Equine Welfare Network Messenger

We are a 2016 Messenger!

We are proud to be an EQUUS Foundation Messenger and share our horse care & use practices with the public.

The Messenger Designation is awarded annually. To retain an existing EQUUS Foundation Messenger designation and apply for an EQUUS Foundation grant in 2017, organizations must provide all required information and update their Messenger information on or after January 1, 2017 and not later than April 30, 2017.

Messengers are organizations on the Equine Welfare Network that demonstrate a commitment to public transparency and accountability by their willingness to publish and share extensive data about their operations.

Click here to learn more about our horse care and use practices.

Nighthawk Ranch, LLC

Nighthawk Ranch, LLC
12150 W. 44th Ave., Suite 203
Wheat Ridge CO 80033

Tax ID/EIN: 45-2638184
Year Founded: 2012
Last Updated 2017-04-17

Public Charity

View our WEBSITE


Primary Focus involving horses (Horse Welfare, Public Service, Sport & Recreation):  Public Service

Our organization operates programs involved with providing equine assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) using certified instructors for individuals with special needs.

Our organization utilizes another organization or organization(s) with direct responsibility for the care of horses to provide its services.

50% of our total programs and services are horse-related.

Our organization conducts its horse-related programs at one facility.

Our organization operates programs involved with horses and other animals.

Our Mission/How we are involved with horses:
The mission of Nighthawk Ranch is to provide a safe, healing environment for 10-18 year olds recovering from cancer with the goal of increasing self-esteem and hope for the future. Every camper is assigned a horse for the duration of camp and learns to assist with the care of the horse including feeding, grooming and riding. Our team believes that human-animal relationships cultivate confidence, kindness, patience and teamwork.

Horse-related programs:
The Equine Therapy Program at Nighthawk Ranch involves the use of wild horses (BLM Mustangs). The (BLM, Bureau of Land Management) is tasked with managing our nations grasslands, and protecting the wild horse and burro herds that live there. According to the reports from the BLM they have over populated the land and need to be removed. The big problem is, where do they go? These horses were captured out of the wild, untouched by any human, and trained by Justin Dunn. He trained them for 90 days and they successfully competed in a Mustang Makeover held by the Mustang Heritage Foundation. The horses then went through a public auction and were adopted by Justin. One of the wild horses, Remington, is adopted and owned by the Founder and Owner Of Nighthawk Ranch, Tom Evans. The horses then completed the required specialized training and were introduced into the program at Nighthawk Ranch. These horses lives were in jeopardy before they were adopted and used in the Equine Therapy Program. Many of the BLM horses are rounded up and never adopted. Some horses are sent to slaughter, some are sent to long term holding, and some are held in holding corrals for 2-3 years before being adopted. If the horses are adopted, and for whatever reason do not work out for the adopter, they come back and are sent to long term holding. The Nighthawk Ranch Equine Therapy Program has successfully used wild horses for 4 seasons, and will continue to add more as needed. The funding will help to make this possible.<br/> <br/> Justin's training methods surpass the ethics, treatment, and philosophies of traditional methods. He is passionate about the horses and does not use bits in the horse's mouths, spurs on his boots, or horseshoes on the hooves of the horses. His beliefs are to keep the horses as natural as possible and to treat them as we would want to be treated if the roles were reversed. It is important to establish trust and earn the right to be the leader to the horse. This is taught to the children, and they understand the importance of treating the horses and other animals with respect, care, and love.<br/> <br/>In the Nighthawk Ranch Equine Therapy Program the campers are introduced to the horses on Monday. The children are taught handling and conditioning responsibilities. This includes moving around their assigned horse safely, proper grooming, and care. They are taught the history of the wild Mustang, and a BLM representative comes out to help with the educational side of that program. As the week progresses, the children learn to become the leader of their horse. They understand what is expected of a leader, and why it is important to a wild horses survival, to have a good leader. This is also taught to the children, that in life no matter what has happened to them, they can be leaders. In the middle of the week, the children are riding their horses. They will start out in the arena, with various obstacle courses and listening games. This will ensure that they can communicate with their horses, and that they are comfortable and confident to ride them out on a trail ride. After a few trail rides out on the ranch, and they have proven to be able to communicate and guide their horses on trail, we do a cattle drive across the ranch on Friday. This program has and will continue to give these children a sense of accomplishment. It will bring out something in them they may not have ever known they possessed, which is the ability to learn, connect, grow, experience and overcome something that may have thought just an idea or a dream. Some have made comments that they thought things like this were only in movies, and never thought they would do something like this.<br/> <br/>In summary, Nighthawk Ranch provides a unique opportunity for children with cancer to be exposed to the ranching lifestyle. It is a place where wild horses are given an opportunity to live out a peaceful life and children are given an experience that will connect them with nature. We get to save wild horses, and provide the opportunity for them give something we as humans could never give, the horse-human connection. It is wonderful to see the children come out to the ranch, and on the first day, in the first 5 minutes, bond so well with horses. This seems to be the one key to unlock their apprehensions and bring out something in them so bright and exciting. Most of these children have had it rough, and some have sank into a low in their lives. This ranch lifts them to a new high, and helps them see another side of life they may not have ever known. This is a powerful program, and with proper nurturing, support and funding, it will continue to grow and help many more children in the future.

Non-horse-related programs:
Many camps for kids with cancer are available all over the country, each offering water sports, ropes courses, archery, arts and crafts, and other camp-like activities. And these are all great and we have them too! We also spend a night camping under the stars where you can enjoy the tradition of s'mores and stories. Campers can try their hand at building a log cabin. Nighthawk Ranch also offers a great music program featuring outstanding talents and there are lots of instruments to play.

As the sun rises, Nighthawk Ranch is already bustling with activity as the goats, cows and horses wait to be fed. Our campers awaken early, enjoy a quick snack (breakfast comes after the animals are fed) and then turn their energy and attention toward a day that will be packed with ranch projects and horsemanship sessions. Our horse trainer, Justin Dunn, is well known for training horses and in particular for training mustangs. He builds relationship with the animals and rides bitless, spurless, and shoeless. Justin carefully pairs each camper with their horse for the week and then moves on to teach them about relating to their horse. A camper can put aside his or her own troubles in the immediate job of caring for the horse. Horses are large and strong, which challenges a person to overcome his fear in order to work with the animal. Horses mirror moods, too; they respond negatively to negative emotions, teaching the camper that his behavior can affect others, and making it necessary to modify behavior in order to work successfully with the animal.
The Equine Program is not only one of the most unique aspects of Nighthawk Ranch but it is also one of the most favorite, according to campers. Not only are the campers receiving educational information about the horses, they are also learning practical applications such as how to groom, feed and ride a horse. The mustangs at Nighthawk Ranch come from a Wild Horse status and once trained by Mr. Dunn, they are safe for campers to ride. Nighthawk Ranch is committed to caring for these animals and we hope to pass our passion for horses onto our campers.

Other animals involved in our program include goats,dogs, cats and cattle.

Volunteer Opportunities

Camp Volunteer
Minimum Age: 18
Volunteers at Nighthawk Ranch do more than just carry out tasks. They are an integral part of our philosophy. Nighthawk Ranch was created to provide a safe and supportive environment for kids in the final stages of cancer or kids who are out of treatment. We know that a big part of that positive environment is provided by the volunteers.
Nighthawk Ranch is looking for the following qualities in our volunteers: responsible, playful, out-going, positive, encouraging, confident, kind, young (or young at heart), adaptable, creative, and optimistic.

Summer Camp Volunteer
Minimum Age: 18
Nighthawk Ranch is looking for volunteers to serve children with cancer. We are a summer camp whose mission is the provide a safe, healing environment for children 10-18 years old recovering from cancer with goal of increasing self-esteem and hope for the future. Nighthawk Ranch has an Equine Program that assists with our mission along with a ropes course, archery, building a log cabin and other camp-like activities. Camp sessions last for one week periods of time.

Wish List Items

There are no wish list items posted at this time