Touching Moments Animal Assisted Activities program was founded in 2006 with the idea stemming from a confirmation project that required an act of kindness be performed. The program’s founding family were aware of the benefits of pet therapy and felt there was a need in Houston County for such a program. The first pet therapy visit conducted was at the La Crescent Golden Living Care facility and included the family’s cat Noah, a domestic gray tiger strip cat who was adopted from La Crescent Animal Rescue. Soon after, Touching Moments joined the La Crescent Area Healthy Community Partnership group as a partner program. Since the program’s conception, several additional therapy pet handler teams have joined the program and visits have expanded to include several communities in Houston County and the surrounding area.
It all started with the love of horses and wanting to share this magnificent animal with others. Windy Ridge Ranch was established in 2007 when American Bashkir Curly horse Storm joined the Ellingson family. Growing up around horses, Shelley Ellingson knew that spending time with horses brought a sense of peace and connection with the natural world. Shortly after attending a fundraiser and being introduced to therapeutic riding by a friend, Ellingson pursued the idea of implementing a riding program and began her research. With much help from friends in the industry, in 2012 Windy Ridge Ranch Therapeutic Riding Center was presented and eventually joined the La Crescent Area Healthy Community Partnership group as a partner program becoming a non profit organization. Today, WRRTRC is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International center member and offers seasonal lessons to residents in Houston County and surrounding communities. The program is growing with plans to expand the offerings to include youth development and youth at risk programs along with a reading program called Books at the Barn.
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