CANNON FALLS — After Hurricane Irma hit Florida in 2017, Amanda and Ben Luther headed down to help. The couple came across a horse therapy farm and offered to help clean up.
Born out of that volunteering, a dream began.
Months after helping in Florida, the Luther’s purchased 22 acres of land in rural Cannon Falls where they established Quiet Waters Ranch, a horse therapy and giving garden to serve the community.
Amanda Luther said she learned a great deal in Florida about horse therapy. She continued her education in New Prague, but she also had grown up around horses and studied the subject while at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.
The farm is a work in progress, Luther said. They’ve been busy cleaning, renovating, and establishing their garden and horse therapy area. However, they’ve already been able to start helping the community.
According to Luther, the ranch takes in unwanted horses from around the country. Beau, for example, was labeled incurably lame and couldn’t walk correctly. Quiet Waters took in Beau and has helped him heal, watching him run like the wind again.
The horses aren’t sold once their healthy either. Luther said the goal is to only help them heal.
Having the chance to be around horses is a gift, according to Luther, saying teenagers and children with disabilities can learn a lot by being around them.
“I feel like they relate to that horse because they might have aspects in their life that they feel unwanted or unwanted or not useful,” Luther said. “Then they see and hear the stories of these horses and they really bond on a different level with them.”
There are only six horses on the ranch and the Luthers don’t want to expand at this time. Keeping the ranch at 33721 57th Avenue small is ideal.
Special Olympics has actually needed the services of Quiet Waters Ranch. In Special Olympics, there is an equestrian event in the fall and without the ranch, competitors wouldn’t have any other place to go.
Along with the horses, the Luthers are establishing a giving garden. The goal is to donate as much produce as possible to those in need. To help realize that goal, the Luthers contacted all of the food shelves in the area, asking what produce they need. On top of that, the ranch has a spot at the Cannon Falls Farmers Market, where they regularly ask what people want in the area.
Last year, Luther said they were able to donate a couple thousand pounds of produce to local food shelves. Eventually, Luther would like to donate 15,000 pounds of produce yearly to the area.
The produce can be found in the Hastings, Red Wing, Farmington, Northfield, and Cannon Falls food shelves, but can also be picked up outside the farm where they will leave produce outside for anyone to pick up. Eventually, Luther would like to wheel a cart into Cannon Falls on a daily basis and give away produce whenever she can.
So why help the community this much? What inspires the Luthers to give so much to an area they hadn’t even grown up in. Simply put, they just love it.
“I just think it’s an addiction to help people,” Luther said. “It feels good, doesn’t it? When we went for Hurricane Irma, we had lived in Florida, so we had a heart for the people down there too. But I was pregnant and I lost the baby, and I was going through all of these emotions as everybody does when that happens. I was just sitting there thinking, how can I use this negative experience in life and go out and bless others and that will in turn make me feel better? And it did.”
Now she gets to pass on that experience to the community, but also her three children. Getting the chance to see the looks on her kids faces when they donate or help others is an incredible experience.
The Luthers have three children: Nolan, 4, Lilah, 3, and Merik, 8 months old.
While the ranch is a work in progress, Luther said she hopes this can be a place people can come to for worship, enjoying the outdoors and pick a veggie or two.
The ranch is always looking for volunteers and mentors on the farm. If interested contact the family through their Facebook page.