Wednesday, September 11, 2013


You should always remember who you are, whose you are and where you came from. I believe this should apply to organizations too.

I like to think that there is always a "method to my madness".  The reason we as a team went to visit Windridge as our first yearly "field trip" is that they are an integral part of who we are, whose we are and where we came from. The foundation of Shadow Ranch itself was built with the knowledge, compassion and advise received from the souls that make up Windridge.

Nestled in the beautiful piney woods of East Texas is a place that I refer to as the Disneyland of therapeutic riding centers: Windridge Therapeutic Equestrian Center of East Texas. Over 20 years ago, Margo and Bruce Dewkett founded Windridge. They started with 6 horses and a handful of riders. Now they have over 20 horses and over 100 riders each week. They have struggled and sacrificed shedding blood, sweat and tears for an organization, an industry and a passionate calling that drives them: helping individuals dealing with disabilities.

When the dream of Shadow Ranch became a goal, I knew that we needed guidance to ensure we created an organization with a firm foundation. I grew up in Texarkana and had seen Runnin WJ start up. I met Patricia, it's founder and asked if she could give us advice on starting up our place. She gave us the best advice that she ever to Margo.

Margo took me under her wing not only as a future instructor, but as an Executive Director and a founder. She gave me insight to all the different hats I would have to wear and struggles we would have to go through within each. She made sure that I knew how difficult a road it would be while at the same time how much true joy and fulfillment there would be ... step by step. She and her crew drilled into me the safety standards of the industry and the horror stories that could come if they are not used. Margo instilled in me the need to be vigilant in taking care of the little things so that they do not become big things.

To this day, I am not sure Margo and her crew know how much that 9 months I spent with them meant to not just me as an individual, founder and Executive Director but to Shadow Ranch as an organization.

Margo, Bruce, Dawn, Julia, Kim, Sarah, Debbie, Charlynn, Chris, Val, Ms. Francis and all the rest of the Windridge family, thank you.

Shadow Ranch is not Windridge, nor do we strive to be Windridge. We are our own unique family. But, bottom line? If it had not been for Windridge, there would be no Shadow Ranch.


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