Hi, I am the new Development Director for the ranch! I took over the "From the Desk of Patty" section to let you about the relaunch of our great newsletter. Our new newsletter, now called Ranch News, will have all the same great features including "From the Desk of Patty", "Journey to the Ranch", "Facilities with John" and "Volunteer Spotlight" as our previous design.
Ranch News will now be available in a dynamic, clickable, format you can access directly from you inbox! We will now be able to add videos and other types of digital content to the newsletter. You will now be able to quickly read through headlines and click "Read More" to read and comment on your favorite features. All of Ranch News with be accessible at any time on our website under About, Ranch News. This step is one of many steps we are taking to increase communication with you, our donors, clients, volunteers and friends.
Things are changing rapidly at the ranch thanks to you! We are so excited by our recent purchases and installations. Thanks to the hard work and generosity of our board member Matt Nail, United Rentals, and electrician and Rolando Elizondo of Classic Dream Makers Construction we now have additional arena lights.
Matt worked with United Rental who donated the use of a 4-wheel drive scissor lift for the weekend. Tim and his coworkers then donated their time, wire, and fixtures to install the arena lights. They look terrific! In addition, Tim and crew pre-wired the arena for our Big Ass Fan which arrived a couple weeks ago. We are working with our friend and sponsor Chris Murry from Merlot Enterprises to have the fan installed in the near future.
My Journey to the Ranch, like most people’s, starts with a horse. A mustang to be precise. This mustang was born in Wyoming where the winters are harsh and food is often scarce- where there may be danger lurking at every turn. Three years into his life, this would all drastically change. At three years old he was rounded up and taken from his home. The next step of his journey took him to a small town in Arkansas where our paths would soon cross. My life started off not much different than his. I grew up in a home without much nurturing and a father who was sexually abusive. The state took me from my home at the age of eight and I was adopted not too long after that.
My mustang, Bosifus (Bo), was born in 2002, the same year I was adopted. Four years later, I finally convinced my daddy that my horse-obsession was more than an average little girl’s fascination. I happened to be looking in the classifieds and saw two horses for sale for $250 each. It was the best $500 I ever spent (and by “I ever spent,” I mean made my dad pay). Bo’s life with humans up until then was like a lot of horses’ experiences. People, mostly men, tried to “break” him. They tried to control him by any means necessary, often through violence. When we brought the trailer to pick them up, he didn’t want to get on so the people who sold him beat him on with two-by-fours. We got the horses home and let them settle in. Then I set out to get to know my horse. I had picked Bo to be mine because he didn’t trust people, you see, and neither did I. It was through my relationship with my horse that I learned how to connect again. It was through him that I learned how to trust again, how to have boundaries of my own and respect his in return. He held me when I cried and brought laughter when we played. He was my confidante who understood me when no one else did. He was there when I was depressed, when I was at my lowest.
He saved my life. It is because of him that I am here today, in more ways than one. I always knew that I wanted to help horses and people. I thought I would do that by being a veterinarian. I went to college and soon found out that it was not going to fulfill the dream that I had. I then began to look around at other ways to get involved on a deeper level. I stumbled upon PATH Intl. and found a center to get involved. I knew I wanted to continue my involvement when I moved to Texas, so once I got here I immediately searched PATH centers and found Healing with Horses Ranch. It was through volunteering here that I began to understand and practice Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP). It seemed the perfect fit for me, because it mirrors the experience I have with my own horse. Now, I get to wake up and come to work and pass along the healing that horses bring to many other people.
I often tell folks during the volunteer training that we also offer “tractor therapy”. I will gladly teach you how to operator one of our tractors so you can help mow the 43 acres. It is with great sorrow that I must report our smaller tractor performed its last “tractor therapy” session a few weeks ago. It went out the way all good therapy tractors want to go, during a Hope field harrowing therapy session. I am pleased to report it went quickly; consuming all its oil in a short time which allowed engine parts that should never meet to come together in a symphony of banging and scraping…..then it was gone. I feel especially close to this tractor having touched so many of its parts, some of them repeatedly, over the years. It was certainly ridden hard and put away wet often. It gave it’s all to the ranch doing everything from moving mountains of trash in the early days to pulling the trailer for ranch tours. I want to thank the small tractor for all the hard ranch work over the years as well as the decade before cutting grass at the D’Andrea’s. As is the case with all John Deere tractors, it is an organ donor!!!! The small tractor’s departure leaves a huge hole in our maintenance equipment. It was the only finishing mower at the ranch. The large tractor can operate the shredder for the open fields but we no longer have something capability of effectively mowing the areas around the building, fences, and especially the trails. The wooded trails really need something more maneuverable than even a tractor…..
Several of us discussed zero-turn mowers to allow maximum maneuverability, but in reality, other robust ride-on finishing mower options will work as well and may be more flexible. A finishing mower combined with our existing tractor/shredder/string-trimmers will cover the Ranch grass cutting needs. Do you know someone who would consider donating this type of mower to the ranch? Do you have a friend or family member in the equipment business who would benefit from partnering with the ranch? Would you consider leading a fund raising campaign to help us with this purchase? Please contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
Hannah is native Austinite and recent graduate of a Physical Therapist Assistant program. She is also a life-long horse lover. Her first “official” experience with horses came during the summer after second-grade when she went to a horseback riding camp just outside of Austin. It was there that she caught “the horse woman fever” as it is sometimes called. She spent the next fifteen years competing in hunter-jumper events and rode for the equestrian team at Tarleton State University through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Hannah is as passionate about fitness and wellness as she is about horses- when she’s not at work or at the Ranch, she likes to train for long-distance running and take her two greyhounds out for adventures on the town. Her knowledge of physical therapy combined with her passion for our students, our horses, and fitness make her a fantastic student instructor! She has no problem choosing a favorite horse- it is definitely Player, with whom she shares a special connection. Her favorite things about Player are his puppy-like personality and the patient and gentle way he interacts with our students.