Yes.... that is Healing with Horses Ranch at the Circuit of the Americans. How cool is that!!!!!
We want to thank Tim Ray for spreading the word about Healing with Horses Ranch this year on his race car. Tim was the first president of our board and an avid supporter. He competes with the National Auto Sport Association Texas Region and ran at this year's NASA national event.
Yes.... that is Healing with Horses Ranch at the Circuit of the Americans. How cool is that!!!!!
An update and a request to support Healing with Horses Ranch.
This has been a tremendous year!
Client, volunteer, and staff (both horse and human) hours are at an all-time high. For the first time HHR has a waiting list! Here are just a few of our stats:
We partnered with two residential rehabilitation centers providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to their clients.
Facility improvements continued installing more than 1500 feet of permanent fencing; arena, stall, and parking lot lighting; and 17 permanent horse stalls (in progress)
We are now one of ~100 worldwide Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH Intl) Premier Centers. This level certification highlights our exceptional focus on safety, quality, and customer care.
The challenge is....
Our mission is to provide affordable equine therapies to our clients. Although we charge for our services, our fees cover less than half our cost.
I often joke that “horses eat like horses!” To put this in perspective, we will use more than $14,000 worth of hay, $5000 feed, and $21,000 in farrier and veterinary services this year.
In addition, we internal fund a financial hardship “scholarship” program. This year 60+% of our clients participated and we already funded more than $50,000 in scholarships to date.
Did I mention our instructor and mental health professionals get paid (barely) and we need more…..
Now for the part I find the hardest – asking for money. Here is my humble request.
Please attend and/or sponsor our annual Barn Bash fundraiser - October 19th at Chateau Bellevue in downtown Austin. Your purchase includes dinner, open bar, HHR drink glass, keynote speaker, door prize raffle, and access to our 60+ item live auction. (Information and purchase here)
Please consider making a donation - if you cannot attend. Does your company have a donation matching program? Even a few dollars weekly matched by your company goes a long way to keeping our horses feed and our riders in their saddles! (Donate here)
Note: all sponsorships and donations are tax deductible.
Thank you so much for your support.
I am not sure where to begin as I sit at the Region 8 PATH Intl conference with two of our instructors, Libby and Cameron, our mental health counselor, Hadley, and our instructor-in-training, Lauren. This comes literally three days after our site visit from PATH Intl., as we strive to become a premier PATH center. I am not sure that I am at liberty to share, but I am sharing anyway. Two PATH representatives came to determine if Healing with Horses Ranch and our satellite center at SAGE have policies and procedures that fulfill the 115 standards that PATH centers follow.
I am pleased to say that because of the dedication of our staff and volunteers, we scored a 98 at SAGE and a 99 at the ranch. I think that we passed! This is a huge accomplishment. In 2016, there were 882 member centers, of which only 272 were premier centers. This new premier status shows a level of dedication to the safety and effectiveness of our center, gives us access to grants that were not available to us without this accreditation, and allows us to host PATH Intl. workshops and certifications here at the ranch.
Healing with Horses Ranch is currently a center member of PATH Intl (the Professional Association for Therapeutic Horsemanship, International). We are striving to become a Premiere PATH Intl member. On July 31st, two site visitors will inspect the ranch to ensure we are adhering to the 100+ PATH Intl standards. We became a PATH Intl member in 2011 because of these standards or best practices. The PATH Intl standards gave us a roadmap to follow as we were developing our policies and our business in general. They are broken down into four categories: mandatory, core, activity, and service.
Twenty-three standards are mandatory, meaning that if we do not adhere to even one those standards and all of their sub-parts, we will automatically fail the accreditation process
The Core Standards compose the vast majority. They cover Business and Administration, Facility Management, and Equine Welfare; everything from written proof of business formation (we are a 501(c)(3) business), to participant and volunteer information that should be kept in the business office or at the activity site, to how we accept and care for horses.
The Activity Standards ensure that there are policies in place that account for the interaction between the participant and horses. We must address the Mounted and Ground Standards, but do not have to follow the Driving and Vaulting Standards because we do not have an Interactive Vaulting program or Driving Program. Our instructors are certified by PATH Intl. We have safety policies about equipment checks and safety stirrups, and the wearing of ASTE-SEI approved helmets.
The Service Standards cover the Equestrian Skills and the Medical/Mental Health Standards. They are concerned with the goals of the participants, whether under the tutelage of a PATH Intl instructor, or a medical professional such as a mental health counselor, physical therapist, or speech pathologist.
How can you help and how does this impact you?
It’s already so hot and it looks like this year is predicted to be hotter than normal! But the arena is doing its job! It is easily 10 degrees cooler in the arena than outside of the arena! Just a reminder to our volunteers and riders that the summer schedule starts on June 1st. Lessons will start at 8am and go until 12:45pm and then after our siesta (hahaha), we will continue lessons starting at 5:30pm until 8:15pm. Thank you everyone for your flexibility in making this change. If you haven’t scheduled your session time, please contact me or your instructor!
It’s a puzzle of intricate and ever changing pieces. As we near summer months, we contemplate schedule changes. We start with the edge pieces as we schedule 6 instructors and 75 participants. It is no easy feat as we try to make everyone happy. There are so many close fits!
Then, Cari has the task of finding the pieces of the puzzle that are all the same color and fitting them all into the right spots. In one week we need at least 125 volunteers committing to 2 hours. Some of our volunteers give more than 2 hours of their time and talent. They get sitters for their children, leave their pets at home, rush to the ranch after putting in 8 or more hours at their paying job, drive sometimes up to 45 minutes and spend countless dollars for gas to come out to mentor our participants. Sometimes they get sick or have to work late unexpectedly and Cari scrambles to fit pieces in that she thought she already had in place, emailing and calling countless volunteers!
Davina has the fun job of pulling all of the puzzle pieces with all of the words or lines as she texts reminders to every participant the evening before their lesson verifying that they will be here for their lessons, responding to their questions, and giving support when needed.
Our instructors and therapist get to put the last piece of the puzzle. They spend time researching lesson ideas, create goals and objectives for each lesson, arrive at least 30 minutes before their scheduled lesson to assign horses, check tack, setup the arena, brief volunteers on what the needs of the lesson might be, and coach newer volunteers. They are the risk manager for each lesson that they are responsible for. After every session, they write up the evaluation of each participants’ performance.
This beautiful puzzle of a horse partnering with and giving strength to it’s human while teaching confidence and communication is one of those 1000 piece puzzles that takes hours, days, weeks to put together. So as we work together to put this puzzle together, I ask our volunteers to understand the difficulties and challenges and sacrifices that our families go through to get their family members out to the ranch to help them heal..., body, mind, and soul. I also ask our participants and their guardians to respect our volunteers, instructors, and support staff’s time and efforts by coming to their scheduled lesson at their scheduled time. Their is nothing more disheartening than to rush from work or home only to find out that your rider canceled at the last minute or worse yet just doesn’t show up.
Mud! I hate mud! So many of you have heard me say how much I hate mud! And then the rain came! I hate mud! There really is a reason for my obsession over no mud. Did you know that we are in the process of becoming a premier PATH Intl center? Separated into 5 categories; Business and Administrative Standards, Facility Standards, Equine Welfare and Management Standards, Activity Standards, and Service Standards. For each standard we have a policy and procedure that has been thought out, tried, written down, and followed! What does this have to do with me hating mud? One of the 42 Facility Standards is: Is the walking surface in the stable area maintained so that it is dry, even and easily traversed? So, please help me! Any time you hose off or bathe horses or clean a feed pan or water bucket or trough think about where we need to walk (in front of the stalls, by the gates, the pathway from the driveway to the stalls, …) and then avoid that area.