Where Angels Reign

September 19, 2022


Located in the southeastern portion of Stearns Electric Association’s service territory, Cooperative member Angel Reins Stable provides a peaceful refuge for those that need it most. Through equine therapy, Angel Reins is serving veterans, survivors of human trafficking and others suffering from PTSD, depression, anxiety, grief and more.

Though officially established in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Angel Reins Stable has been working its mission for over four years.

“Angel Reins Stable was not my idea; It was a mission placed in my heart from God,” founder and executive director Katherine Zachman explained. “It sounds made up, but it’s true. When I started this journey, I had a completely different plan in my head. And as I proceeded forward, some doors closed shut but others, the right doors, opened wide.”

Zachman has always loved horses and has always had a heart for helping. These traits merged to create Angel Reins Stable.

Angel Reins Stable wouldn’t be possible without the horses, or “angels.” Though the organization is known for helping people, Angel Reins is all about helping horses, too.

“Most of our horses are rescued,” Zachman explained. “Horses come to us when people contact me when they see a horse in need, or we see a horse online who needs us. We do our very best to rescue horses as we can.”

Their “angel” Cowboy, for example, was rescued from a kill lot in Louisiana. Zachman saw a video of Cowboy posted online and knew he had to come to Angel Reins Stable in Minnesota.

“Unfortunately, horses, like pets, often end up being sold only to end up in bad places after an owner cannot take care of them any longer, for whatever reason,” she explained. “Often times, they end up in what are called kill lots, where they are essentially shipped to other countries for slaughter.”

In the case of Cowboy, Zachman happened to see a video posted of him at the right time. She only had two days before he was to be shipped out, so she acted quickly and was able to rescue him.

“Cowboy is a favorite of many of the clients,” Zachman explained. “The little buttermilk buckskin is well trained, has a heart of gold and a great sense of humor.”

Though Zachman wishes she could rescue all of the horses in need, it’s just not feasibly possible. Horses need shelter and space, food and water, farrier and veterinary care, and attention. All of this is readily available to the “angels” at Angel Reins Stable, but space and financial resources can only go so far to keep all of the horses comfortable.

“The horses are so sweet and forgiving, even after everything they have been through,” Zachman said. “Before they arrive at Angel Reins, their world is often quite ugly. I think that’s one of the reasons why they are so helpful to the clients we serve, who have lived through much trauma and an ugly world themselves.”

Angel Reins Stable serves many different people, but especially focuses on veterans and victims of human trafficking.

“The people we serve have experienced a lot of abuse and trauma, and the horses help them in so many ways,” Zachman explained. “The horses really seem to see through to each person’s soul and connect with each of them in unique ways. Angel for example, an elderly blind horse, actually sees with her heart and has helped many people find peace and healing.”

“We’ve seen it time and time again. The horses add a clarity that these people haven’t been able to find in other places. People heal here,” she continued. “Horses don’t judge. They have no agenda. They just allow people to heal on their own time.”

And once you come for therapy and lessons, you become part of the family. In fact, during our meeting at Angel Reins Stable, two veterans, Joe and Ben, and Joe’s service dog Gerda, arrived for their riding lessons. They might have been strangers at some point, but on this day, it was obvious that the Angel Reins Stable team is a family who would do anything for one another.

“This whole experience at Angel Reins is changing my perspective for the better! I can’t put into words how grateful I am!! This is truly a place of peace and healing, not only that, it’s a place of growth, and great friends!” Jack Curtiss, United States veteran, said.

“We really are a family. We have an atmosphere that allows everyone who is at the barn to relax, smile, laugh and feel again,” Zachman explained. “It’s a safe space here and there is no negative energy. We are grateful for our amazing board of directors and wonderful volunteers.”

Angel Reins Stable offers its equine therapy services and horse-riding lessons to their clients at no charge. But like every operation, there are still plenty of expenses.

One of the ways Angel Reins Stable raises money is through fundraisers. The first annual Angel Reins Stable fundraiser, Boots and Blue Jeans, is coming up on October 8 in Clearwater. It will feature a dinner and dance, plus performances by veterans, including Joe and Ben, and the horses. There will be a silent auction and raffle. Additionally, the 4th Annual 5K run/one mile walk is October 22. More information is available at

Another way they raise funds is through community support, such as the Stearns Electric Association Operation Round Up® program.

Stearns Electric’s Operation Round Up® (ORU) program gives our member-owners the opportunity to give back to their local communities by rounding up their monthly electric bill to the nearest dollar. The rounded-up funds (between 1¢ and 99¢) are placed in a trust fund and administered by a Trust Board appointed by the Cooperative’s elected Board of Directors. Operation Round Up® and Stearns Electric members have awarded over $2.8 million to local non-profit organizations and community service programs since the program’s inception in 1993.

“The Operation Round Up® program helps us in so many ways. We are just really grateful for the continued support,” Zachman explained. “If we can provide a little peace and healing for the heart of our clients, we are fulfilling our mission. Through programs like Operation Round Up®, we help each other do good things in our communities.”

Angel Reins is currently in the process of purchasing 10 acres of land next to its current property. The organization plans to build an additional facility there, which includes an office space, indoor riding arena and additional stalls.

“When the expansion is complete, we will be able to serve more people and horses,” Zachman explained.

“There are so many emotional connections made here at Angel Reins Stable and so much that happens on an unspoken level,” she concluded. “Angel Reins Stable is truly an amazing place.”

Feature Photo Credit: Shelley Paulson