News & Events

HOPE Ranch – Year End Wrap Up

2021 was a rollercoaster of a year with many ups and downs. At HOPE Ranch we had challenges we never could have anticipated with both human and animal health challenges. Kit experienced a serious injury due to the rigors of life on a ranch. We almost lost Sadie, our therapy dog, and our hearts were broken when our beloved D’Angela passed away. That was rough. But we also had several ups. Sadie recovered. Kit is on the mend. Plus, with the help of donations, we were able to finish construction on the Round Pen, which allows us to expand our services and therapy areas, which was desperately needed.

As 2021 wraps up and we look to 2022 we anticipate serving close to 100 clients. We hold 35+ sessions a week and most individuals become long-term clients due to their severe needs. Our clientele is mostly women and children with mental health challenges. In addition, they may have physical and developmental disabilities, ADHD, or autism spectrum disorder, and unique medical issues.

Here’s a recap of the rollercoaster ride of 2021.

2021:  THE DOWNS

  • Covid19 is still here, but we are meeting the challenges. Many of our clients have had an extra hard time with Covid restrictions and concerns thus increasing their mental health challenges.
  • Kit had some serious health issues but she is on the mend and looking forward to helping more people as she regains her strength and hires more staff.
  • Sadie, our therapy dog, also had a rough summer of health issues. She is back to herself now and looks forward to working with each and every client and guest that comes to the ranch.
  • D’Angela passed away. Kit’s first horse, she raised and trained her from an 18-month-old. Together they won the Mid-America Paso Fino Trail Horse Championship (taking 1st place in 4 of the 5-class series) when D’Angela was just 3 years old. It was the first time in a show for both of them. The judges all commented on the bond they had even then. Together they taught many children and a few adults how to ride, often after spending many hours working on the ground to help them work through their fear of horses. D’Angela was always gentle and kind and took care of her rider. She will be greatly missed.

2021: THE UPS!

  • The Round Pen was constructed, paid for, and is now in use. THANK YOU to the many people that supported this project. The clients and the horses love this new space for therapy and for exercise.
  • We now have more space to work with individuals, families, and groups with the horses in ways we cannot in a rectangular pen. Working with the horses in this setting empowers clients and they overcome their feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.
  • The round pen is used as a training tool for the horses to keep them ready for work with our clients, and to expand our space for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning within our psychotherapy program.
  • The new space will allow us to add 25-35% more clients (12-21 more individuals, impacting 120-210 people). We can now work with more families and larger groups of clients in family and group therapy, providing more services to more people at one time.
  • Some of our clients do benefit, because of their mental health and/or medical issues, from mounted activities (with horse being led by an equine specialist and client assisted with side-walkers). These clients experience improved balance, improved communication between the hemispheres of their brain, improved affect regulation and ability to self-soothe, and improved self-esteem and self-confidence. The Round Pen offers these added services.

LOOKING AHEAD…

Approximately 25% of our clients receive Medical Assistance and fall into the low-income category and cannot pay for services nor does their insurance reimburse us fully. COVID19 has increased the demand for our services but not the reimbursement. We are getting more requests for funding assistance through scholarship requests. We need to help these individuals who are struggling with severe mental health crises, but we also need funding to make this happen.

We are hopeful that as our ranch grows so does the support from you, our donors. You help us reach our goals as a Board and an organization, and in turn, help others reach their goal of good mental health. We sincerely ask for your financial support between now and year-end as we continue our progress for 2021 and end the year on a “UP” note and continue to RAISE HOPE for those in need.

Please consider using one of 3 easy ways to donate today:

1. Donate online

2. Call the Foundation office at 507-281-3033 to donate by phone

3. Mail a check made out to:

HOPE Ranch Foundation, 9145 80th Ave SE, Suite B, Chatfield, MN 55923

Yes -we had ups and downs in 2021 but with support from our friends and supporters, we survived.

 

Warm Regards,

Matt NigburPresident HOPE RANCH FOUNDATION Executive Director,

and Kit Muellner – CEO, Founder

GIVE TO THE MAX – THE UPS AND DOWNS OF 2021

GIVE TO THE MAX IS HERE! Starting November 1 all donations are counted towards the Give to the Max Campaign and we have a matching donor, so your donations go further.  We’ve had a roller coaster of a year with many ups and downs. So many people stepped up to help and we thank you.  

We have big plans in place moving forward so we can continue to help with the tremendous need for mental health services in SE MN.  

THE DOWNS

  • Covid19 is still here, but we are meeting the challenges. Many of our clients have had an extra hard time with Covid restrictions and concerns thus increasing their mental health challenges.
  • Kit had some serious health issues but she is on the mend and looking forward to helping more people as she regains her strength and hires more staff.
  • Sadie, our therapy dog, also had a rough summer of health issues. She is back to herself now and looks forward to working with each and every client and guest that comes to the ranch.
  • D’Angela passed away. Kit’s first horse, she raised and trained her from an 18-month-old. Together they won the Mid-America Paso Fino Trail Horse Championship (taking 1st place in 4 of the 5-class series) when D’Angela was just 3 years old. It was the first time in a show for both of them. The judges all commented on the bond they had even then. Together they taught many children and a few adults how to ride, often after spending many hours working on the ground to help them work through their fear of horses. D’Angela was always gentle and kind and took care of her rider. She will be greatly missed.

THE UPS!

  • The Round Pen was constructed, paid for, and is now in use. THANK YOU to the many people that supported this project. The clients and the horses love this new space for therapy and for exercise.
  • We now have more space to work with individuals, families, and groups with the horses in ways we cannot in a rectangular pen. Working with the horses in this setting empowers clients and they overcome their feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness.
  • The round pen is used as a training tool for the horses to keep them ready for work with our clients, and to expand our space for Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning within our psychotherapy program.
  • The new space will allow us to add 25-35% more clients (12-21 more individuals, impacting 120-210 people). We can now work with more families and larger groups of clients in family and group therapy, providing more services to more people at one time.
  • Some of our clients do benefit, because of their mental health and/or medical issues, from mounted activities (with horse being led by an equine specialist and client assisted with side-walkers). These clients experience improved balance, improved communication between the hemispheres of their brain, improved affect regulation and ability to self-soothe, and improved self-esteem and self-confidence. The Round Pen offers these added services.

LOOKING AHEAD…

Approximately 25% of our clients receive Medical Assistance and fall into the low-income category and cannot pay for services nor does their insurance reimburse us fully. COVID19 has increased the demand for our services but not the reimbursement. We are getting more requests for funding assistance through scholarship requests. We need to help these individuals who are struggling with severe mental health crises, but we also need funding to make this happen.

As 2021 wraps up and we look to 2022 we anticipate serving close to 100 clients. We hold 35+ sessions a week and most individuals become long-term clients due to their severe needs. Our clientele is mostly women and children with mental health challenges. In addition, they may have physical and developmental disabilities, ADHD or autism spectrum disorder, and unique medical issues.

We are hopeful that as our ranch grows so does the support from you, our donors. You help us reach our goals as a Board and an organization, and in turn, help others reach their goal of good mental health. We sincerely ask for your financial support between now and year-end as we continue our progress for 2021 and end the year on a “UP” note and continue to RAISE HOPE for those in need.

Please consider using one of 3 easy ways to donate today:

1. Donate online at http://hoperanchteam.com/hope-ranch-foundation/

2. Call the Foundation office at 507-281-3033 to donate by phone

3. Use the enclosed envelope and mail a check made out to:

HOPE Ranch Foundation, 9145 80th Ave SE, Suite B, Chatfield, MN 55923

Warm Regards,

Matt Nigbur Kit Muellner

President HOPE RANCH FOUNDATION Executive Director, CEO, Founder

The Passing of our Beloved D’Angela

It is with a broken heart that I share the news of the passing of our beloved D’Angela. 

She had a strangulating lipoma, which attached itself to her intestine & killed it.  She was in a great deal of pain and the only thing to do for her was to humanely euthanize her.  She is buried here on the ranch out in the pasture.

D’Angela & I have been a team for 26 & ½ years since she was 18 months old. When she first came to me, she was so head shy it took 3 months just to get her to trust me enough to let me put a halter on her easily.  Together we went to many horse-training clinics and spent countless hours learning together.  By the time I had “finished” (you’re never really done) training her, I rode her bareback without bridle/halter/reins of any kind.  D’Angela was an amazing horse. She saved my life at least three times out on the trails. Together we won the Mid-America Paso Fino Trail Horse Championship (taking 1st place in 4 of the 5-class series) when she was just 3 years old.  It was the first time in a show for both of us.  The judges all commented on the bond we had even then. Together we taught many children and a few adults how to ride, often after spending many hours working on the ground to help them work through their fear of horses.  She was always gentle and kind and took care of her rider.

D’Angela helped countless children, youth, families, adults, and corporate groups in her role as a HOPE Ranch therapy horse.  She was a special soul who touched, and healed, the lives of many people.  She loved being a Mom and raised two of her own foals, and raised our therapy horse, Red Hawk, from 6 months after he had to be weaned from his momma early.

Words cannot express how much I appreciate your kind words and support as we all process and work through this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Kit Muellner
Clinical Director & CEO
HOPE Ranch

Raise Hope for People in Southern Minnesota Today!

In a survey of community members conducted in 2018, 29% of respondents, or 45,905 people, reported having had a mental health issue within the past 12 months. We are still waiting to see what those numbers look like now. We know there has been an increase in anxiety, depression, and completed suicides since the pandemic. Most psychotherapists and mental health service providers, already stretched thin pre-pandemic, are working extraordinarily long hours now, simply to provide services to established, returning (due to COVID stress) and whenever possible, new clients. People are describing waitlists of 4 weeks up to 6 months. Reimbursement for mental health care is dramatically lower than for any other medical services. Many people do not have insurance, or their insurance is insufficient to cover the cost of services. As a community, we need to do better.

How You Can Help Today!
At H.O.P.E. Ranch we strive to serve all clients demonstrating a need for services, regardless of their insurance or ability to pay. Our services are unique in that they are provided in an environment that promotes a sense of calm and peacefulness, versus a sterile office setting.

Clients have said repeatedly that “it’s just different out here”, “l can come and work through my stuff in a safe, peaceful environment”, “We know the therapy animals and the people at H.O.P.E. Ranch aren’t judging us, so we can be truly open and really work on our issues.” Most psychotherapy services do not incorporate animals in their work. At H.O.P.E. Ranch we have our herd of 6 therapy horses, one therapy horse that is boarded with us, our therapy dog Sadie, and our 3 therapy cats (hand raised from birth after their mother died and very highly socialized), it is a more expensive way to provide psychotherapy and personal growth and learning services, and the outcomes make it worth it.

Growing to Meet Your Needs
Your gift today will RAISE HOPE for more people in Southern MN as we expand our capacity to work with more clients and their support networks. Your gifts will help anyone who would benefit from animal-assisted psychotherapy regardless of their ability to pay.

A new building on our property will add space for an additional 80-100 people to receive services in a timely fashion – as mental health must be a priority for all. Please give May 1-11 to be part of a statewide SpringForwardMN campaign offering incentives for donations.

Donate Today! 
Your financial donation is needed now to make an impact yet this spring. We still need $10,000 to make The Round Pen a reality. Your tax-deductible contribution will bring H.O.P.E to many in need of life-saving psychotherapy in our communities.

Please consider using one of these three easy ways to donate today:

1. Online at https://www.givemn.org/story/Hoperanchfoundation 

2. Call the Foundation office at 507-281-3033 to donate by phone.

 3. Mail a check to:
H.O.P.E. Ranch Foundation,
9145 80th Ave SE, Suite B
Chatfield, MN 55923

Feel free to reach out to us directly at 507-281-3033 with any questions. 
Please donate TODAY to help fulfill our urgent need to expand community mental health.

Warm Regards,

Matt Nigbur President of H.O.P.E. Ranch Foundation
Kit Muellner, CEO & Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch

Feeling Anxious About: Returning to Socializing

Restrictions are loosening up and people are getting vaccinated. This means a return to being out in the public and socializing. Do we even remember how to socialize? Even during “normal” times, socializing can be tough but after months and months of isolation, it may seem overwhelming. 

You may be feeling a bit rusty but remember, we are all in the same boat. NPR recently released an article with thoughts and tips about this very subject. NPR: Do we even know how to socialize anymore?

The Need for H.O.P.E Continues

Winter has brought not only cold and snow but an increase in mental health deterioration for many people. 
We continue to help as many people as we can, via animal-assisted psychotherapy, to find light and life each day. Even when the vaccines reach everyone, there will still be so much work to get people back to emotional stability. Your dollars give us H.O.P.E. that we will get there together.

Growing to Meet Your Needs

We are in the middle of a campaign to RAISE H.O.P.E. with an end goal of putting up a Round Pen at our facility. The Round Pen is a training tool that will build on our success with equine-assisted therapy. The Round Pen will allow us to increase the number of clients served while decreasing their symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, bipolar and ADHD. This space will also serve as an area to work with Veterans, Law Enforcement, and other First Responders.

We Need Your Help

Could you give today? $50, $100, $150 would make a huge difference and enable H.O.P.E Ranch to: 

  • Build The Round Pen on the farm, where clients and horses will work together as crucial therapy partners.

  • Add more Equine Specialists to reach more people and increase our impact. 

  • Enable the H.O.P.E Ranch Foundation to provide in-depth services to support healing on our ranch southeast of Rochester

Donate Today! 

Your financial donation is needed now to make an impact yet this spring. We still need $10,000 to make The Round Pen a reality. Your tax-deductible contribution will bring H.O.P.E to many in need of life-saving psychotherapy in our communities.

Please consider using one of these three easy ways to donate today:

1. Online at http://hoperanchteam.com/hope-ranch-foundation/.

2. Call the Foundation office at 507-281-3033 to donate by phone.

 3. Mail a check to:
H.O.P.E. Ranch Foundation,
9145 80th Ave SE, Suite B
Chatfield, MN 55923

Feel free to reach out to us directly at 507-281-3033 with any questions. 

Please donate TODAY to help fulfill our urgent need to expand community mental health.
 

Warm Regards,

Cheryl Kliewer, President of H.O.P.E. Ranch Foundation
Kit Muellner, CEO & Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch

 

Support HOPE Ranch Foundation While You Shop This Year

Did you know that you can designate HOPE Ranch as your charity when you shop on Amazon this holiday season? It doesn’t cost you a penny and it helps us out so much! It’s called Amazon Smiles and it’s really quite simple.

Here’s how it works: Simply go to smile.amazon.com and designate HOPE Ranch Foundation as your charity. 

What is AmazonSmile?

AmazonSmile is a simple way for you to support your favorite charitable organization every time you shop, at no cost to you. AmazonSmile is available at smile.amazon.com on your web browser and can be activated in the Amazon Shopping app for iOS and Android phones. When you shop at AmazonSmile, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection, and convenient shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added benefit that AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to HOPE Ranch Foundation when you designate us as your charity.

How do I shop at AmazonSmile?

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com on your web browser or activate AmazonSmile on your Amazon Shopping app on your iOS or Android phone (found under settings on your app). On your browser, you may also want to add a bookmark to smile.amazon.com to make it even easier to return and start your shopping at AmazonSmile. When you’re using the app, always check for the “AmazonSmile” logo to ensure you’re activated for AmazonSmile.

Won’t you consider taking this simple step to help HOPE Ranch Foundation? 

Thank you and Happy Holidays!!

PAINT FOR HOPE – A Fundraiser

Have fun and support HOPE Ranch Foundation by joining us for PAINT for HOPE.

Attendees will create a painting led by Nicki Novotne, owner of Art On The Go, while receiving self-care exercises and tips to navigate these trying times from Kit Muellner, CEO & Founder of H.O.P.E. Ranch, Clinical Director and Psychotherapist, LICSW – Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and EAGALA Certified Psychotherapist, and Horse Specialist.

We are painting a canvas with beautiful flowers along a wooden fence. Make your favorite spring or fall flowers and make a statement with your favorite saying! Create your own unique painting.
All the art supplies are provided and no experience is necessary. Step by step personal instructions by a local artist are included too!

TITLE:   “Paint for HOPE” Virtual and In-Person Painting Event
DATE:   Sunday, Oct 18th – 2-4:30 pm
COST: $40
LOCATION: In Person at Charlies Pub and Eatery or Online

Support a great cause!
Pay a $10 deposit to save your seat. The balance is due at the start of the event. Cash or check is best.
Charlie’s Pub (Elks Club Bingo Hall) 1654 US-52, Rochester
Mental health in Southeastern Minnesota is more important than ever before in these times. Kit Muellner, owner of HOPE Ranch, provides valuable psychotherapy to clients who, more often than not, need financial assistance to get the help they need. HOPE Ranch provides low-cost animal-assisted psychotherapy. Funds raised will be used for client scholarships and the costs to care for the animals.
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 groups; young men’s groups; family groups; groups for youth 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 well-being of the animals. 

Tell others you are going by visiting the Paint for HOPE Facebook event.

Thank you to our Title Sponsor, Home Federal Savings Bank.

Buffy Needs A Home!

This beautiful, sweet kitty needs a home!
Can you help?
Can you share?
 
He wandered on to HOPE Ranch and his temporary name is Buffy. He is vocal, soft, sweet, energetic, loves to be petted, loves to chase toys and play. Buffy is neutered, all shots now up to date, and the vet thinks he is approximately 1 year old. He’s really a wonderful little guy. (Dog not included;)
Send an email to secretary@hoperanchteam.com  or call 507- 281-3033.

Nothing Worked. Then I Found H.O.P.E. – Brianne’s Story

My name is Brianne and I have been coming to H.O.P.E. Ranch since I was 17 years old. I am now 28 and I can honestly say I would not be who or where I am today without Kit, H.O.P.E. Ranch, and all the animals.

I have had depression most of my life and there were many times it was literally debilitating. I could not get out of bed. I was not eating. I was not showering. I was not functioning or participating in my life. I had 5 different psychotherapists before we were referred to H.O.P.E. Ranch. I remember that first session, I felt like I connected with her and the animals immediately. I told her a lot of things I had not told any of my previous therapists. 

I love the animals being available for sessions. I was very connected to their old therapy dog, Honey. I would spend a lot of time on the floor either brushing her, massaging her back, or just petting her – especially if a day was really rough. Being in the fresh air in the country is a huge factor in my self-care. 

When I first came to H.O.P.E. Ranch, a lot of my issues were very big. Kit and I would work through scenarios with the horses and it helped me immensely. I used that information and the coping skills I learned in my everyday life. There is a lot of stigma about mental health and the animals never judge me, I always feel completely accepted there. I never used to tell anybody if anything was bothering me. I used to say, “I’m fine, I’m okay”. Now I am more assertive and can say if something is bothering me or if I need something, I can handle confrontation, I have more confidence in general.

My family including my parents, my younger brother, my husband, and my daughter have all been supportive of me when I have needed a helping hand. Mental health affects more than the person with a diagnosis. It affects those around that person, daily.

I am a much stronger person than I was when I first started coming here. I have had a lot of success talking with Kit and being around all the animals. I will always continue to go there. It helps settle me. I always leave feeling much calmer and stronger.

Would you like to help H.O.P.E Ranch? Consider donating today!