Nonprofit to manage, operate county park’s trail riding stable


Ben’s Ranch Foundation, a teenage mental and emotional health nonprofit, will manage and operate the trail riding stable at Strawtown Koteewi Park in Noblesville, the organization announced Dec. 14. The Hamilton County Parks & Recreation Department owns the park, which has several amenities.

Ben’s Ranch Foundation creates internships and small group programs on farms and stables for teenagers struggling with mental and emotional health issues, according to the organization. Through exposing the teenagers to physical labor, nature and animals, it helps them relieve stress, build confidence and learn new skills, complementing traditional therapies.

“The Koteewi facility will give Ben’s Ranch important capacity in the heart of our service territory and serve as a hub for our network of host facilities,” Executive Director of Ben’s Ranch Brose McVey stated. “The revenue we will generate by offering trail rides, pony rides and similar activities will help pay for this wonderful new asset. Our interns and small-group participants will be involved in all aspects of the operation including business management, horse care and facility maintenance. We are excited to partner with Hamilton County Parks to turn a popular amenity into something even more powerful to the community.”

Ben’s Ranch Foundation is based in central Indiana. McVey founded the organization in honor of his son, who suffered from mental illness and died unexpected at 24. The organization will continue to serve teens through partnerships with individual farms, stables and similar agricultural facilities while aiming to increase collaboration with area schools, it stated.

“Hamilton County Parks and Recreation is extremely pleased and fortunate to have Ben’s Ranch managing Koteewi Stable & Trails,” Hamilton County Parks Director Chris Stice stated. “Not only will the equine experiences they provide mesh well with those offered by our other Adventure Area operators at Strawtown Koteewi Park, but their compelling operational philosophy aligns closely with the mission of our parks department.”

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