Hearts & Horses Program

Registration Process:

  1. Call Vicki Baum to schedule a meeting:  641-799-8347
  2. Meet with ranch staff to discuss the needs and goals of your rancher
  3. Complete the Registration Forms at the ranch
  4. Schedule 3 to 5 Sessions from June – mid August

This program runs on donations and community support.

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The purpose of the Hearts & Horses Program is to bring joy and healing to children, youth and families in our community. Horses can help children heal and find hope.  Horses mirror their feelings because they are always in the moment and in tune to their body language.  That makes them a valuable teacher and friend.

We reach out to children and youth ages 7 - 18 (ranchers) who are experiencing grief or loss related to: 

  • Break-up of the family (temporarily or permanently)
  • Severe health issues of a loved one
  • Loss or impending loss of a loved one

Ranchers are scheduled for up to 5 sessions throughout the summer.  Each session includes one leader, one rancher and a horse and lasts just over an hour.  

In the first 3 sessions, the rancher will learn to develop a relationship with the horse on the ground through basic horsemanship skills:

  • Catching in pasture with the leader
  • Safe tying, grooming and bathing
  • Groundwork & creating boundaries with the horse
  • Leading – forward, backward and over obstacles

The next 2 sessions will give the ranchers an opportunity to ride their horse of choice.  They will learn how to safely:

  • Saddle and unsaddle the horse
  • Mount and dismount the horse
  • Ride the horse with a leader in control (depending on the skill of the rider)

During program activities, ranchers have the full attention of the leader.  They will first do some ranch work together then begin working with the horse.  As ranchers have fun in their horse session, they also learn communication skills, respect for others and how to earn the respect of others – including the horse.  They learn to trust the horse and leader to support them as they in turn care for the horse and the ranch.

Friendships are established and hearts begin healing!

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We ask that a parent or guardian stay at the ranch during each horse session.

The ranch is for you, too!

Enjoy your favorite book and an iced tea in the shade, wander through the garden or relax in our air-conditioned Welcome Center.  Other children can enjoy the play areas or do a craft as they wait with you.