Thank you very much to those of you have supported the ranch in many different ways. You are helping us to impact the lives of many children and their families.
A lot has happened since I last wrote!
The ranch celebrated 10 years with a party at the end of last year. It was a great success and we raised over £1,000. Thank you to all those who came out and supported us!
The ranch is now at maximum capacity working with over 60 children on a regular basis. We also have a waiting list which seems to be growing as quickly as we slot the children in.
We have recently launched sponsor-a-child. We are asking groups or businesses to give £10 per week (or £500 a year) to support a child. Most children attending make a donation for each visit but very few can afford to pay the full cost needed to cover each session. We hope this scheme will ensure the ranch is financially sustainable for years to come.
We are now working with two school groups!
One 15-year-old from the school who has limited speech is making significant progress with verbal communication. When he first started visiting the ranch, he would only repeat one phrase. Each week he has been keen not only to do jobs but also to make an effort at communicating. One week he came over to Lightning holding a grooming brush and said, “brush horse”. I told him we needed to take the rug off Lightning so that we could brush her. He then lifted her rug slightly and said, "coat off" and then "cold". For a student who had not until this point communicated anything to me about what we were doing at the ranch this was huge!
Our youngest regular visitors at the moment are just three years old. They have complex additional needs. They are non-verbal and for one of them walking is a challenge. The first week they came, just getting a riding hat on their head was traumatic. They now both wear a riding hat each week to ride without a problem. This week both of them seemed tired and less enthusiastic. However, one of them wanted to just lie on the back of a pony. We took him for a short walk around the yard and then sang “Horsey horsey don’t you stop just let your feet go clippety clop…” Whilst singing to him, he began to hold eye contact with me which is very unusual. Normally he will only hold eye contact with anyone for a couple of seconds, but he held my gaze all the way through the song. Then he began to look sleepy and slowly his eyes closed, and he fell asleep. Even when Bertie moved and went to the toilet he remained asleep, snoring lightly!
Can you help?
This year we need to more than double the Ranch income in order to remain sustainable working with this number of children. Can you help? We are looking for individuals and businesses who can organise fundraising or commit to sponsoring on a regular basis. Please let me know if you can help in any way.
The Ranch Family
The horses are all well. They have recently enjoyed fresh grass on a different field that we have been allowed to use temporarily. The hens have laid throughout the winter this year and collecting eggs and cuddling hens continues to be a highlight for our visitors.