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People–and Horses–Who Care

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- It's been quite a challenging year. Many
are feeling overwhelmed and emotional drained from the COVID-19 pandemic, political controversies, and unrest in the country.

Most are finding ways to cope, turning to their faith, family and friends.
Others are turning to horses, and the therapists who use them.

The horses live on HOPE Ranch. It's a serene ten-acre site on the bluffs southeast of Rochester. The horses' mission? To help humans with their mental and emotional challenges.

Their partner is clinical director and psychotherapist, Kit Muellner.

"We are here as a mentor and guide," she says. "The clients go out and experientially work through what they came to work on."

HOPE Ranch specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of depression, anxiety, ADHD and much more…through traditional and equine-assisted psychotherapy. The team is certified with EAGALA, a global leader of horse-assisted therapy.

"I remember crying one day on the phone," said Michelle Lee, mother of a HOPE client. "Saying someone has to help me or I will lose my kid."

Michelle's daughter was struggling with mental health challenges. Equine therapy became a lifeline and it helped her daughter get her life back.
"She started sticking up for herself. She started advocating for herself. She learned the tools and tricks of how to deal with depression."

It takes a team to make it work. HOPE Ranch partners with volunteers who are part of the mission.

"It's rewarding. They respond. It feels good," said volunteer Tom Moskalik.

HOPE Ranch is a working partnership between horses and humans. And perhaps, the ranch can provide an answer for those searching for hope when all seems lost.

Tom Overlie

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