In March of 2020, Mike and Valery Lozano of Steamboat Springs established Warhorse Ranch as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Warhorse Ranch is an equine-assisted therapy facility devoted to empowering veterans, first responders and victims of trauma who are affected by PTSD, anxiety and depression. Their board of directors is comprised of veterans, first responders, equine specialists, local therapists and trauma survivors. Warhorse Ranch is located approximately seventeen miles northwest of Steamboat Springs on a 35-acre historic ranch.
Programs will be based on the Eagala (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) model in which no riding is involved. Eagala is a global leader for equine-assisted psychotherapy and personal development. The model uses a team approach that includes a licensed, credentialed mental health professional, a qualified equine specialist, the client and horses all working together in the arena.
Valery has a degree in psychology, another in criminal justice and is diligently working on her master’s degree in forensic psychology. After working eleven years as a sworn federal law enforcement officer, she decided it was time to direct her energy toward something where she could help people through equine therapy. She will be working alongside local trauma therapists Roger Reynolds and Steve Walls. She is also Mike’s caregiver and mother of four children ages 3, 7, 14, and 15.
Mike is a 14-year, US Marine combat veteran and is currently awaiting medical retirement from the Air Force Reserve. After his 2003 deployment to Iraq, Mike found life difficult. It wasn’t until 2011 that he was diagnosed with having PTSD, anxiety and depression. In February 2019, he was diagnosed with having an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) on the right frontal lobe of his brain, which was removed by a craniotomy. Recovery from having brain surgery has introduced new obstacles, but are manageable.
During a Wounded Warrior Project Odyssey retreat in 2013, Mike discovered a new outlook on life through equine therapy. It was from this event during Mike’s recovery and Valery’s love of horses and lifelong passion for helping those in need, that the idea of Warhorse Ranch was born. Living with trauma and PTSD is nothing new at Warhorse Ranch.
Warhorse Ranch is currently in the funding phase, but plans to have its first retreats in the summer of 2021. In conjunction with equine therapy and collaboration with local outfitters, the retreats will give clients a mindful and memorable experience of what the mountain community of Steamboat Springs has to offer. Warhorse Ranch is set to kick off their first of many local fundraising events in Steamboat Springs entitled ‘Operation Warhorse’.
Warhorse Ranch is very fortunate to have had Alpine Bank set up their donation portal and also lend a helping hand in raising awareness in the community. Learn more: www.warhorseranch.org.