Grassroots Ranch, located in Maple Ridge, British Columbia, is a place of intersection; a place where old horse hands and newbie riders, would-be cowboys and local cutting champions, at-risk youth and teenage farmhands, retired horse pundits, seniors of all stripes and kids with special needs all meet around the same thing: their love for riding.

At the centre of all the action is Deb Murray. Feisty on the ground and adept in the saddle Deb began the ranch in 2005. “I wanted to bring the country to the city.” says Deb, a nurse at the Maple Ridge hospital and a local cutting champion. A people-person by nature with a deep compassion for the underdog, Deb strives to make Grassroots Ranch a place where visitors and riders of all stripes feel relaxed, challenged and encouraged.

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Deb is the face of Grassroots Ranch

Deb’s foremost desire in working with people who are new to horses is to keep the rider safe and the horse safe. “Horses are herd animals”, she explains. “Their flight instincts are strong.  It’s important early in the human-horse relationship to establish that you, as the rider, are the one calling the shots, not your horse.”

The permanent residents on the ranch include two lesson horses: Traveller and Sandee, and Deb’s horse, Bree.  The other boarded horses, chickens, barn cats and a few “wabbits” as Deb calls them, complete the farm family.