I am so excited for the Barn Bash this year! As we bring it back to the ranch, everyone will get to see our tremendous growth with our covered arena, stalls, fencing, and will get to meet the herd, the staff, and some of our amazing participants!
That growth happened because of the huge need for these equine services and the demonstrated benefits of building resilience, improving independence, and easing transitions. But more importantly that growth came because of the support of our donors and sponsors that have witnessed the improvements of strength, communication, self awareness, and confidence in our ever growing number of participants. Without your support, it would be impossible to increase the number of our PATH certified Instructors, Equine Specialists and licensed mental health counselors- we now have 11 on our staff of 14, so that we can provide deeply discounted equine facilitated psychotherapy, equine facilitated learning, and adaptive riding to over 90 weekly participants that are challenged daily with cerebral palsy, down syndrome, autism, ptsd, anxiety, depression, and so any other conditions. It's only July and we have already provided over $30,000 in financial assistance to those it need it.
Our herd of 20 horses work daily to encourage their riders growth and communication by needing their partners to be present. Because of supporters of the Barn Bash, we can continue to be able to afford to care for them in the ways that they deserve to be cared for. On average it costs over $3000 per month to feed and care for this wonderful herd of horses!
At last years Barn Bash, we did a paddles up to raise money for our Big Ass Fan. Between that and a grant received from Palm Valley Lutheran Church Endowment, the Big Ass Fan, it's installation and the electricity installation was able to be finalized. What a game changer that has been! We have cancelled almost no lessons due to heat and have only had a handful of lessons that we had to do a ground lesson because it was too hot to ride! When you come to the barn Bash, you will get to experience the difference that it makes!
Thank you so much for all of your support! Know that it makes such a big difference!
If you’ve ever been around the Ranch on a Thursday evening, you may have wondered just what exactly is going on in the conference room each week- why so many people!? And why do they always seem so busy!? Well, every Thursday night for about nine months out of the year, the HHR Barn Bash committee meets upstairs in the barn to plan our (awesome) annual fundraiser. This is my second year serving on the committee and it has been a blast- I don’t need a fortune teller to know that I will be back for Barn Bash 2020!
While it is fun to plan a party for over 150 guests, it is definitely not easy. Led by Arianna Roman, our team of seven (John, Matthew, Davina, Cari, and Kim) must arrange catering, invitations, venue logistics, keynote speakers, DJs and bands, donations for our live auction, and sponsorships, not to mention ticket sales and promoting the event on social media. This year has brought new and exciting challenges because we will be bringing the party back home to the Ranch! We figured there was no better place to celebrate how far Healing with Horses has come than at the place where it all started. However, having a gala at the ranch means our prep-list now includes tasks like getting the stalls sparkling clean for our gallery walk, and renting luxury portable restrooms with real toilets and sinks (you’re welcome!).
How can seven people get all of this done? Well, we can’t- not without help from our volunteers and sponsors. Several work groups have already signed up to prepare the grounds, barn, and arena the week of the event, and our facilities team is already hard at work on the stall area. Some wonderful auction items have started to come in, but we still need more to make the auction as fantastic as it was last year! Please consider donating if you have any material items or talents to share! It could be as big as a weekend at your lake house, or as small as a 1-hour lesson teaching someone your special talent, whether that’s yoga, painting, or welding! I want to encourage everyone to get creative when thinking about what they have to give to the Ranch- you don’t need to give a high value item to give something valuable to the Ranch! To donate an auction item please contact Cari, Volunteer Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I want to finish by saying that I hope you all have a blast at the Barn Bash this year. I certainly plan to. I think fundraising galas are a lot like weddings- technically “having fun” isn’t the point of the event, but it sure is a whole heck of a lot better if people do. Kick up your heels. Embrace the retro homecoming dance theme. Come see old friends and make some new ones. Celebrate everything the Ranch has accomplished and all that it will continue to achieve. And seriously, have some fun!
Get your tickets for Barn Bash: Homecoming today!
Dawn is a very special ranch horse. In fact, Dawn has been with the ranch from it's conception in 2011. That's why she is the horse of the month in this Ranch News, Barn Bash Special Edition.
Dawn is the daughter of Holly, founder Patty D'Andrea's personal horse turned therapy horse, and was born on April 15th, 2002. Executive Director/Patty's husband, John, video taped her birth. Recalling that moment John noted, "when she was born, the star on her head was the same size it is today and took up her whole forehead!" As she grew the star remained the same and her head got bigger.
Dawn started working as a therapy horse when Patty began lessons at the ranch in 2012. She is strong willed and opinionated but has a big heart. The staff will all tell you, "she will do anything and go anywhere for Patty". The trust and loyalty goes both ways. Patty trusts Dawn and is her loyal friend. They are coworkers and friends that, together, have build much of Healing with Horses Ranch.
Today, Dawn is still an important member of our team. She has built a relationship with many other staff members, most notably Alexa. Alexa often mentions "That's my girl. I love Dawn.". Thank you Dawn for your career as a therapy horse and your willingness to help people with challenges.
It's been a busy summer at the Ranch with significant progress on many of our projects. Just to bring you up to date on a few:
1) Arena Fan - Last year's Barn Bash raised a significant portion of the funds required to purchase a Big Ass Fan for our arena. The remaining funding was raised during the first half of this year. Add in the kindness of a local electrician, a board member, and some staff and our arena is now significantly cooler (both temperature and appearance!) than this time last year!
2) Arena Light - While we were up there we added 10 additional light fixtures to ensure the arena is well lit for evening lessons. What a difference they make.
3) Permanent Stalls - I've seen drawings of our permanent stalls for years but I really did not appreciate how amazing they would be until seeing them actually in place. Walking down the stall row with those beautiful wooden stalls on both sides is spectacular! We are almost complete with just a few more doors and a storage stall to finish out the space.
4) Parking/Grazing Area - Our neighbors to the north graciously agreed to allow us to use their property to both graze the horses and for event parking. After some fence repairs and mowing, we now have a very viable multiple acre pasture/parking area.
5) Parking Area Bridge - Now that we have extended parking to our north we needed a safe way for folks to walk from their cars to our facility. Of course there is a drainage ditch between the two properties. This is no longer a problem as one of our board members designed and built a very cool walking bridge. The bridge takes advantage of natural materials using existing trees for it's supports and is sturdy enough for the horses to use as well (yes, even Levi! Check out the video on our Instagram!).
6) Mower - As you may have heard our small tractor died earlier this year leaving a big hole in our grass cutting capabilities. We spent months looking for the correct piece of equipment that would complement our bigger tractor while giving us the maneuverability to cut around trees on the trials. I am pleased to report we are now the proud owners of a lightly used commercial zero turn mower. The previous owner needed a larger one to mow his treeless property while we needed a smaller one to mow our tree covered property.....win!
Allison has been a volunteer since July of last year. She has been a stellar volunteer and has served on the Healing with Horses Ranch Amplify Austin planning committee. We hope to see more of Allison come fall when we relaunch our Yoga with Horses night.
We ask Allison what it's like to be a volunteer at Healing with Horses Ranch and why she donates so much of her time to the ranch. Read the interview below.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I am originally from Wisconsin and have lived in Austin for nearly two years. I've been a licensed massage therapist for three years and went through a yoga teacher training last year. I'll be going back to school next month for Recreational Administration.
Wow! You are busy! I am so glad you find time to volunteer. How did you get involved with Healing with Horses Ranch?
I found Healing With Horses Ranch by searching online through the PATH International website and began volunteering about a year ago.
Now that you have been here for a year, what is the most rewarding part of your volunteering at the ranch?
Participating in anything is great! I volunteer once a week feeding at Sage, but helping out in lessons and seeing the riders smile, be in their bodies, and have "a-ha!" moments is my favorite.
I know we don't have favorites... But, who is your favorite horse and why?
Bo! He has such a calm disposition, and I'm a sucker for Paints!