As Executive Director and Co-Founder of Blended Spirits Ranch, I would like to formally announce that we are in the process of restructuring our programs and services at Blended Spirits Ranch. As many are already aware, this restructuring includes the discontinuation of the lesson program. The Board of Directors and I have come to the difficult decision to pair down our services in order to refocus on the Ranch’s original mission: providing mental health and healing services to the most underserved and in-need members of our community.
A word about the founding of Blended Spirits Ranch and our mission:
Back in 2006, I was given a vision for Blended Spirits Ranch. I was called to serve children who had been through trauma, and who had absolutely no opportunity to experience the healing power of horses. Children (like me when I was young) whose families could never afford these experiences because shoes and food must come first. God had given me a very clear message and a calling I take to heart, and one that I promised I would dedicate my life to. I can honestly say, (as can my friends and family) that I have worked tirelessly for the last 17 years of my life to build an organization to fulfill the calling I have been blessed to receive. A calling that my dearest sister, dearest friend and confidant, Debbie, helped me fulfill before she passed on and went home to heaven.
The growth of the Ranch and the success we have had with our therapy clients saw an increased interest in private lessons. While outside of the scope of our original mission, through some careful planning we were able to establish the lesson program and keep it running for over seven years. Last year, in an effort to touch as many lives as possible, we made the decision to open two facilities – one dedicated to mental health services and our original mission, and one dedicated to providing private lessons. This decision to expand our services, while carefully considered, has led to challenges on many levels and eventually brought to light the need to prioritize the services we want most to offer, and the communities who need us most.
Thus, moving forward, Blended Spirits Ranch will be primarily focused on providing services to children and adults who are in need of Equine-Assisted Therapy, Equilateral, Equine-Assisted Learning, and overall mental health support and counseling. This decision came after much discussion, consideration, debate, and deliberation among the Board of Directors. This organization is led by a total of nine educated, experienced, and dedicated individuals who bring wisdom and heart to our mission. They have been called recently to make some hard decisions and I am proud of each and every one of them who has stepped up and stood strong for what they believed in. Each board member who had something to say was heard, each board member had a vote, and each board member did their very best to make decisions in the best interest of Blended Spirits Ranch.
While we are sad to say goodbye to the lessons program and the wonderful clients we were blessed to serve, we are excited to give more opportunity to those who are underserved in our area. We hope this refocus in our energy will bring more help and healing to where it will be felt the most. For example, using the proceeds from our recent fundraiser to provide scholarships for groups of Veterans who are struggling to find the help they need and who will benefit greatly from our services, and being able to add another talented counselor to our team of Licensed Professional Counselors.
For those who have personally reached out to me to let me know how you feel about the lesson program discontinuing, thank you. Some of what you have said has been difficult for me to hear, but I know you needed me to hear it. I hear you, and our Board of Directors hear you also. We recognize that change has come quickly, but we want to assure you that it has been considered thoroughly. We feel for all who have had to have difficult conversations in their families this week, and we pray you will continue to find the love you have found with our horses in one of the many quality riding programs offered in our area. However, we would also ask for understanding, as quick action was needed to ensure the Ranch’s ability to continue to provide services to those in desperate need of them.
We are also excited for Jeanette to continue offering her amazing talents under her own business! To celebrate the friendships that have developed between Jeanette's clients and our horses, we will be hosting a day of celebration on December 2nd at the McCray facility in Fairview. Jeanette will be reaching out to her clients to give them that information.
If we could make one request of our Blended Spirits family during this time, it would be to lift up a prayer for our mission. Please pray for all the children that we work with who have no mommies to kiss them goodnight, no daddies to be a positive role model, no grandmas, no grandpas, no aunts, uncles, and no idea of what their futures hold outside a residential facility that is unfamiliar and oftentimes feels unsafe. Please pray that they find themselves in our arena with our amazing horses that can love them unconditionally, allow them to feel special, cared for, and give them the most important gift of all - hope for their future.
Thank you, Sandy Long