BOERNE, Texas – A horse ranch in Boerne is changing the lives of thousands of people, one ride at a time.
For about four years, Dwaine Bergman has been coming to the Open T.R.A.I.L Ranch and over time, he has created a special bond with a horse there named Montana.
“He definitely has learned how to tack his horse, groom his horse,” Maggie Hoffman, a certified therapeutic riding instructor said.
Bergman’s horseback riding has also improved.
“When he first started, he had full volunteer support. So he had two side-walkers, a horse handler. He could barely even get on the horse by himself. But over the course of that three or four years, he is now riding all by himself,” Hoffman said.
For Bergman, it’s about spending time with Montana, and that makes his day extra special.
Bergman says his days are better when he is around Montana and that specifically is the goal of the 100-acre ranch that is located on 28710 Boerne Stage Road.
Executive Director Kate Vasquez said the ranch is a place to heal, grow and learn.
“Our facility helps everybody in our community with a special need, whether that be a physical disability, a mental health challenge that they’re going through, or a time in their life that they need extra support,” Vasquez said.
The nonprofit’s mission is to help people reach their highest potential, gain self-confidence and self-esteem through equine oriented activities.
The ranch has created an ADA accessible ramp and barns. Everything inside the barns is easily reached, including the light switches, stall doors and equipment.
“They are learning to ride. They are learning everything from getting their horse out of their stall to brushing them off and getting their take on and then getting on and performing riding skills so that they can become independent,” Vasquez said.
The ranch also offers equine-assisted learning sessions that consists of learning to connect with a horse through grooming, leading and much more.
For Bergman, he wants to continue learning and has big dreams.
“He talks about wanting to open up his own business. He wants to work here with us,” Hoffman said.
Open T.R.A.I.L Ranch is seeking volunteers, and no horse experience is necessary. They will provide training at the facility and they will be having a training session on Saturday, Oct. 22 at 9 a.m. For more information, click here.