In December 2021, Amy Nordic was riding a horse that was going full speed toward a highway. Fearing for her life, she hit what she calls, “the emergency break,” which caused the horse to immediately stop in its tracks. However, it also caused her to fly over the horse, hit a tree and break her back in three different places.

After fighting for her life at a Memorial Hermann hospital for several months, Amy Nordic went to physical therapy, where her therapist suggested she look into creating a nonprofit with the land and horses she and her husband, Ty Nordic, own in Willis.

The full story

“We needed a mission,” Amy Nordic said. “So we asked several people, ‘What’s a need in our area?'”

Finding that a similar ranch in Montgomery County already provided equine therapy for children with special needs, Ty Nordic heard about a nonprofit called H-Town Dream Center, which helps women and children who survive human trafficking and domestic violence.

“There are a lot of kids out there that don’t have anything positive at all in their lives,” Ty Nordic said. “So we thought we’d focus on that and try to provide something positive for those kids. We want them to come out here, enjoy the country and ride the horses—to have something to look forward to during the week that was positive. We made that our mission.”

The specifics

Cherokee Outlaw Ranch received its designation as a nonprofit organization in January 2022.

The ranch specializes in equine therapy by using horses to aid children and adults in overcoming challenges, fear and abuse.

Ty Nordic said the horses are rescues, and also survivors of abuse and neglect.

“It’s good to take these horses who have been in really bad situations and give them hope,” he said. “Give them a chance to come out and realize that all humans aren’t bad. They can be treated well and have a job or just live out their last years being a horse.”

As of Dec. 4, Cherokee Outlaw Ranch had rescued 24 horses and serves approximately 12-16 children at any given time.

Get involved

The ranch is run by a handful of volunteers, including Taysha Hatfield and Makaila Fenwick, who help train the horses. As a nonprofit, the organization also accepts donations, including:
  • Monetary donations
  • Horse trailers
  • Saddles, bridles and tack
  • Helmets
  • Cowboy boots
Amy Nordic said her and Ty Nordic’s vision for the future is for the ranch to become a sanctuary that eventually no one has to pay for.

“That’s been the biggest challenge for us—not knowing the nonprofit world.” Ty Nordic said. "The difficulty in getting donations, applying for grants—it’s overwhelming sometimes. But all we want to do is create a safe space for children and horses to find some peace and positivity in the world."​​​