News & Events

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!

Where There is Despair, There is H.O.P.E.

When families need us, we answer that call. Our current needs are greater than our funding streams. COVID-19 has stretched many of us to our limits. Anxiety, depression, isolation stress is affecting us all. We are here to help you and many others who need support via animal-assisted psychotherapy.

We Need Your Help!
Could you give today? $50, $100, $150 would make a huge difference!!
Our horses need $240 of farrier services to trim hooves every 6 weeks.
We have families who need funding – One family of six needs immediate scholarship funding totaling $1620 for psychotherapy to help them heal from the trauma of losing their home to a fire along with everything else they are dealing with related to COVID-19.

Our Stories are Your Stories
We all share in our mission to promote and heal through partnering with animals for clients of all ages who could benefit from animal-assisted psychological services regardless of their ability to pay. We all can promote healing individually and as a community. The H.O.P.E Ranch Foundation provides in-depth services to support healing on our ranch southeast of Rochester.

Donate Today
Your financial donations are used in many important ways that impact H.O.P.E. Ranch and our clients. Scholarships to clients, underwriting the cost of provided programming, care of the animals, and expansion/maintenance of the facilities are just a few of the ways your donations are put to work.

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: H.O.P.E. Ranch Foundation
9145 80th Ave SE, Suite B, Chatfield, MN 55923

Reach out to us directly at 507-281-3033 with any questions.
Please donate TODAY to help fulfill our urgent need to restore 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

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!

We Are Still Here and We Need You to Help Us Continue Our Story.

All of us here at the H.O.P.E. Ranch Foundation would like to thank you for being a part of our family.  You are receiving this message because of your close connection to someone that serves on the Board of Directors or has been impacted by H.O.P.E. Ranch.  We all share in our mission 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.

We Need Your Help!

Mental health, also called behavioral health, is one of the lowest reimbursed medical services. Over the past couple of years, reimbursement rates have been decreased. Providers have been told to expect further reduction in reimbursement rates in the coming year or two. The services we provide are essential, even critical. Minnesota has one of the highest suicide rates in the country. Current COVID19 procedures have only exacerbated the problem.

The clients we serve generally have tried more traditional therapy 2 to 5 times, without success, before seeking EAGALA model and animal-assisted therapy. As you can imagine, providing animal-assisted therapy is more expensive than providing traditional in-office therapy. EAGALA model services require both a Mental Health Specialist and an Equine Specialist, in addition to one or more horses. It is getting more and more expensive to feed, care for, and provide veterinary care for the therapy animals. Four other programs in SE MN offering EAGALA model services have had to close their doors. We are determined to keep our doors open. We need your help to do this.

The H.O.P.E Ranch Foundation was formed in 2017 to support H.O.P.E. Ranch. We are reaching out to you with a unique need. We are looking for continued and future support. We have multiple ways for individuals or groups to support the H.O.P.E Ranch Foundation. Some support requests that we have range from your monetary donations to volunteering time to serving on our Board of Directors to helping plan and implement fundraising events.

Your financial donations are used in many important ways that impact H.O.P.E. Ranch as well as the clients who are served here. Scholarships to clientsunderwriting the cost of provided programming, care of the animals, and expansion/maintenance of the facilities are just a few of the ways your donations are put to work.

Please consider using one of 3 easy ways to donate:

1. Donate online

2. Call the Foundation office at 507-281-3033 to make a donation by phone

3. Mail a check made out to:  HOPE Ranch Foundation
9145 80th
 Ave SE, Suite B, Chatfield, MN  55923

If you are unable to contribute financially, please keep this information handy and keep us in mind for future charitable giving.  And, please share this with people you know who may be interested and ask for their support.

Please consider contributing your time volunteering  

1. To serve on our Foundation Board 
2. Planning and implementing fundraising events/activities.  

If you yourself are unable to volunteer, please think about people you know who have a heart for our mission, and skills to contribute, and refer them to us.

Please feel free to reach out to us directly at 507-281-3033 with any questions related to this request. Your support is needed now to help fulfill our urgent need to respond to declining 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

H.O.P.E. Ranch is a Special Place – Lauren’s Story

As a middle schooler with a fresh ADHD diagnosis, I was angry and ready to keep it bottled up for the rest of my life when I found H.O.P.E. Ranch. Therapy has become like taking vitamins for me. It is a supplemental part of my routine that keeps me healthy. Over the years, I have worked through issues and symptoms surrounding ADHD, Depression, Anxiety, Eating Disorders, etc. I have filled a mental toolbox to help manage the inevitable challenges in life. I continue to hone skills I call upon when weighing whether to face & deal with something, put it away for later, or let it go. 

The animals at H.O.P.E. Ranch are wonderful and important. I have cried with cats in my lap. I have laughed walking with dogs. I have stood in silence with horses accepting that it is time for certain things to surface. Watching the way Kit interacts with the animals reassures me, that she will treat me, and everyone, with dignity and respect. 

I came to H.O.P.E. Ranch with ideas of shame and stigma around mental illness. I continue to come to H.O.P.E. Ranch full of love and acceptance for myself as a whole human – a professional, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, dog owner, etc. – on a journey of mental health. The struggle is real, and I keep going. Kit and everyone at H.O.P.E. Ranch play a role in that. 

There is real magic that happens in the presence of all the life at H.O.P.E. Ranch. – Lauren