News & Events

Twilight “The Cat” Moves to California

Many of you followed the story of Twilight, the stray cat, who wandered into our lives when she showed up at HOPE Ranch one summer day. We finally found a forever home, for which she is very grateful. Twilight wanted to share the story of how she found her forever home by traveling all the way to California!

Hi! My name is Twilight (Twi to my friends and family). I met Kit on her porch in late June 2019 while Kit was talking with Sharon on the phone that afternoon. I walked right up, introduced myself, and made myself at home. Kit shared my photo with Sharon during that call and we three became instant friends that day. 

Kit gave me some food and I decided to stay. I became a house cat along with her other (indoor) felines and her dog Sadie (Sadie is indoor/outdoor) ☺ . Sadie and I got along well but the kitties didn’t like me much , so I had to live alone in the living room / the upstairs side of the house while all the others had the run of the rest of the space. It was pretty lonely though I had some great views of the birds in the trees from my 2nd story windows and I could see the horses in the barn and the corral as well as everybody coming and going up and down the driveway. 

In August Sharon came to visit and help Kit ‘continue moving in’ and I shared my rooms with her. We got to know each other quite well during those 10 days. Sharon had had a cat (sometimes as many as three) since she was three years old but her last kitty (Tobie) had died in April and Sharon was now cat-less. I tried to make her feel welcome. We had lots of fun together each evening. I especially liked to walk on her when she slept on her side, then I could nuzzle my nose in her ear.  I thought it was a fun game! 

As it came time for Sharon to go home, it was clear that the other kitties were not going to allow me to share the house so I asked Sharon if I could go home with her and be her kitty. 

Kit approved, and with the help of Delta airlines, I got to fly home with Sharon to California. I enjoyed the 2-hour layover in Minneapolis in the frequent flyer lounge and our little private room where Sharon brought me treats from the buffet while I enjoyed the leather chairs. (The chicken wild rice soup was particularly delicious.) All the airline staff was very kind to me. We even got to see photos of their kitties too. Bill met us at San Francisco airport at 2:00 AM (instead of San Jose much earlier, due to weather-related scheduling issues) and drove us to my new home. It was very different but I felt welcome, especially thanks to the sign that greeted me “Welcome to your new home” with a cat face drawn on it and a chocolate KitKat bar laying on the pen ledge. It took us a while to settle in. I stayed inside for a few weeks ‘til I got comfortable with my new surroundings then Sharon got me a beautiful pink collar with my name engraved on a shiny silver tag. That day I ventured out in the backyard  – it was very exciting. I didn’t go far to start but then I got brave and ‘up and over’ the fence I went to the neighbor’s yard. Turns out there were lots of cars going by out at the end of that street and it was kind of scary so I hid under their deck ‘til Sharon came and got me. I really like the Kitty door they put in for me so I can go in and out whenever I want. There’s a lot of water in the backyard so I’m avoiding that (a pool).

That’s how I came to live with Sharon in California. Maybe at a later date, I will share more of my adventures. But for now thanks for listening to my story. 



Consider Supporting Hope Ranch Foundation – GiveMN Fundraiser

Hope Ranch Foundation is holding a fundraiser through GiveMN.

The mission of the Foundation is to promote and fund the partnering with animals (including but not limited to: equine, dogs, and cats) for clients of all ages who could benefit from animal-assisted psychological services regardless of their ability to pay.
In today’s world, mental health services are more critical than ever before. 

Our goal is to raise $5,000 in 7 days.

Fundraising efforts are needed to provide programming by EAGALA certified practitioners, client scholarships, and to care for animals.

Animal-assisted psychotherapy is provided, in a variety of settings, and may be group-based or individual in nature. The process is documented and evaluated, and the animal is an integral part of the treatment process.

Horse Powered Growth and Learning programs include programs related to students becoming more intrinsically motivated learners. Animal-assisted activities are delivered in a variety of environments by specially trained and certified professionals, working with animals that meet specific criteria.

Programming includes: social skills groups for youth; young women’s group; young men’s groups; family groups; groups for youths and adults with PTSD; parenting groups; and horse-powered learning (tutoring).

Funds raised will also support programs to raise, feed, and care for the animals utilized in the work, including veterinary, farrier, stable, pasture care, and other services necessary to provide for the wellbeing of the animals.

Won’t you consider making a donation today? We thank you in advance for your support!

HOPE Ranch is Open During COVID-19

HOPE Ranch remains open during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

In light of rising concern about individual’s emotional and psychological well-being, Olmsted County Public Health has advised us to remain open and to continue meeting with clients. The recommended social distancing ensuring that we stay safe and protected creates isolation and increasing anxiety and fear for many. 

We remain open and available to meet with people in person at our office, or remotely by Video Call through WhatsApp, or by calling our office line at 507-281-3033. If you get a voicemail, just leave a message and we will get back to you.


Regarding Appointments, Exposures, and Recommendations:

We at HOPE Ranch are continuing to closely monitor the coronavirus/COVID-19 situation in coordination with public health authorities, local governments, and in consultation with other medical and mental health care providers. Our goal is to ensure our patients are treated and cared for and have safe access to care.

Because transparency is vital, we did want to let you know that a key HOPE Ranch employee’s family member may have been exposed to a person with a confirmed case of COVID-19. This possibly exposed family member does not live in the same household as the key HOPE Ranch employee.

Precautionary measures are in place at HOPE Ranch to ensure that all our clients and our staff are as safe and protected as possible. 

Some of these measures are listed below:

  1. The employee whose family member has possibly been exposed is socially distancing themselves from clients and other employees and will not be in the office for the next 2 weeks.
  2. If you have any reservations about in-person appointments, video calls or phone calls are encouraged. If you choose to have an in-person appointment, we will politely ask that you sign a consent form acknowledging that you are aware of the risks due to the possible exposure of a family member of one of our employees and that you will in no way hold HOPE Ranch liable if you or your child should become ill with coronavirus.
  3. If you or anyone you have been in close contact with has recently traveled to impacted areas (which currently include mainland China, Italy, Iran, Japan, South Korea, and some parts of the United States), we ask that you contact us to make alternative arrangements for in-person meetings during the 14-day window following such travel. Also, we politely ask you to avoid attending any HOPE Ranch event during the 14-day window. Please note, these same precautionary measures have been required of all HOPE Ranch employees.


The social distancing that is recommended, along with growing concern about how the situation will play out,  may create increasing tension and anxiety, depression, and fear for many. We encourage you to utilize telephone calls, texts, emails, and video calls to stay in contact and decrease feelings of isolation.  


Be aware that relying on social media for information and socializing can increase anxiety as there is a great deal of misinformation being shared. People can quickly become overwhelmed by the volume of information and the speed at which it is shared.


Be sure to keep your medical and mental health appointments either in-person or via video or phone call. Continue to practice your self-care, including taking any prescribed medications. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, afraid, or hopeless, reach out to friends, family, and medical or mental health professionals.

In light of rising concern about individual’s emotional and psychological well-being, Olmsted County Public Health has advised us to remain open and to continue meeting with clients. The recommended social distancing ensuring that we stay safe and protected creates isolation and increasing anxiety and fear for many. We remain open and available to meet with people in person at our office, or remotely by Video Call through WhatsApp, or by calling our office line at 507-281-3033. If you get a voicemail, just leave a message and we will get back to you.


Below are some helpful links to resources that are providing up-to-date information on the coronavirus:

The Minnesota Department of Health’s website has up-to-date information on COVID-19 locally:

Specifically, here is further information regarding behavioral  health and emergency preparedness:

Governor Walz issued an executive order announcing mitigation strategies across the state of Minnesota to limit the spread of the virus.  All of the strategies can be found here: 4 talks about worksites.   

Additionally, these are the general recommendations for anyone who believes they’ve had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 but do not have any symptoms:

  • Recommendation to remain at home or in a comparable setting,
  • Practice social distancing (avoid mass gatherings)
  • Monitor for symptoms
  • Recommendation to postpone long-distance travel


These are the general recommendations for anyone who believes they’ve had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is experiencing symptoms:

  • Call your medical provider to explain symptoms over the phone before arriving at a medical facility for treatment.
  • Self-isolation 

The Centers for Disease Control website provides great information on a variety of topics having to do with the coronavirus/COVID-19. 

We are here to help. Reach out to us anytime.


Kit Muellner and the Entire HOPE Ranch Team

Volunteer Chore Helper Wanted


H.O.P.E. Ranch, a psychotherapy practice where animal-assisted and other experiential cognitive-behavioral (CBT) and dialectical (DBT) psychotherapy services are provided in a rural setting, is currently accepting and processing applications for Volunteer Farm Chore Helper.  

Our beautiful new location 9145 80th Ave SE Chatfield, MN is just minutes south of the Rochester Fleet Farm, just south of the town of Marion.  The four-legged therapy team of 6 horses, 1 dog, and 3 cats are all settled in and need your loving care!

Your Chore Help duties may include cleaning stalls, cleaning and filling water tanks, grooming horses occasionally, and assisting with garden areas, mowing, and fencing and other repairs around the farm. The ability to lift 50 pounds repeatedly is a requirement.  Five to six shifts are available depending on the week.  Each shift is a minimum of 2 hours long. A minimum of 2 shifts per week is required in order to provide consistency and continuity for the horses.

Email to:
Mail to: H.O.P.E Ranch, 9145 80th Ave SE, Chatfield, MN  55923
Questions? Call 507-281-3033

For Sale: 6005 Salem Road SW, former location of the Hope Ranch

FOR SALE! 6005 Salem Road SW, the former location of Hope Ranch, is for sale. This beautiful little oasis has served us well, but the time to move to a new oasis, not far from here, to accommodate our evolving practice, has arrived.

This incredible 4 bedroom, 3 bath, 3,864 sqft house on 7.86 acres is ready for its lucky new owners. A place with incredible spirit and positive vibes that has helped so many over the years. This premium location is just minutes from downtown Rochester. Tell your friends! See the full listing and photos here: Hope Ranch Property Listing.


Well-appointed charming ranch style home situated on 7.86 acres designed with efficient pasture management making this a perfect hobby/horse farm. The attention to detail both inside and out along with a prime location makes this home a must-see. Every detail of this property is designed with style and comfort.


Home Features

  • Main Floor – 2016 Square Feet of Living Space
  • Dramatic vaulted ceiling over open living room, dining room, kitchen with center island and breakfast bar. Custom-built Ash cabinets by Jones Cabinets. Large walk in pantry.
  • Cork floors in kitchen and dining room.
  • French doors open off kitchen/dining area onto the 4-season sun porch with panoramic view of pastures and rolling SW hills. Filled with natural light it is a wonderful place to grow and winter over your plants. Patio doors open onto large deck with stairs to back yard and patio. Warm colored tile flooring with radiant heat.
  • Master bedroom en suite with tray ceiling and patio doors from bedroom to private deck. Master bath has tile floor with radiant heat, shower, large soaking tub, his and hers sinks, large linen cabinet, Red Birch custom cabinets by Jones Cabinets. Large walk-through closet with pocket door between closet and bath. Space-saving custom clothing organization system.
  • Surround sound throughout majority of rooms excepting guest bedroom and bath.
  • 2 additional bedrooms, 1 with walk in closet, are nestled in the back of the house for greater privacy with easy access to mudroom, guest bath, and garage.
  • Oversized mudroom with built in cabinets, coat closet, laundry, utility sink, dog shower, and pocket door access to guest bath.
  • Front entrance with coat closet; from large front porch.
  • Forced air heat, radiant heat, and Central air.
  • Energy saving blinds, curtains and roller shades (shades new July 2018).
  • Attached extra deep 2.5 car insulated garage connected to LP tank for future heater. 29’ wide x 28’ 4” deep.
  • Lower Level – 1848 Square Feet of Living Space
  • Large Family/Entertainment Room high ceilings, patio doors and large windows with pasture views.
  • Full walk-out through patio doors onto custom built paved patio.
  • Den/Study with egress window/4th bedroom w/armoire with beautiful view of pastures and hills.
  • 9.5-foot ceilings.
  • Full bath with generous linen closet.
  • All freshly painted August 2018.
  • Potential Mother-in-law apartment. Wired. Insulated. Ready for future appliances. Egress window. Ready for future 6th bedroom in home.
  • Radiant in-floor heat with multiple zones.
  • Energy Efficient Blinds.
  • General Information:
  • House:
  • Steel siding / Anderson windows
  • Solid oak 6-panel doors
  • Solid oak decorative trim
  • Four finished bedrooms
  • Two partially finished bedrooms
  • Ceiling Fans
  • Recessed can lighting interior & exterior
  • Hot Water Radiant and Forced Air Heat/LP Heating/Central Air
  • Water heater for radiant heat & all water needs replaced in 2015

Lot Features

  • Property:
  • Large, mature trees and many newer plantings; meditation labyrinth

Horse Facility Features

  • Horse Accommodations:
  • Water hydrants conveniently located around property
  • Horse Guard Fencing w/gates & design to maximize flexibility of use and
  • pasture rotation; 5 pastures
  • Approximately 4 acres of grass pasture
  • Approximately ½ acre dry-lot
  • Riding Arena:
  • 60’ x 70’ arena with 18’ sidewalls & adjustable divider system for viewing area
  • Beautiful professionally painted murals on the kickboard
  • 18’ wide opening in south side of arena with 2 – 9’ slider doors
  • 9’ wide opening in west side of arena with 9’ slider door
  • Sand/Dirt floor & 9 large industrial light fixtures inside
  • Detached Garage/Machine Shed: 40’ wide x 26’ deep
  • 3.5 stall garage/machine shed
  • 12’ sidewalls
  • Steel siding and roof
  • Cement floor throughout
  • .5 stall is insulated with large work bench and built in cupboards
  • Extra & heavy-duty electrical outlets around work bench
  • External outlet for truck/tractor heater
  • Large Horse Barn: 36’ 5” long x 34’ wide
  • 14’ side walls
  • Steel siding and roof
  • 2 large stalls or 1 large shelter; flexible arrangement of space
  • Center alley and lean-to with space to store 850 small squares
  • 2 large sliding doors; 2 smaller doors
  • Pastures, turnouts, dry lot arranged for easy rotation
  • #5 Small Horse Barn: 40’ 2” long x 28’ 7” wide
  • Wood siding and steel roof
  • 2.5 stalls
  • Lean-to with clear siding above provides warmth in winter months
  • Storage above and at one end


  • 6 miles to schools
  • 8 miles to airports
  • 5 miles to hospitals
  • 4 miles to shopping
  • 10 miles to trails

Learn more or view the photo gallery here.

HOPE Ranch SSTAR Camp 2019 Dates Announced!

Registration is now open for SStar Camp Summer 2019 sessions. SSTAR Camp is ideal for youth seeking to develop tools and strategies needed to make healthy/smart choices. HOPE Ranch horses, mental health
professionals and special education teacher help youth to practice social
skills through experiential activities.

Youth participate in discussions and activities aimed to build and develop the following skills.

  • Group cohesion
  • Communication
  • Personal safety
  • Trust
  • Self-image
  • Relationships
  • Peer pressure
  • Empowerment
  • Bullying
  • Mindfulness

The SStar Camp Difference

Our camp and activities have been developed around mental health and social skills concerns. Camp staff are trained and experienced in working with mental health and learning disabilities.

  • Licensed mental health professional facilitator
  • Special education teacher
  • Facilitator/equine specialist
  • Utilizes EAGALA and other experiential activities
  • All equine-related activities are done on the ground
  • No experience with horses is necessary

Dates and Registration Information

Ages: 8-12 years olds – Monday, August 5 & Wednesday, August 7, 10am – 4pm

Location: HOPE Ranch, 9145 80 Ave SE, Chatfield, MN 55923

Cost: $400, Registration Deadline: July 1

Questions: email or call 507-281-3033


6 Tips to Combat Seasonal Affective Disorder

by: Kit Muellner, Owner and Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch

If you feel the blues during winter months, you are not alone. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is an actual type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons. Symptoms and feelings may start in the fall and continue into the cold and light deprived winter months, causing sufferers to feel sluggish, moody and sad.

Don’t write these feelings off. This seasonal funk is treatable with light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications. Or sometimes, a few adjustments in your activities can do the trick.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Symptoms

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of Fall and Winter SAD may include:

  • Irritability
  • Tiredness or low energy
  • Problems getting along with other people
  • Hypersensitivity to rejection
  • Heavy, “leaden” feeling in the arms or legs
  • Oversleeping
  • Appetite changes, especially a craving for foods high in carbohydrates
  • Weight gain

If these symptoms sound familiar to you on a mild scale you can try some adjustments on your own!

6 Do-It-Yourself Remedies to Combat Mild Seasonal Affective Disorder

#1  Aromatherapy
Essential oils can connect with the area of the brain that controls mood, sleep, and appetite. Add a few drops of essential oils to your bath at night to help you relax before bedtime.

#2  Add Exercise
Exercise helps in a number of ways. A workout will get that sluggish feeling out of your limbs and stimulate those feel-good endorphins. Having a planned exercise routine also gets you out and moving and often lends to socialization. Not to mention, you are going to feel great about yourself!

#3  Get Out In the Sunshine
It may seem daunting, especially when it’s cold, but take the time to bundle up and get out during the light of day. It’s exercise, and you receive natural light therapy at the same time.

#4  Go On Vacation
This is always a good idea. Depending on where you go you may experience more warmth and sunshine. The mere fact of looking forward to vacation weeks in advance can greatly elevate your mood.

#5  Keep a Journal
There’s something magical about getting the thoughts out of your head and down on paper. It’s a way of releasing your thoughts and feelings. Don’t worry about being grammatically correct or having perfect penmanship. In fact, you don’t even have to read what you wrote. Journaling can be very therapeutic, in all seasons. In addition to writing or typing a journal, you may want to journal using art or drawings-and you don’t have to be an artist to use this method.

#6  Make Sure You Get Vitamin D
You may want to talk to your doctor about getting your levels of Vitamin D checked. Low levels of Vitamin D are sometimes associated with feelings of depression. Some studies have shown that Vitamin D supplements have done wonders for elevating mood and alleviating depression.

What if (SAD) Becomes Severe?

We all have days in the winter when we feel sluggish and lack energy. If your symptoms are mild, put the above tips to the test. However, if your symptoms are severe and disrupting your life; long bouts of depression, extreme sadness or using alcohol to manage your moods, then it’s time to contact a professional. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, contact health professionals immediately.


Bullying In The Workplace: A National Epidemic?

Author: Kit Muellner, LICSW, EAGALA Certified and CEO of H.O.P.E. Ranch

Bullying isn’t just about schoolkids or athletes. It’s rampant in many workplaces, no matter the industry.  It is said that workplace bullying has become a national epidemic.

In fact, the Workplace Bullying Institute, which has been around for 20 years, conducts studies on the topic and works to combat this debilitating problem. Whether you are an employee or the employer, these facts will serve as a wake-up call.

What is Workplace Bullying?

Bullying in the workplace may occur in many forms and can come from a co-worker, a boss or even a subordinate. Some forms of workplace bullying may be:

    1. Swearing and intimidation
    2. Teasing; especially when it takes a personal nature; comments about the target’s work, behaviors, and even family members.
    3. Snide and mean comments
    4. Taking credit for your work, even subliminally
    5. Attempts to make you look incompetent
    6. Constant criticism
    7. The creation of impossible expectations and changing expectations or directions in the final moment.

Statistics on Bullying In the Workplace

Does it really happen? Yes. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, it happens in all industries and
there are groups 
more often targeted than others.

Here are the findings:

  • 19% of Americans are bullied, another 19% witness it
  • 61% of Americans are aware of abusive conduct in the workplace
  • 60 million Americans are affected by it
  • 70% of perpetrators are men; 60% of targets are women
  • Hispanics are the most frequently bullied race
  • 61% of bullies are bosses, the majority (63%) operate alone
  • 40% of bullied targets are believed to suffer adverse health effects
  • 29% of targets remain silent about their experiences
  • 71% of employer reactions are harmful to targets
  • 60% of coworker reactions are harmful to targets
  • To stop it, 65% of targets lose their original jobs
  • 77% of Americans support enacting a new law

Workers: What to Do if You Are Bullied at Work

Recognize that it’s not your fault. Take an assessment of your mental and physical health. Being bullied at work can weigh heavily on you and your health. Consider taking time off to clear your head. Very importantly, don’t allow yourself to replay the acts of bullying over and over in your mind. Put a name to what’s happening to you so you can legitimize it; bullying, abuse, harassment, etc.

Once you have done this it’s time to get down to business.

Document the abuse. Not with emotion but with just the facts; time, date, perpetrator, description of abuse.

Expose the bully. Bullying doesn’t get better on its own and if it continues, you are 77.7% likely to lose your job anyway, typically due to either health problems or simply choosing to leave on your own. You actually have little to lose by exposing the bully.

Here’s how: A) Present the case from a business standpoint. It is expensive and legally risky to have a bully in place, which is something a business should care about. They do not care about your emotions or how this makes you feel. (sorry, they just don’t.) Give the employer only one chance and if they stick up for the bully, it’s time to plan your exit strategy.

Employers: What to Do if An Employee Comes to You for Help

You saw the stats. Bullying in the workplace is a big problem and it can be costly. It can even become a HUGE legal issue. Bullying itself is hard to litigate but here’s where it becomes an issue; if the target is female, over a certain age, or any vulnerable group. If the bullying ever became violent, physically threatening or mentally threatening, or starts to fall into the sexual harassment arena.  As you can see, you as an employer can easily be the victim of a workplace bully and it’s going to hit you in the bottom line. It may ruin your business and you could even lose your business. Here are steps you can take:

  1. If an employee comes to you, listen, and even, shut up. Take in what the employee is saying, without offering an explanation or saying things like, “That’s just the way he is” and don’t ever say anything that puts the blame on the target. 
  2. The employee obviously wants to stay in their job so remember that. They simply want the problem solved. Remember the “shut up” advice in point #1. That’s because this is a hairy area and you are not likely equipped to deal with this, which is okay. Most people are not. Take action to correct this: Seek help, pull in counselors or consultants that are knowledgeable in this area. Send the perpetrators to training/counseling.
  3. Use this as a learning experience. Now is the time to write policies and develop a process for ongoing education and awareness of workplace bullying.

I’m passionate about improving the lives of people in the workplace locally. In fact, HOPE Ranch provides team building, corporate development, and staff retreats to organizations in the Greater Rochester Area, and Greater Minnesota, and Northern Iowa. Just as psychotherapy facilitates individual growth and healing, corporate retreats and development facilitate identification of issues in your team/organization, and development and implementation of real, effective solutions. We see real breakthroughs happen in a safe and helpful environment. If you’re having an issue with your team or suspect you have a bully in your midst (even if you might be the bully) reach out. We’ve helped many others and we can help you.

Learn More:


Kit Muellner is the Owner & Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and
is an EAGALA Certified Psychotherapist and Horse Specialist. Kit is well known as a stand out in her field,
specializing in work with children, adults, and families. Before starting H.O.P.E. Ranch in 1999, Kit worked with
facilities such as Olmsted County, Omnia Family Services, Gerard Treatment Facilities, Mendota Mental Health Institute and Mayo Clinic.

RAIN OR SHINE. The Rendezvous & Carnival is ON!

Rain or Shine, the Saturday, October 7th Rendezvous & Carnival is on! This is no problem for us at the Ranch. We have a great big arena that can hold the carnival games, silent auction, animals, crafts and more!

Get the kids out of the house and into the Arena for a fun day at H.O.P.E. Ranch!

Admission is free and there’s plenty of free parking. Hope to see you there!

Saturday, October 7th
10 am – 3 pm
At The H.O.P.E. Ranch