Rebel Ranch was created to enhance the lives of veterans and children with physical or psychological disabilities by training service dogs. Our service dogs receive certification after participating in a training program. Participants are taught the skills necessary to train the dogs they had been paired with. This allows our participants to learn responsibility, gain confidence, and develop communication skills. Through the work with our veterans, they pointed it out to us that first responders were struggling with many of the same issues with little or no resources. It was then that we also begun focusing on mental health and the resources we could provide to every member of our community with a strong focus on veterans, first responders, and children.
During our work, we recognized that service dogs were an effective resource, but many participants needed additional skills to become independent. We developed resiliency courses focused on communication, stress management, and emotional intelligence. Our research discovered the powerful advantages of Equine-Assisted Learning (EAL). EAL is an experiential therapeutic approach that involves working with horses to promote personal growth, self-awareness, and team building skills. The process is facilitated by a trained professional who guides participants through various activities and interactions with horses to help them develop social-emotional intelligence, communication skills, and problem-solving abilities. EAL can be beneficial for individuals of all ages and can be used to address a range of issues such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and trauma.
Rebel Ranch recognizes the importance of prioritizing mental health as a community by developing programs encouraging acceptance and supporting a path to healing. Our organization deploys certified therapy dogs at schools, nursing homes, and government facilities to comfort others and spread the message of self-care. We host weekly support groups for community members, giving them a safe place to connect with others. We host quarterly All-Abilities events so families with special needs children can enjoy themselves in a safe environment and experience holidays on a ranch.