Thanks to the generosity of community members and businesses, Peace Ranch continues to rescue and rehabilitate horses and people with recent improvements to the property. Executive Director, Jackie Kaschel, says that it’s been an exciting year with the Ezekiel Garden, New Horse Shelter and the New Volunteer Cabin.
Peace Ranch is a center for growth & learning where experiential therapies, including equine assisted, are provided for children, adults, youth, families, couples, and groups. They are located on Hoosier Valley Road in Traverse City.
The new Horse Shelter and Volunteer Cabin will help in the facility’s growth so they can better meet the needs of the horses and humans they serve. Both were paid for by private donors. The horse shelter was built on-site with materials donated by the Girrbachs with help from volunteers.
The Volunteer Cabin will be used for meetings, classes and sessions. It was built by Cedar Creek Storage Barns in Manton. PEACE Ranch will need more donations to complete the inside. The small cabin they had been using will be refurbished to be the PEACE Ranch office, which will offer more space than inside of Executive Director Jackie Kaschel’s house!
The Ezekiel Memorial Garden was worked on this year as well. According to the website, the vision to develop a memorial garden at PEACE Ranch evolved through a series of events over a number of years. A therapy garden has existed at the ranch since its inception in the form of the Community Vegetable Garden which is designed, planted, maintained and harvested by volunteers. Children and adults enjoy this living opportunity and at times the garden has even attracted a following apart from the horses. In 2012, the untimely and tragic passing of Zeke (Ezekiel) Goodwin, the seven year old son of their board president, inspired the expansion of the garden vision to include a part in memorial or for meditation. The theme: For All Who Need Strength was inspired in the Eulogy for Zeke by Dr. David Walls whose focus was Ezekiel, the prophet and the meaning of his name “God Strengthens”.
Planning for the garden expansion began in 2013 with a committee that brainstormed and explored possibilities for the project. Themes, styles, the addition of art work etc were considered. Since then, the project has evolved and taken shape. It was always envisioned that there would be something visual in the garden which connected horses and humans in a healing relationship for losses but it has never been clear what that would actually look like. Looking back through the photos during the final days of our beloved Knight’s life, PEACE Ranch believes this one captures the vision.
Arbors and plants will be put in next year. The garden will include the following components: a memorial center piece for All Who Need Strength; a horses healing humans theme; wheelchair accessible paths and plantings connecting the parking area, through the garden to the pony pen; a combination of perennial & annual flowers & herbs; incorporation of the existing vegetable garden; arbors with climbing vines; paths connecting to other property areas and room for expansion.
Also in the works is the Shade Project – installation of roll down shades for the ranch’s new outdoor covered arena. The arena allows the ranch to provide year-round programming for its equine-assisted therapeutic and educational activities. The project need is $18,000 with $15,000 received to date, including $5,000 from the Schmuckal Foundation and $3000 from Rotary Good Works.
For a list of the needs of PEACE Ranch and how to help, please click here.