JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - On Saturday, Diego Ranch hosted a Halloween fundraising party.
By Monday, the equine-assisted therapy program announced it was shutting its barn doors. But only temporarily.
Diego Ranch leased the property they were located on. The owners recently decided to sell the property, forcing them to leave.
The nonprofit organization stated in an email to Region 8 News:
With over 300 students in our program and another 250 from other groups wanting to come out, we are shutting down for a little bit to better focus on obtaining property and building a facility to better serve our community. We have outgrown where we were at and really we need to build a facility that can safely handle the different disabilities Diego Ranch works with.
For several years, the ranch has served adults and children with physical and developmental challenges, including those struggling with PTSD, ADD/ADHD, autism, and depression.
President of Diego Ranch Michael Jackson says the closing is a good thing.
“We have over 320 people in our program right now," he said. “To better serve our community, we need a larger facility.”
Jackson says he plans on purchasing a new property with better facilities, including the building materials and dirt.
A fabric building will allow natural light into the arena, he said. This will ensure autistic students aren’t distracted by florescent lights and can focus on their equine therapy.
Plus, the fabric will allow the inside to be 20 degrees cooler in the summer and 20 degrees warmer in the summer.
The dirt will be better quality than what they’ve used in the past, ensuring no respiratory problems from the students or the horses.
Neither the property nor the building has been bought or built. The non-profit plans to release more information on their new facilities Nov. 16 at their next fundraiser.
“We need all the help we can get,” Jackson told Region 8 News earlier this year. “It’s a program that actually, truly works.”
For more information about the ranch or to make a donation click here or call 870-919-0003.