Equine Assisted


HOPE Ranch is a beautiful 8 acre ranch in the hills south west of Rochester, Minnesota, that specializes in:

  • Equine Facilitated Staff Development
  • Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP)
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Kit, the founder of HOPE Ranch, is a business professional as owner/founder of HOPE Ranch, and is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and an EAGALA Certified Psychotherapist and Horse Specialist. Her experience in social work gives her unique insight and understanding in systems through corporate, private and governmental settings. Kit also facilitates for the Rochester Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Roundtable.

Kit received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, and her MSSW in Clinical Work with children, youth, and families from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Before starting HOPE Ranch, Kit gained experience working with children, adults and families at a variety of agencies and facilities including Olmsted County, Omnia Family Services, Gerard Treatment Facilities, Mendota Mental Health Institute, and Mayo Clinic. Kit has been riding horses since she was 4 years old. Training her horses and trail riding are two of her greatest passions.

Kit started this private practice in 1999 allowing her the opportunity to provide a variety of services including experiential organizational development and team building. HOPE Ranch offers team development and staff enrichment opportunities utilizing EAGALA model equine assisted development, a very powerful horse facilitated approach. She also offers traditional in-office, play, and/or EAGALA model equine assisted psychotherapy for individuals, families, and groups.

Along with her therapy dog Honey, her three cats and six horses, Kit’s goal is to make people feel at home on the Ranch and to create space for people to experience the wonderful growth and healing that working with animals offers.


Allison Loftus is a Licensed Professional Counselor who specializes in supporting the mental health needs of women and teen girls. She graduated in 2014 with a MA in counseling and psychology from Saint Mary’s University.

In 2013, Allison attended the 26th Annual Postpartum Support International (PSI) Conference in Minneapolis, MN and gained innovative skills to advocate and support the mental health of pregnant and postpartum families.

In 2009, Allison successfully completed a six-month training program (80 hours) in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). She spent the next two years volunteering her time as a lay counselor at Compassion Counseling Center where she counseled clients in the following areas; trauma, post-partum depression, addiction, adjustment disorders, anxiety, ethnic identity, and marriage difficulties.

After miscarrying baby Loftus at 13 weeks gestation in 2007, Allison Loftus co-founded Hearts Overflowing with Prayers and Encouragement (H.O.P.E.) a miscarriage and stillbirth ministry at Autumn Ridge Church in Rochester, MN. H.O.P.E.’s mission is to encourage families who have experienced a miscarriage or stillbirth through the provision of a care package, notes of encouragement from families who have experienced loss, and weekly prayer through the first year of loss.

Allison believes the most important component of therapy is you. Her genuine and supportive personality adds a special touch in helping her clients flourish.


Amanda Briggs is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC). She has gained experience working with children and their families at Gerard Academy and Mayo Clinic. She specializes in children as young as 3 years old through Parent child Interaction Therapy (PCIT). Additionally, Amanda has been trained in Trauma Focused – cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), an approach utilized in children age 3-18 years old that have experienced a traumatic event or complex trauma.

Amanda received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, in Child Psychology. She received her Master of Arts in Clinical and Counseling Psychology in 2009 from Saint Mary’s University.

She is currently working towards becoming an EAGALA Certified Mental Health Professional and Horse Specialist. She grew up with horses and values their power and grace. Amanda looks forward to incorporating this model into practice.


HOPE Ranch is currently accepting and processing applications for additional mental health staff. Click here to be taken to employment information and description.


HOPE Ranch is currently accepting and processing applications for mental health intern(s).




EAGALA Certified Equine Specialist with past experience in mental health and addictions.


Kelly is a former intern of HOPE Ranch. She is currently an EAGALA Certified Equine Specialist. Her undergraduate degree is in Biblical Theology and Counseling Psychology. Kelly holds a Masters degree in Special Education and is a Licensed Special Education teacher.

Kelly grew up around horses, always having a desire to share her passion for these wonderful creatures with others. After completing high school, she worked at summer camps for a few years leading trail rides and giving riding lessons. As much as she loved teaching and working in the camp setting, her passion for people led her to pursue working in the education field, so she could combine two of her biggest passions – teaching and horses. At HOPE Ranch she is able to do just that. As an EAGALA Certified Equine Specialist, Kelly’s role is to co-facilitate Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.


HOPE Ranch is currently accepting and processing applications for equine intern(s).




Tom is a retiree with thirty eight years in the computer industry as a software engineer and certified project manager, seven years as a K-12 licensed Business Education teacher, and EAGALA Certified specialist. Tom earned BA and MBA degrees from the University of St Thomas. In addition to teaching business and computer content, Tom has taught CPR and Driver Improvement courses, and has been Crisis Prevention Institute certified. Tom also has US Patents to his credit for his software work.

Tom assists at HOPE Ranch with co-facilitating Equine Assisted Development and course and program development.





Renae Sander

Renae is a long-time Rochester resident. She has worked in a variety of sales and marketing positions as well as been a Small Business Owner. Renae has a BA in English and Organizational Communications from Concordia College. Although new to horses, Renae is no stranger to animals and shares her home with a dog and a cat. She enjoys anything theatrical and is a proud supporter of the arts at all levels.


HOPE Ranch does not offer riding lessons or activities requiring mounting of a horse. Experiential activities are utilized to facilitate teamwork, problem-solving, communication skills, and more without mounting a horse.

The EAGALA model, EAP and EAL focus on interaction with the horse as part of the facilitation team. 100% of activities are done on the ground – no riding is involved.

Experience with horses is not required to benefit from the healing power of horses.