Several new horses whinnied while the band played, military veterans and families talked and laughed during a “thank you” get together hosted by Manzanita Ranch on Memorial Day in Anza.
Johnny and Jill Roberts, managers of Manzanita Ranch, where “horses are the therapy” for military veterans, first responders and those suffering from Post-tramatic Sress Disorder after witnessing or living through a terrifying event.
The potluck gathering included a tour of the newer additions to the ranch including a tack and feed storage unit, covered shelters, new corrals and a larger fenced in area where the ranch’s seven gentle therapy horses can run and exercise. The new additions to the ranch were the result of charitable donations provided by sponsors and friends of the nonprofit organization.
Entertaining the guests were Joe and Bernardette Mullenix of “Slow Traffic” who braved the dust kicked up by the horses in the corrals to present a number of popular, folk and country music songs. The Mullenix’s paused to thank the veterans for their service and praised the work of Manzanita Ranch for those suffering from PTSD.
Manzanita Ranch has served those who are suffering from PTSD as a result of military service, cancer patients and at-risk youth for the past six years. The ranch offers the “One Good Day Project” to those in need. The day includes spending time with the horses, all very attentive and gentle with people, feeding them carrots, grooming them and for those who are able, riding portions of the nearby Pacific Crest Trail.
“Our clients experience an emotional bond with the horses,” explains Roberts. “Our horses are all calm and well trained. Once our guests feed a horse a carrot, brush their coasts or clean to clear their hoofs, they relax; they focus on the horse and the relationship that quickly develops.”
The Roberts said the Memorial Day get together was more to thank those who have helped the nonprofit ranch and its mission through the years.
The Ranch does have annual fundraisers and is the sponsor of the annual “Concert for Heroes” usually held on Veteran’s Day in November for American War Veterans.
Requests to visit the ranch may be sent by email to OGDProject@Manzanitaranch.org or by calling Johnny at (909) 816-9450 or the ranch at (951) 763-2579.