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Whispering Meadows Ranch: A Labor of Love

10/28/2017

At October’s membership meeting, MOAA members were profusely thanked for their service, were (re-)introduced to Flagler County’s only equine-assisted facility for those with special needs, and were treated to heartwarming stories of unconditional welcome and acceptance. Richard “Dick” Davis and his daughter, Kristine Aguirre, owners and operators of Whispering Meadows Ranch in Flagler Beach, proudly discussed the Ranch, its clients, its 100% volunteer personnel, and their plans for future endeavors.

Being a natural born raconteur, Dick introduced the story of the beginnings of Whispering Meadows Ranch and the reason he, a staid Bostonian, is now a real “cowboy” in Central Florida. As he recounted, when one of the first of the special needs children the Ranch was serving asked him if Whispering Meadows was “a real ranch” and he answered yes, the young man asked, “Then where are the cowboys?” From that moment on, Dick knew he had to play the part. And he’s cherished that role ever since.

Daughter Kristine took over from there and told how she and her mother became hooked on equine programs to provide confidence and independence to special needs children and those with disabilities after attending PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) training in 2007. With a “We can do this” attitude, the family started Whispering Meadows Ranch, and it became a certified 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization a year later. Today, Whispering Meadows serves 34 children with equine-assisted therapy lessons each week, has four trained horses, an 8 to 15- week work skills program for older special needs clients, summer camp, and a plethora of other developmental projects, on their five-acre ranch. The equine programs are unquestionably the most popular, and the waiting list for the activity is always lengthy.

Future projects for the Ranch include the implementation of a mentor program for special needs clients, and enhanced community relationships.

Kristine closed the program answering MOAA member questions about the Ranch, and invited everyone to their December Open House, on Saturday, December 2, 2017, from 4:30 to 7:00 PM at the Ranch, located at 5011 John Anderson Highway, in Flagler Beach. This year, in addition to the holiday fun and games, Christmas carols, sweets and treats, cocoa and hot cider, and lights galore, the Open House features a blessing of the horses at 5 PM. RSVP for the blessing of the horses and Open House is requested (386-503-6312).

If you or someone you know is interested in horses, if you’ve always had a yearning to be a cowboy/cowgirl, or if you are just looking for a worthwhile volunteer opportunity that will keep you in the great outdoors and give you a warm feeling after seeing the major difference you can make in the lives of those with disabilities and special needs, consider opportunities at Whispering Meadows Ranch.

If you can’t make the open house and would like information about Whispering Meadows Ranch, check it out at www.whisperingmeadowsranch.org