Kit, the founder of HOPE Ranch, is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and an EAGALA Certified Therapist and Horse Specialist. 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.
HOPE Ranch is a dream come true for Kit whose favorite things in life are kids, families, and critters. She started this private practice in 2000 allowing her the opportunity to provide a variety of psychotherapy services including individual family and couples therapies utilizing traditional in-office, play therapy, and animal assisted therapy. She offers equine assisted individual, family, and group psychotherapy. HOPE Ranch offers team development and staff enrichment opportunities utilizing equine assisted learning, a very powerful, horse facilitated approach.
Along with her therapy dog Honey, her three cats and five 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.
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 Pscyhology. 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 mental health 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 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.