Every day at Halleck Creek Ranch (HCR) is one filled with fun, friendship and accomplishment.
Since 1977, the Bay Area ranch has paired gentle horses with dedicated volunteers who take riders into nature on horseback, and is one of the oldest equine-assisted and therapeutic horseback riding programs in the vicinity.
Program participants hail from throughout the greater Bay Area. They have been diagnosed with a wide range of physical, cognitive, social and emotional challenges, such as autism, cerebral palsy, depression and anxiety.
While at the ranch, each student is treated as the unique individual they are, and is provided the opportunity to push themselves to success with just enough support to help them thrive. The focus throughout each lesson and interaction is not on what one’s challenges might be, but rather on what is possible through using each individual’s talents and strengths.
The ranch has a small team of employees, and therefore heavily relies on devoted volunteers. Volunteers put forth time and effort to lead horses, support students during lessons, maintain the 60-acre ranch and care for its 18 horses.
Located at the end of a narrow dirt road in rural West Marin, HCR’s property features the grasslands and oak woodlands so many of us have grown to love. Unfortunately, that also means it’s susceptible to wildfire. In response to the growing risk of fire danger, members of the ranch staff have developed a thorough emergency and evacuation plan. Staff and volunteers review, update and practice the plan annually, and have even had to implement it a handful of times in the past few years.
Although the plan is detailed and comprehensive, additional measures have been suggested by County officials. Deemed the “Fire Preparedness Initiative,” these critical measures include the installation of water storage tanks, the purchase of an additional stock trailer, and the acquisition of a cargo trailer to store evacuation equipment and horse feed during fire season.
As a 501c3 nonprofit, HCR doesn’t receive state or federal funding, nor are its services reimbursed through health insurance. It relies on private donations, foundation grants and program revenue, the latter comprising less than 15 percent of the annual budget. Everyone who participates in the HCR program does so under a globally subsidized tuition system, and roughly 35 percent of the families receive additional scholarship support.
To meet its fiscal needs, HCR holds a number of fundraisers throughout the year, the largest being the Buckles & Bling Dinner and Auction coming up on Friday, Sept. 17. Buckles & Bling, held at the historic Rancho Nicasio Restaurant, offers opportunities to socialize with friends, enjoy fine food and wine, and learn more about HCR’s mission and accomplishments. This year’s event will include an online auction held in the weeks prior to the event, and a live auction full of one-of-a-kind items. Proceeds from the event will support HCR’s mission and its Fire Preparedness Initiative.
For more information, visit HCR’s Facebook page.