Students learn, help at Impressive Dogwood Horse Ranch Horses bring healing to many
Born out of personal tragedy and triumph, the Reward Riding Program at Impressive Dogwood Horse Ranch near Milan, continues to be a solace for those who love to ride horses.
While the Rewards Riding Program was created with the goal to students to go to the Indiana Special Olympics, it is for anyone who could use therapy through riding.
The name says it all. The ranch is ‘impressive’ with its flowing riding trails located close to the Versailles State Park. There are 19 12×12 stalls, two 12×24 foaling stalls, and four 10×12 stalled with an attached 80×120 heated indoor arena. The office, tack room and bathroom are all located in the barn.
To keep all this running like clockwork is no easy task, according to Ronald Brandes, who owns the ranch. He told The Versailles Republican he is thankful for any volunteer help and that came recently in the form of several students from East Central who volunteered at the ranch.
“Those kids jumped right in and got the job done,” he noted saying they came out and did whatever needed to be done whether it was cleaning manure out of stalls, putting fresh shavings in the stalls for bedding, and picking up sticks in the pasture lot.
The students learned something that day too. They were showed how to property care for a horse, that most horses are safe and areas that might cause concern would be the mouth and feet. Brandes told them to use “horse sense” when dealing with the beautiful animals. He said the students were able to give the horses some snacks and learned how to properly feed them.
The group of 13, along with their teacher, Hayley Miller, got an education beyond the classroom and the horses at Impressive Dogwood Horse Ranch received some tender loving care from the students.
The ranch has been in operation for 20 years and Brandes says he knows the value of offering the Rewards Riding Program and will continue this into the future. Halie Wolpert helps out on the ranch with Brandes saying she is great with the horses and knows the program.
The non-profit program at the ranch is especially designed for special needs children and adults alike, according to Brandes. He said anyone can take advantage of riding horses at the ranch. With the wind whipping to the galloping of the horse, worries and fears fade into the background and many people find their peace of mind on the back of the horse.
Lessons are offered, training for the horses, and boarding. They specialize in Halter horses that ride. If you’re interested in checking out this local non-profit, go to their website or call Brandes at 812-621-1112. The ranch is located at 1574 N County Road 575 E., Milan.