Q: What do you do?
A: We work with children who have suffered from some type of emotional trauma (abuse, neglect, PTSD, bullying, etc.) or mental disorder (bipolar, autism, anxiety issues, RAD, depression, etc.) by pairing them one-on-one with a mentor and a horse. Most of our horses have a story of their own to tell which makes them even more of a ‘safe place’ to a hurting child. We try and discuss different emotions, coping skills, triggers, stressful circumstances, and how to handle them. The horses are wonderful about presenting us with situations we can use to explain how to overcome our struggles and fears. While we always keep safety as one of our top priorities, our sessions are not focused on learning riding skills, but instead on making a connection with an animal.
Q: Where is the Ranch located?
A: 284 Byron Rd., Byron Center, MI. We are just west of the Ottawa/Kent County line on Byron Rd (84th Ave in Kent County). 20 minutes east of Zeeland, 10 minutes south of Hudsonville, and 5 minutes west of Byron Center, and just minutes from M-6 (Wilson Ave exit).
Q: How many kids come to the Ranch in a year?
A: This year, we anticipate approximately 500+ children will have felt the love of H.U.G.S. Ranch. Between regular sessions, group days, horse camps, service groups, and various events held at the Ranch, we are striving to reach out to as many youth as God brings to us.
Q: How much does it cost to run the Ranch?
A: Between facility maintenance, operating expenses, liability insurance, horse up-keep, and feeding, we need approximately $16,000 per month in donations, sponsorships, and in-kind gifts to continue providing the children and horses we serve with a safe, Christian environment where they can find healing and hope.
Q: Do you work with any kids that don’t have special needs?
A: Yes. We offer horse camps to the public as a way to raise funds for the Ranch. There are also many events that take place throughout the year that are open to the public such as Fall Festival, Christmas Tree Sales, and Public Speaking.