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.
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.
Matt Nigbur – President HOPE RANCH FOUNDATION Executive Director,
and Kit Muellner – CEO, Founder