On a gorgeous Saturday evening in late August, Smiling Goat Ranch, founded in 2015 by Karl Hanlon and Sheryl Barto, held its first Hay Bale Ball at the Holden/Marolt Mining and Ranching Museum in Aspen. Guests dined on crepes from Mawa’s Crepe Cart, sipped batched specialty cocktails from Marble Distilling Company, and shimmied to live music, while also experiencing sensory work on the horses and meeting some of the other therapy animals, including adorable goats, dogs, and bunnies.
Over four years of equine-assisted therapy at its ranch just outside Carbondale, Smiling Goat has helped hundreds of children and adults. All program needs—including animal feed and care, supplies, and handlers— come from donations and grants, as well as volunteer assistance. The clinically proven program puts those with neuropsychiatric conditions like PTSD, autism, anxiety, and depression into a healing environment with service horses and small social animals.