A call to “Feed the Horses” at Manzanita Ranch went out Saturday, May 7, bringing more than 50 area real estate agents, veterans and businessmen at a gallop to the Texas Hold’em and Bunco for Heroes benefit held at the Murrieta Southwest Riverside County Association of REALTORS.
Manzanita Ranch in Anza, managed by John and Jill Roberts, has a mission to provide therapy horses for veterans and other persons suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The Ranch boards up to 10 horses friendly to those who come for the day to visit and take a ride along the Pacific Crest Trail near the ranch.
The special event at the SRCAR headquarters offered those attending an opportunity to win special prizes and participate in a silent auction and raffle with more than 30 other donated prizes. The winner of the Hold’em tournament walked away with a 55 inch Roku Smart TV and the Bunco players could win a wine rack and wine, a case of fine chardonnay wine and a wine and painting class.
But, most were there to lend a hand to the ranch which depends upon donations to keep the horses fed and cared for.
The nonprofit Manzanita Ranch program called the One Good Day Project provides a full day experience to disabled veterans, first responders, cancer patients and survivors and at-risk youth.
“Our clients experience an emotional bond with the horse,” John Roberts said. “Our horses are all calm and well-trained. Once our guests feed a horse a carrot, brush their coats or learn to clean hoofs they relax and they focus on the horse and the relationship that quickly develops.
“Whatever is troubling them, whatever the root of their pain, these big beautiful creatures have a very unique ability to help other escape for a few hours. Our hope is that they develop a new perspective and face their struggles from a positive point of view,” he said.
At the Texas Hold’em and Bunco event Roberts told the players stories about some of the men and women suffering from PSTD who spent the day at the ranch with the horses and what it meant to them. For some of the veterans the ranch is like a second home for them and they regularly come to curry, comb and feed the horses like they were part of their own family.
Roberts said about 90 percent of those coming to the ranch are veterans having served in many campaigns from Vietnam to Afghanistan, all suffering from experiences they try to forget. The day at the ranch is a time they can remember with a happy heart.
Veterans and those who suffer from PTSD are welcome to call the ranch at (951) 526-6771 as well as those who wish to help the ranch in its mission. Appointments are made for the day for the veteran and their caregivers. They learn to care for their horse and if they are able, take a ride along the scenic Pacific Crest Trail. For more information about the ranch and the opportunities it offers see www.manzanitaranch.org or mail Manzanita Ranch 27315 Jefferson Ave., Suite J148, Temecula, CA 92590. Manzanita Ranch is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation.