Monique began riding horses when she was nine, got her first horse when she was twelve and began training and showing horses when she was fourteen. While in high school, she began a Future Farmers of America project rescuing and rehabilitating abused and neglected horses.
John & Monique Black were both born and raised in California's Central Valley. Married for more than twenty-four years, they have attended and served in ministry at Crossroads Grace Community Church in Manteca for as many years.
When Monique was nineteen she was accepted to the Advanced Equine Studies program at the premiere international equestrian center, The Maryland Horse Center (also known as the Potomac Horse Center) in Gaithersburg, Maryland. There, she trained under individuals such as Dressage coach Elizabeth Madlener and US Equestrian Team cross country and dressage Olympic Medalist Grant Schneidman.
After graduating from the program Monique returned to California and spent a year managing one of the largest Combined Training barns on the West Coast, Oakridge Stables in Santa Rosa. Oakridge is owned by Combined Training Instructor Yves Sauvignon. Monique then returned to the California Central Valley and managed a large tack department at popular feed store. She also owned and competed professionally with rehabilitated horses for many years in the disciplines of dressage and combined training. In addition she spent several years as a combined training instructor.
In 1998 Monique set aside her full-time equine pursuits to work in full-time ministry. Since then, she has served at her 1500 member church in music ministry, production planning and youth ministries. In 2001 she began Steps of Faith, a discipleship/hip hop dance ministry for Jr. High, high school and college students and led that ministry until January of 2010. She has served in community outreach and involved her students in projects such as citrus gleaning for area homeless shelters and food programs, Christmas boxes for the homeless and her church’s “Second Saturday” community outreach ministry.
Since she was in high school, Monique has had a dream to work with broken horses and hurting children together. She knows from her own difficult childhood how uniquely equipped horses are to help heal hurts that humans alone can’t reach. Her unique experiences have prepared her for this endeavor.
John previously worked in law enforcement for more than 25 years. He served in many different assignments throughout those years, working with local, state and Federal law enforcement agencies. John has had extensive experience and training in dealing with abused and neglected children, as well as juvenile delinquency during his law enforcement career.
John has been involved in and has led several ministries at his church for more than 20 years. He has also been involved in youth ministry for approximately 10 years. This combination of professional law enforcement and youth ministry experience has uniquely equipped him to help hurting children and their families overcome the obstacles in their lives.
About the Founders
What We Believe
MSR is not associated with any particular congregation; however, it is a Christian ministry. The ranch is founded on the same Judeo-Christian values that our nation was built upon. Faith on the ranch is lived out in the every day lives of our leaders and volunteers. Our hope is that by doing this each person that comes to the ranch would be encouraged to explore a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Because the Founders and Board of Directors believe in God and the saving grace of His Son Jesus Christ, it is our greatest desire to serve God by the demonstration of our faith through action, by our love for Him and the support of families. It is our highest honor to serve children and families of all backgrounds.