This testimony was found on Yelp. All rights goes to the author.
When I was sent to this place in 2005 I was terrified, dressed in rags, and broke my back as I exceeded the child labor laws times a million daily. Not saying it was a total negative experience, although most of it was due to MOST of the people running the program.
I was there for about 8 months and I had only gotten 2 school credits (this is a fact). Kids and teens get hungry because they are constantly growing; my point is that the girls do not have access to the kitchen so if we are laboring in the heat or the freezing cold we only have water no Gatorade no gronola bars nothing to feed our energy, so now this is why some girls "steal" food (if you even want to call it that since the parents are paying the program more than enough money to feed an army, I shot you not) so anyways when they would do that they would give them ridiculous punishments, such as eating cold oatmeal for all 3 meals for 3 days in a row, yuk.
There were all kinds of crazy stuff they did. I personally was told that I had to tie myself to this other girl with a rope and we had to be tied together with a rope connected to our belt loops all day long until bedtime. This went on for 5 months. Then at one time, I had to care for that Saint Bernard dog you see in the pictures, only when bedtime came along I was not allowed to sleep in my bed, they made me sleep on the floor with the dog without a pillow or a blanket. I did not get the sleep I needed during that time and I still had to labor all day, that is if I wanted to eat real food. They ALWAYS use food as a punishment even though it says right there in the cowgirl manual that they will NOT use food as a punishment. These people like to contradict themselves, and if you think for one minute that Angie and Jerry (the owners) don't know what's going on think again because they do know and they don't care.
I was upset one night and so I just started running down the dirt road, they came after me in the truck and slammed me down On The ground. Now after this happens the staff preceded to tie up my entire body in a thick heavy rope and threw me in the back of the truck and drove back up to the cabins. I didn't know what the hell was going on and then I over heard them talking about locking me in the shed and they didn't do that because there were nails sticking out of the walls and so they thought I was going to kill myself ( and that's something I would never do, I was simply PISSED) but can you blame me? First of all I already had been traumatized before I went to this place and they just made things worse for me.
I'll tell you all something, ANYBODY can go and get a job that's meant for helping people, just to go for the money, and OR to make others miserable because they are miserable. There are a lot of crooked COPS, and many other titles. I really hope I can get through to many parents out there. One more memory is about this thing they put us through called "Pig Shifts" which means; after the mother pig gives birth, the girls are paired up and every pair has a set time each day or night or early AM to watch the piglets to make sure the momma does not crush them. Each shift would run 3 hours at a time. My pig shift was from 2am to 5am mind you that us two girls had to walk across a huge field about a mile and a half long in the middle of the night in the pitch dark knowing that a mountain lion was spotted by the neighbor, and we heard this from staff. Now we were not allowed to go to sleep until 9:30pm each night we had the option to stay up a little later but I was always so exhausted I had wished I could have gone to sleep earlier, especially with pig shifts and then laboring all day. One more thing I forgot to mention is that they like to make us run everywhere on top of the pig shifts, the daily labor, and the lack of nutrition.
Another important memory I must share; we went hiking in the mountains (very beautiful) anyways, once we had gotten to Deep lake we were to put our food up into the trees before we would camp for the night as there are REAL BEARS where they bring the girls. So I had put my food in the sack to go up into the tree and we were about to go to sleep and I had forgotten that I had a small Gatorade packet in my pocket ( yes the one time we actually got this type on stuff on hiking trips) so I was worried because I didn't want to get eaten by a bear so I told staff right away and it was a simple mistake but they got mad at me, so then I went to burry it away from the campsite to be safe. Then the next morning because of what happened with me and that Gatorade packet the night before the staff refused to let any of us eat breakfast, and this was the day after a very long and strenuous hike. Thank you God Bless