GUYTON — Bonnie Rachael is set to retire after serving 15 years as the CEO of Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center. The founder of the non-profit organization is preparing to step aside and welcome Fran Todd as her successor Sept. 1.
Rachael said she had been praying about finding a new director for a while and was trying to determine “who could be CEO and be the right fit for this place, because our culture — we’re faith and it really needs to be somebody that can trust God and step out in faith to do this — and it’s just like He put her name on my heart.”
Todd, who spent 24 years working with Life Inc., including eight as executive director, felt the same way. She believes it is God’s plan for both of them.
Todd said she is excited about using her non-profit experience at Faith Equestrian. She wants to build on the solid foundation that Rachel established.
Todd said a horse therapy course she took changed her life. Rachael said of Todd, “God was preparing you.”
What started with Rachael’s backyard barn and a small outdoor area for children to ride horses now features a large covered arena, education and office buildings, fencing and more. The facility contributes positively to the cognitive, physical, emotional and social well-being of individuals with special needs.
Equine therapy also provides benefits in the areas of health, education, sport and recreation & leisure.
Rachael said she has been thinking about her successor since Faith Equestrian was established.
“I didn’t build it for me,” she said. “I built it for the community.”
Todd said that knowing the healing power of animals was a huge part of her being ready to take on the job. Rachael acknowledged that and added that Todd will “take it and bring it to a new level.”
Rachael intends to remain on the Faith Equestrian Board of Directors and continue to help in the transition.