Scenic view of trees at camp

Wranglers: An Inside Look

by Pine Cove


It’s 4:50 a.m. and the wranglers are already at the barn, ready to call in the horses and start the day. It’s still dark outside, but the early rays of morning sun are just starting to creep across the sky.

“The barn is like our house and we’re inviting campers over everyday, so in order to minister to them, we need to tend to the horses and facilities,” Tim “Swanee” Alderson said. “When the camper is inspired, then that keeps me going. I had an adult man tell me one time, ‘I have never felt closer to God than when I was on a horse.’ That made it worth it.”


Next to the horses, Swanee is a staple of the East Texas Pine Cove barns. For over thirty years, he has provided a strong spiritual and practical foundation in the barn when it comes to working with campers and horses.

“There are so many ways that our relationships with horses line up with our relationship with the Lord, so if the wranglers have a good grasp on the gospel then they can see how that aligns and can minister to the campers as they ride,”  Woods Barn Manager Cassie “Dr. Moolittle” Whiteneck said.


Not many people really know what goes on in the barn. Wranglers wake up at 4:15am (no, that’s not a typo!) and make their way to the horses. Every horse needs to be fed, watered, and brushed. The rest of day is filled with interacting with campers by helping them ride or doing other barn activities.

“We want to be good stewards of our horses and our barn, which is why we’re so particular about caring for the horses,” Whiteneck said.

Wranglers don’t need any prior experience with horses because they can learn all they need to know once they arrive for training and orientation.


“We look for people with a good work ethic,” Whiteneck said. “We also want people who have a really great grasp on the gospel, especially at the younger camps because horses provide such a unique ministry opportunity.”

Many wranglers agree that the barn is the best place to share spiritual truth with campers, which may seem odd to some, but hey- Jesus was born in a barn! It also helps that younger kids especially think every wrangler is their own personal hero.  


Posted Jul 10, 2018

Pine Cove

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