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29659 Grandifloras Road (mail)
Canyon Country, CA 91387

Nancy Pitchford-Zhe


(by appointment only)

Providing equine-assisted therapy to our Nation's Veterans who are taxed with anger, anxiety, nightmares, sleep problems, coping skills, or difficulty communicating in the civilian world. Come by for a meet-and-greet, a cup of coffee, and chat with other Vets. Services are free to Veterans, their Spouse and their Children.

Offering therapy for war veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the mission of Blue Star Ranch. After years of research by medical experts, the general public has come to realize the gravity of PTSD and the need for therapy and recovery solutions, particularly for war veterans and their families.

Blue Star Ranch is a charity that utilizes horses to rehabilitate suffering war veterans. The purpose is to provide a mechanism which is unique, distinct and effective and heals the pains and wounds of the soldiers. It is meant to help individuals and their families and get back into a normal civilian lifestyle as smoothly as possible.

The use of horses for PTSD is a method to engage the veterans outside of the clinic and medical environment. Under the supervision of a counselor or other mental health professional, combined with an equine specialist, the veteran and his/her spouse are paired with a horse. This is a lively method of treating the soldiers by engaging them in a healthy activity, while not always giving the impression they are in a form of therapy.

This Article Appeared In The Santa Clarita Magazine - January 2020 Issue

Photo: L-R, Manny-Jack-Mike





They are trained to sacrifice themselves for us on the home front. They do it with patriotism and pride in our country and way of life. They do it for their families and all American families. Yet many civilians treat them like the enemy, even though they (the civilians) do not know why.


Spouses know that the person that left to protect our country was their beloved family member. And they spend hours praying their loved one will return to reunite with them. When they do there is great joy and celebration. This can last for several weeks or months, until the spouse realizes that the person who came home was not the person who left. They don't understand why they cannot communicate with their spouse. They don't understand the things that are happening every day. So, I am going to attempt to give you a little peek into the life of our PTSD veterans.


In the military, training is all important. The chain of command is all important. Why? It is the safest way to go into battle. So, you are now a soldier. You will long for home and your loved ones, and then suddenly you are under attack. You switch gears, you are now a team member responsible for each other's lives. You have to have your buddies back and they have to have yours. We watch these battles play out in movies and tv shows. We are so hardened to these images that we have no real understanding as to how this affects soldiers.


Once home, these soldiers still face the biggest battle of their lives. Adjusting to civilian life. First, soldiers don't complain about their conditions. They try to protect their loved ones from the horror they experienced. They don't want to talk about what happened. They don't want to relive what went down. And, they

have no control over their reactions to certain stimuli such as; helicopters overhead, backfires (can sound like gunfire), constantly searching the mountain sides for the enemy. Not being able to sleep, not until they become so exhausted that they will fall asleep (and when they do it is a very deep sleep). Nightmares, yes nightmares. And spouses feel so helpless as to what to do to help their loved one. So, they try to wake them up to reassure them. The result? You may wind up on the floor. Waking up in this manner will cause a reaction. Can you see where all this is leading to regarding spousal relations? Can you understand why their is such a high suicide and divorce rate among these families?


Tip: If your veteran is having a nightmare, get out of the bed. Get a distance from the bed, they may wake up swinging. Call their name gently, keep calling it until they wake up. From your distance reassure them everything is okay.


Let me give you a few examples of how living with PTSD is expressed by veterans in daily life. "I went to a birthday party with my wife and kids. When i started meeting people there all I could focus on was what kind of shoes is that guy wearing (friend or foe, combative or not), does he have a gun in his belt?"

This is an example of hyper-vigilance. Soldiers (men and women), are always "at the ready" even in a downtime situation. A lack of sleep (sleeping problems) = exhaustion. When you are in a state of exhaustion any trigger can induce an outburst. Example, a helicopter overhead, a person cuts you off on the freeway. Most veterans prefer to shop very early in the morning or late at night, because they are very uncomfortable in crowds. Can you imagine why?


Soldiers want to be with other soldiers, but here is the thing. Even when together they don't want to talk about deployment experiences. They just want to hang with their buddies who have their back. It feels safe.



Our WISH LIST is for volunteers who are adept at: online fundraising, social media and grant writing, as well as, corporate support and donor base building. In addition, we need ranch volunteers who love horses, and enjoy grooming, preparing horses special lunches, feeding them and attending to their needs. Perfect opportunity to learn about horses and their care.


AND PLEASE SAVE THE DATE FOR THE Blue Star Ranch Polo Expo Fundraiser for Veterans in May 2020 on Armed Forces Day.




A Site Visit from one of our sponsors is always welcome. Pictured here is L-R Claudia Lopez (Lockheed-Martin Palmdale Rep), Nancy Zhe, and Lockheed Visitor from Texas, and Therapy Mini Donkey "Sammy". Now that we have moved to our new site they will have to visit again! So we will be planning a spring OPEN HOUSE for all of our supporters, and new community visitors.



  • Nutrena Corporation

  • Linda I. Smith Foundation

  • Morgan Stanley Gift Fund

  • Summit West Public Relations

  • Valencia Blues & Jazz Concerts

THANKS to DENNIS at L.A. Golf Cars and our Los Angeles County Regional Office donation of $1,000 we now have our long awaited Golf Cart for the ranch. Board Member Jane Del Vecho welcomes Dennis and golf cart on delivery day!

Golf Carts are expensive items and are worth their weight in gold to us at the ranch! You have no idea how many steps it saves us in making our jobs easier! Thanks to the combined efforts of Los Angeles County Office and Dennis owner of L.A. Golf Cars efforts this long time dream has come true!




(Desert Haven Mission is to develop, enhance and promote the capabilities of persons with developmentally disabilities.

We welcome the crew L-R Julian, Kristy (Job Coach), Nancy and Christopher.

AND WELCOME NEW VOLUNTEERS; Angie, Stacy, Mike. And welcome back Joan Marth, after her recovery from a dislocated shoulder!

No more chasing the puppy Joan!



We love our new ranch location. It has given us the chance to grow and add two more therapy horses. Our horses love their new accommodations, are now taking sun baths and naps in their stalls. The barn is draining well, and still have some stuff to get up. Round Pen for one so we can start veteran sessions up.

The move was a big undertaking, but well worth it! Thanks to everybody who helped with the move.

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