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HEALING POWER OF HORSES

Giving Marin Community Partnership, a major initiative of the business community and Marin Independent Journal, offers local nonprofit organizations assistance with marketing through sponsored ads in the newspaper and online, along with exposure via social media platforms. At the end of 2019, Giving Marin gave back $60,000 generated through the program to Marin County nonprofit organizations. Through a rigorous process, six organizations were chosen to receive $10,000 each. Halleck Creek Ranch was one of the recipients.

Halleck Creek Ranch, a therapeutic riding program in Nicasio, has empowered individuals with disabilities for over 43 years through equine partnerships, connecting the mind, body, and soul of both horses and humans. Through equine-assisted activities and therapeutic riding, they help people realize their highest potential and gain independence in a safe, supportive and inclusive environment.

 

Providing individuals with special needs the opportunity to celebrate their victories, Halleck Creek’s special team of horses work with trained staff and volunteers to challenge students, helping them push beyond their perceived limits to pursue their goals. At Halleck Creek, they believe that when one is presented with adversity, the focus must be on what can be achieved, not on what can’t be done. 

That is why, earlier this year, when many nonprofits had to pause programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the team at Halleck Creek came together to develop a solution-driven plan for re-opening. Initially, without the ability to hold in-person programming or utilize volunteers, they quickly pivoted, focusing on the care of their 18 horses, the upkeep of their 60-acre ranch, and finding creative ways to stay connected with and continue to serve their community. The grant from Giving Marin provided funding to help cover unanticipated costs associated with the pandemic, including the creation of a new auxiliary office space for their volunteer coordinator, and additional support for the care, feeding and upkeep of their therapy horses.

 

Today, the dedicated volunteers have safely returned to the ranch, and the organization has begun offering reformatted programming. Since May, they have offered weekly Community Zoom calls for students and volunteers, as well as volunteer-docent-led “Back to the Barn” ranch visits for the families they serve. They look forward to moving into their next phase of re-opening, which they hope will provide students with more hands-on time with their cherished horse friends.

Halleck Creek Ranch relies deeply upon the support of individuals. They do not receive any state or federal funding, nor reimbursement from insurance providers. All of their students participate on a globally-subsidized tuition system, and roughly 40% of the people they serve require additional scholarship support to be able to participate. Fundraising events are a significant source of income for the organization. The annual Buckles & Bling event will be held online this year on Sept. 20 starting at 5 p.m. The fundraiser will take guests to the heart of their mission, highlighting the individuals who bring the ranch to life, and presenting the inspiring tales of Halleck Creek Ranch. The event is free and inclusive to all. For more information about their programs or this event, visit halleckcreekranch.org.

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