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By Janis Mork

October 23, 2013 (El Cajon)- Rocking Horse Ranch has been in business since 2006, and  now its operators are asking for help to help save the property. The ranch pairs up troubled horses with abused and neglected children, and in time, both child and horse learn to heal.

ECM recently sat down with founder and executive director, Kathy Plaisted to learn more.

She told us that the ranch is special because “it is such a unique environment.. .We bring horses that come from troubled backgrounds and pair them up with people who have suffered as well.. We’re volunteer driven and serve over 500 people each month. We rehabilitate [the horses], work with kids, adopt the horses to forever homes, and bring in another one.”

Through equestrian therapy right at the ranch, the kids and horses get a new lease on life.

“It’s an experiential learning process,” Plaisted said. The children learn to trust, respect, have boundaries, communicate and work in teams, and gain self confidence. “We pair them up with horses they can relate to.”

Rocking Horse Ranch gets referrals from past clients and agencies throughout the county.

Asked about the challenges the ranch faces, Plaisted replied, “The ranch doesn’t own the property where it’s located right now. It’s going to be sold. We have an opportunity to buy the property.. .We need to stay close in town.”  So, they have been trying to raise funds to purchase the property and keep the program active.  They ask for monthly donations for ongoing costs like feeding the horses and veterinary expenses, as well as large donations for the purchase of the property.

When the kids first see and approach the horses, their reactions vary.

“Some of them have never seen a horse before and think they’re like a big dog,” Plaisted explained. “Some are intimidated.  Some people are fearless. Most people are naturally attracted to them.”

Plaised has some short and long term goals. “For the short term, have someone donate a grant to purchase the property. Further down, I’d like to have a bigger piece of property to serve more kids, to provide more services. But right now, I’d like to keep the property and keep our doors open.”

The ranch has been getting a lot of donations already. “We just started the campaign three weeks ago. We’ve already been getting pledges from all over the world ,” Plaisted said, citing France and Switzerland as examples. ”The people who donate range from a little kid who gives all he has in his piggy bank and kids having bake sales to large monthly donors. People have been so generous, but we still have a long ways to go.”

You can donate directly on the website:!pledge-campaign/c1hyo. An individual can donate, or businesses can give goods and services for future fundraisers.

They will soon have a big trail ride and a benefit concert/open house/silent auction.

For more information about the ranch, visit:!home/mainPage

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