Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch

Vice President Sheila Greaver (left) and CEO and President MG Tindall are in search of a new home for Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch after it suffered extensive flood damage.

Vice President Sheila Greaver (left) and CEO and President MG Tindall are in search of a new home for Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch after it suffered extensive flood damage.

Panther Creek Inspiration Ranch is in search of a new place to call home after repeated flooding forced the organization to evacuate its property 10 times in the past two years.

Inspiration Ranch, a local nonprofit that opened in The Woodlands in 2006, is a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International premier accredited center that provides equine therapy for children and young adults with special needs. 

During the spring floods that saturated Montgomery County earlier this year, the 15-acre ranch was submerged under 3-10 feet of floodwater. The organization was forced to stop lessons for eight weeks and is still recovering from flood damage months later.

“We’re looking for higher and dryer land, but we won’t go far—The Woodlands is home for us,” CEO and President MG Tindall said. “We’ll definitely stay in Montgomery County, but we’re looking to add additional land to enhance our programs. We’re excited about the potential this has for us.”

Although no location or time frame for the move has been identified, the nonprofit’s leaders said the transition will not affect riders.

The ranch has 67 riders with a range of 27 different diagnoses—everything from Attention Defecit Hyperactivity Disorder and autism to cerebral palsy and Down syndrome. The nonprofit also works with homeless youth and human trafficking victims through partnerships with Montgomery County Youth Services and Redeemed Ministries.

“There are many reasons why somebody might find themselves here; their story starts long before they reach our gates,” Vice President Sheila Greaver said.

Therapy details

The ranch maintains a rider-to-volunteer ratio of 1 to 4. With safety as the primary concern, the nonprofit relies on 150 volunteers each week.

“The walk and stride of a horse is the only thing that closely mimics or replicates the walk of a human,” Greaver said. “So when you’re trying to teach a child how to walk, [equine therapy] is a great way to engage muscle memory. It’s a perfect storm of opportunity and strength.”

Equine therapy also boasts sensory awareness, focus and engagement.

With only one horse allowed per acre of property, Inspiration Ranch is careful not to overwork its 15-horse herd. Ranch policy limits horses to three rides per day. By contrast, Path International allows horses to be ridden five times per day.

Due to the limitations of its property and the specialization of the organization’s service, Inspiration Ranch has a waitlist of 25 students that has seen prospective students wait from six to 18 months.

“We can’t keep up with the demand,” Tindall said. “The hardest part of what we do is telling families that they have to wait. It’s heartbreaking to tell someone, ‘This will help your child, but you have to wait to get in.’”

Tindall said she hopes the new location will eliminate or at least reduce the length of the waitlist. Inspiration Ranch officials also hope to open a family life center at the new location to serve as a source of support for families of riders.

Every time a rider gets in the saddle, it costs the nonprofit $215. However, through scholarships, sponsorships, grant funding and corporate partnerships, the maximum amount Inspiration Ranch charges a parent is $50.

“Each of our therapeutic riding instructors works diligently with the parents and the child’s doctor,” Greaver said. “Collectively, they all pull together and work through what the challenges are at home or what they’re struggling with at school—so we’re always working toward the next goal.”

By Hannah Zedaker

Editor, Spring/Klein & Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood

Hannah joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor of the Spring/Klein edition and later became the editor of both the Spring/Klein and Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood editions in June 2021. Hannah covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Hannah served as associate editor of The Houstonian, interned with Community Impact Newspaper and spent time writing for the Sam Houston State University College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and The Huntsville Item.