Where are we going?
We know a couple of things for sure . . . we love these horses, we have learned a lot over the past five years about what we don’t want to do for them, what we do want to do for them, and that we all benefit by sharing time and space with them. And we know for sure that many people who are attracted to this sanctuary have been through a lot in life already and recognize the healing energy of these horses . . . physical, mental and spiritual.
In November, 2014, we incorporated Henry’s Home Horse and Human Sanctuary as a 501c3 Tax-Exempt Non-Profit. We have a committed Board of Directors and Board of Advisors. It’s time now for our non-profit retreat to grow from a seedling into the magnificent tree of life we have envisioned from the beginning.
Let us share with you what our future plans are and, perhaps, you might be motivated to become involved.
- We continue to build community support and involement, as well as relationships/partnerships with the other nearby rescues and other non-profit organizations who could benefit from what we are doing. We are networking and building relationships with local corporations and community organizations helping to spread the word of our goals.
- We are redefining our services and finding compatible funding sources that allow us to be self-sustaining. We will be starting to apply for local and national grants and solicit corporate donations. And we will continue to organize fundraising opportunities and solicit personal donations from individuals.
- We are focusing our attention and efforts on partnering with military veteran groups – like the Wounded Warrior Equestrian Program and Hope for the Warriors, Lone Survivor and many of our local veterans groups – primarily working with PTSD. Several of our volunteers have completed their EAGALA Professional Certifications as Equine Specialists or Mental Health Specialists.
- During the past five years as this dream has been built into our non-profit today, we have been able to sustain ourselves financially with our services and donations. We believe that once we are up and running with this retreat, we will be able to sustain our non-profit with our services, donations from people who come to visit, groups using our facility, our training workshops, and through our fundraising efforts.
Our first step is to have our land donated or purchased – hopefully in 2016. Also in 2016, we plan to have a few more income sources in place along with growing sources of grants and donations.
Our start up facility will include a fully fenced parimeter, paddock paradise pastures, buildings for stalls, tack rooms, grooming and tacking facilites, buildings for hay and equipment storage, an office and kitchen for meetings, a round pen and several riding arenas – all solidly built with an emphasis on safety for both the people and horses. We will have a lot of help building these initial facilities with volunteers, including boy and girl scouts, schools, police and fire departments, community organizations, local corporations, etc.
As soon as we are ready to move our initial herd to this property, we will have at least one caretaker living on site. Someone will be on the property keeping an eye on the horses at all times. We will continue working with students and professors at SHSU on marketing and fundraising, etc., but we will start working as well with Texas A&M Veterinary Medicine students and professors with our herd of horses and workshops for educating our volunteers as well as the local equine community.
We will have a full-time Development Officer on salary or contract, working from home, to help us raise funds. The Executive Director position as well as all other positions will continue to be done by volunteers or Board of Directors in these early years.
Our needs during this year will be donated or purchased, and are –
- Tractor and several 4-wheel drive vehicles
- Truck and Horse Trailers
- Fencing, including portable panels and wood
- Materials for buildings
In 2017, we hope to have our horse facility completed enough to start accepting more rescued and donated horses.
We hope to have our equine therapy program running and funded. We plan to continue with our Herdmate Program for volunteers, our family times with our herd, and opportunities for other non-profits to get involved. We plan to have enough of a facility completed that we can have fundraisers, workshops and training opportunities at our sanctuary.
In 2018-2019, we hope to start construction on our retreat center. Here is our dream.
Our retreat center will have a main lodge that houses the offices, kitchen, meeting rooms and an auditorium, simple shared sleeping accommodations for about 50 people, and dining facilities for 100 people. All of our buildings will have large covered outdoor porches and be very rustic and simple. This whole facility will be very much in tune to the natural forests surrounding it.
There will be large real-wood stone fireplaces throughout, including in the bedrooms. We will use wood-burning stoves where necessary for extra heat. Our hope is to air condition the buildings and barns, and provide as much of the electricity as possible, with easily renewable energy. Outdoor fire pits will be scattered in seating arrangements throughout the property.
Four Pasture Tracts will surround the retreat center and barns in a cloverleaf pattern. This retreat center will be inundated by nature and horses. “Pasture Tracts of “Paddock Paradise” is a revolutionary model and guide for safe, natural horsekeeping, hoof care, and the healing and rehabilitation of lame horses. The premise of “Paddock Paradise” is to stimulate horses to behave and move natuarlly according to their instincts.”
There will be several outdoor riding and therapy arenas, and several smaller round pens for training. There will be a large covered arena/training center with portable open-air stalls lining a couple sides used for feeding and grooming the horses. Under this shelter will also be secure, air conditioned tack rooms and horse treatment stalls. Several small pastures with sheds will accommodate horses that are being rehabilitated and who are not yet ready to be put in with the herds. We will also have a designated intake/quarantine barn with pens, for new horses coming in, on another part of the property.
In a building connected to one of the barns, we will have a bunk house, with sleeping for another 20 people. A greenhouse, connected to our gardening barn/greenhouse, will have bedrooms and bathrooms for another 20 people. And lastly, there will be a boat house with sleeping for another 20 people connected to the boat supply building by/on the lake. The boathouse will hold donated canoes, paddle boats and kayaks. Even though everything else will be simple and rustic, the only splurges will be good comfortable mattresses and soothing reclined private bathtubs for soaking and reading.
There will be gardens everywhere. Beautiful flowerbeds scattered throughout, as well as organic vegetable gardens and fruit trees. We will have chickens for fresh eggs and insect control. Ducks and geese will make their homes on our lake and we will enjoy being entertained by them. We plan on eventually taking other rescued animals, whoever we can take care of safetly. We would love to have a building for taking in rescued and rehabilitated wildlife, working with an existing non-profit.
People will come here for shared and honest companionship and fellowship with our staff, volunteers and our horses. There will be groups that come in for periods of time to use our retreat facilities, bringing their own linen and food. We envision groups of up to 100 people staying with us for corporate retreats, church retreats, VA, school and family retreats – you envision it and we will consider it.
When we are not using our facilities for retreats we would like to open them up for community functions including fundraisers for churches and local organizations, meetings like BSF, AA, etc., for the community. We will provide workshop areas for groups that need local meeting facilities, art and cooking classes. Since we are a horse and human sanctuary, we plan to bring in experts to put on horsemanship workshops as well as every type of human workshop. We envision speakers and musicians coming to perform with us as part of our fundraising.
There will be no upscale amenities at our sanctuary. There will be no spa, no three star dining. Our sleeping rooms will not have TV’s or telephones and there will be no wifi or radios provided. We will have audio/video equipment for our auditorium and meeting rooms with big TV’s. And we will have a nice big library of books and videos on nature, horse and spiritual subjects which we will be happy to share. But our goal here is for everyone to disconnect from the hurry and worry of our fast-passed world.
Our dream for this retreat and sanctuary is to reconnect our volunteers and visitors to the truth and peace of their souls. We want to set up an environment for our guests to remember who they really are – what’s important in life – finding rest and renewal. Healing.
We want to be a part of the local community in a way that will benefit all. But it is first and foremost our job to keep our horses safe, so we will be careful who we invite to spend time with us. We can’t imagine anything better than sharing our sanctuary with humans and animals in such healing, simple and natural ways. For them and for us.