still 90 degrees outside).
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays!
Happy reading/watching/giving until next year!