Mountain Mayhem: Hay Bale Ball |

Mountain Mayhem: Hay Bale Ball

May Selby

Karl Hanlon and Sheryl Barto founded Smiling Goat Ranch in Carbondale in 2015 with the goal to help humans heal through interactions with animals. The ranch’s clinically proven programs put people with neuropsychiatric conditions like PTSD, autism, anxiety and depression into a healing environment with service horses and small social animals. In just four years of equine-assisted therapy from the ranch, Smiling Goat has helped hundreds of children and adults.

Its summer fundraiser, The Hay Bale Ball, was held on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum in Aspen. Guests dined with the animals on crepes from Mawa’s Crepe Cart while sipping batched specialty cocktails from Marble Distillery. They also experienced sensory work on the horses, met the small, social therapy animals, including goats, dogs and bunnies, and heard testimonials from those who have been helped by their work such as Lt. Col. Dick Merritt and Claudia Cunningham. In addition to proceeds from the summer benefit, all program needs — including animal feed and care, supplies, and handlers — come from the generosity of donations and grants.

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