Horse slaughter has been banned in the US for over seven years. With that comes the unintended consequence of neglected and abused horses that would have otherwise been sent to butcheries in Canada and Mexico. Angels Grove Ranch gives these wounded and mistreated animals a second chance for a happy, healthy life. With locations in Bush and Loranger, Angels Grove has enough acreage to service St. Tammany Parish and beyond.
Nestled in the heart of pine tree country, this nonprofit rehabilitates and trains the lucky rescues that find their way to its gates. The ranch’s founder, Lisa Massimini, has found her calling in helping both horses and children. A New Orleans native, Massimini has over 25 years of experience in promoting health, fitness and horsemanship training. The last 10 years, her mission has been to give horses a second chance and a child or a person a new beginning by pairing children with special needs (mental or physical) with either a working horse or a rescue horse. The healing that occurs from this relationship is magical.
Some specialists contend that the physical rigors therapeutic riding require can not only help strengthen limbs and muscles of kids with multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and other disabilities but can also be an effective tool to help children with autism and other emotional and behavioral disorders. The emotional bonding and trust that occurs between animal and child has a profound effect on the human psyche. Angels Grove also offers programs for adults, specifically special needs individuals and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Adults enjoy the same benefits of horse companionship as children do.
As a community outreach ranch, Angels Grove is focused on giving less fortunate children the opportunity to attend horse camp. The bi-annual Angels Grove Wild West show is an educational fundraiser that raises money to help such children attend camp as well as prevent horses from going to slaughter. Camp sponsorships allow kids to benefit from the cowboy/cowgirl experience as well as learning to care for horses such as grooming, saddling and interacting with the animals for an entire week. It is a transformative experience and creates memories that last
To help with the cost of care for all the equines, the ranch offers sponsorship of work horses and adoption programs for its rescues. The sponsorships help curb the cost to provide food, regular grooming, medical attention and shelter. It is also tax deductible. Massimini works closely with adoptive equine parents to ensure they choose the right horse for their family. Adoption can be very rewarding. Families have the satisfaction of knowing that they’re giving a neglected horse the love and care it deserves. In the event an adoptive family must part ways with their horse, Massimini stresses the importance of placing the animal with a friend or a rescue organization instead of putting it up for auction. Tragically, many auctioned horses are sentenced to death when being purchased by a kill buyer.
While horse therapy and adoption are its primary focus, Angels Grove Ranch also offers the following services: riding lessons, horse camps, parties and the requisite petting zoo. In addition to horses, its grounds are the home to pigs, goats, donkeys, peacocks, and rabbits just to name a few, giving visitors a taste of country farm life. The peaceful setting nurtures and heals body, soul and mind and brings guests back to simpler times. Massimini considers herself blessed to help so many creatures both big and small. She said, “When God picks you for a mission, it’s not about you anymore.”
Angels Grove Ranch is located at 81270 Katie Lane in Bush. For more
information call 985-789-3148 or visit angelsgrove.org