Sonja Olshove Memorial Fund
Sonja Kristen Olshove
July 5, 1967 – September 4, 2016
The Traverse City Central, Class of 1985, has initiated a memorial fund at PEACE Ranch to commemorate their friend and classmate Sonja Olshove.
“Sonya was a tenderhearted, warm and generous person who left a lasting impression of kindness compassion on everyone she met. She was a wonderful wife to Keith and wonderful mom to Kiersten and her step-children Jade and Jared. She loved them with all her heart and it showed every day. Sonja sits alongside Jesus now and we will miss her immensely.
Sonja received her A.A. degree from NMC in 1987, her B.A. from MSU in 1989, and received her Master’s Degree in social psychology from Wake Forest University in 1991. She followed in her dad’s footsteps and taught at NMC for 25 years. She had a passion for teaching and loved her students and her colleagues. Sonja won the Imogene Wise Faculty Excellence award in 2001 and 2013. Recipients are chosen by a student selection committee, award criteria includes teaching excellence, rapport with students, innovation in the classroom and a sense of dedication.”
As a master in teaching innovation, Sonja appreciated the impact of equine assisted psychotherapy and learning. She pursued opportunities for her NMC students to engage in equine assisted learning, attended Hug & Groom, and her daughter Kiersten took part in NMC’s College for Kids at PEACE Ranch.
PEACE Ranch is a non-profit organization founded to provide Professional Equine Assisted Counseling and Educational services for all who are struggling and has pioneered the clinical, experiential, EAGALA Model in the Grand Traverse region. This model is used worldwide as an effective intervention is especially helpful for people who experience traumatic circumstances. All services at PEACE Ranch are provided by licensed professionals and hundreds of hours of therapy are donated each year for children in crisis and Veterans. The donation of PEACE services are made possible through private donors, business sponsorship, fundraising efforts, and scholarships.
In memory of their friend, classmate, and colleague, the TCC Class of 85 has initiated a fund with seed monies of $2000 to provide:
- An opportunity for Kiersten Olshove to access any and all PEACE Ranch services as a means of learning, growth, and healing.
- An opportunity for Kiersten Olshove to become a PEACE Horse Sponsor
Their desire is that their seed grow and continue to honor all Sonja believed both professionally and personally for many years. For this purpose, friends, family, and community members are invited to donate to the Sonja Olshove Memorial Fund which has been established to:
- Provide Equine Assisted Counseling for children processing grief after the loss of a loved one
- Provide Equine Assisted Learning opportunities for NMC classes.
Contributions to the Sonja Olshove Memorial Fund can be made by check to:
2570 Hoosier Valley Rd.
Traverse City, MI 49685
PEACE Ranch is a legal outreach of Paraklesis Inc., a 501c3 charitable organization. Annual income and expenditures will be listed on the Paraklesis Inc. 501c3 990, and semiannually to the TCC fund founders and the Olshove family.
This effort has been approved by the Olshove Family. For more information:
PEACE Ranch Executive Director
Traverse City, MI (August 1, 2016) – PEACE Ranch is proud to announce that on September 1, 2016, Kaitlyn Grangood will become the new Program Director at PEACE Ranch. The new position represents significant organizational growth and our commitment to the greater Grand Traverse community to provide Professional Equine Assisted Counseling and Education for all in need.
Kaitlyn Grangood was born and raised in Petoskey, MI. Her teenage years were spent riding and showing horses at open shows, and she was an active member of her local 4-H Club for over ten years. Kaitlyn earned a BA in Psychology from Oakland University and a Masters in Social Work from Grand Valley State University. Kaitlyn has also been recognized for her commitment to community service devoting countless hours to programs serving at-risk youth. A Northern Michigan native, Kaitlyn spends her free time outdoors hiking, kayaking, or riding her horse, Lucy. Combining her passion for horses with her compassion for people has always been Kaitlyn’s life goal. Kaitlyn recently completed her final internship completing her MSW requirements and will begin her new career at PEACE September 1.
PEACE Ranch is a legal outreach of Parakleis Inc, a 501c3 charitable organization. Rescue horses rehabilitated at the ranch are part of a unique clinical therapy team that helps humans heal from trauma caused by abuse, neglect, conflict, pain and grief. Ranch founders Paul & Jackie Kaschel are longtime residents of Traverse City who, responding to a regional need in 1990, founded Forest Lakes Counseling where Paul, a limited licensed Psychologist continues provide professional Christian counseling services for people regardless of their ability to pay. The Kaschels became pioneers of experiential, Equine Assisted Psychotherapy using the EAGALA Model in the Grand Traverse region after adopting 3 traumatized children in 1995 who were unable to be helped through traditional counseling. EAGALA is a clinical model used worldwide as an effective intervention to address a broad range of emotional, psychological, and personal growth issues but is especially helpful in addressing the needs of people who endured extreme trauma or abuse. PEACE Ranch currently donates 25 hours weekly for children and families in crisis and Veterans with Military trauma. These services are made possible through private donors, business sponsorships, and fundraising efforts.
For more information visit www.peaceranchtc.com, find us on Facebook, or call (231) 499-4736.
It takes a village.
The Realities of Rescue.
Sandy, a 17 h Belgian mare came to PEACE Ranch from a meat lot sale in Louisiana, February 2016. We were told she had been purchased from the sale, vet checked and confirmed in foal but that the lady decided not to take her because she was to old. We brought her to PEACE with Lily, who we were told came to the sale with Canadian PMU mares being sent to slaughter. We took Sandy sort of on the fly but since it is healthier for a foal to be raised with another foal we thought it worthwhile.
Lily had her foal last week and after doing some research on her branded left hip, we’ve concluded she is originally from a professional rodeo company in Wyoming. Yesterday, the vet was here to check Sandy and discovered she in not in foal and is likely a maiden mare. These are the realities of rescue. Things are never as they seem and although we want to believe differently, kill pen sellers are trying to make the most of what they have to sell. and the meat buyers offer represent the bottom of the barrel. Fortunately for Sandy she came to a place that could assess her health and her needs to make a better plan for her life. Other horses are not so lucky and end up going from one bad situation to the next.
What does this mean for Sandy? It’s her lucky day. She is healthy and has many more good years ahead. We will work on continuing to improve her physical condition and assess her riding and driving skills. However, she will need more daily care than the ranch can provide long term as she is unable to survive solely on hay. So, in May, we will begin to look for a forever home for Sandy. Stay tuned–
Lily is approximately 15 years old, middle age for a horse. She is a lovely white mare whose mane is full of burrs and body is soiled with the remnants of a difficult journey. Lily walks with significant pain and stiffness which at this time is unevaluated. She came emaciated, pregnant and terrified, her arrival at the ranch an intervention in what was meant to be the last leg of her journey to slaughter. Coming to PEACE—food, shelter, comfort, care, all she could possibly need for life and that of her unborn foal, yet she resisted all contact and even food, shackled by a need which trumps all others.
The need which trumps all others is one often expressed, though indirectly, but rarely understood. It is given much attention by country, county, neighborhood and family yet most consistently violated. It’s at the heart of congressional bills, municipal services, and family dynamics. Safety– it seems simple enough yet we have witnessed both horse and human whose experiences have caused the very fabric of their being to be unwound and frayed so much that there is no longer a place or person that feels “safe”. It is a dark place where bearings have been lost beyond retrieval. It drives brave men to take their lives and starved pregnant mares to refuse food.
Safety is a primal instinct of preservation which connects all of us. Fight, flight, or freeze is governed in the brain in a place deeper than thought which when triggered, sets off a number of automated responses. When this button is pressed too many times or becomes stuck ON, basic processing codes begin to change such that the body is kept in a constant state of alert. The constant state of being ON is exhausting in every way making everything much more difficult. Help is hard to find and healing elusive; Even when the danger is long past, it feels very present.
Addressing this issue with horses and humans at the ranch begins naturally with emphasis on basics: breathing, moving, with no expectations or pressure. We take our cues from and seek to understand their definition of pressure. Mostly we do not understand but we can recognize via body language and responding accordingly to make things as comfortable as possible.
Lily doesn’t trust anyone to handle her in any way so creating an environment that will be best for her to heal and for her coming foal is a priority. There will be no ability to perform any heroic acts should there be a problem foaling. Learning and respecting her boundaries is the best we can do right now. For Lily this means no touching, no haltering, no going to close and the willingness to wait and learn what it will take her to come near—to the food not the humans right now. Taking pause to examine the motivation behind and change in direction is imperative to stay on track for the ultimate goal which is: For Lily to feel safe.
Feeling safe or regulation is the primary focus and governor our current approach for all the traumatized who come to PEACE Ranch. We cannot convince Lily, or anyone for that matter, that she is safe but we can hold the space for her while she figures it out.
The following is an email written by Yours Truly to a trusted friend in the Morgan Horse world regarding a rescue situation I was involved in.
October 24, 2010
I have a question and since you are my most knowledgeable Morgan breeding friend, I thought I’d ask you.
Recently, there was a rescue from a Morgan breeding farm in Lapeer, Mi. The farm specialized in old blood lines. Two of the mares with foals by their sides and a young stallion were transported up to the rescue we deal with. Since they know I am a Morgan lover, they called me. I ended up taking one of the mares. She had a nursing filly (5 months old?) and was heavy in foal (probably the mare was bred during her foal heat). They took the filly off the mare and she was seen by vet and dentist today. She was very thin when they brought her up but she’s looking better now. She has been confirmed for an April/May foal.
I believe this mare to be Alert Ash Vin Bianca http://www.allbreedpedigree.com/alert+ash+vin+bianca a 1992, liver chestnut mare. She is registered to the woman from whom she was taken and with a DNA kit, I think the AMHA will transfer the registration to me. Here is my question. The woman had a number of stallions on her farm AND was known to have purchased semen. If, when the foal is born, I send in a DNA sample, will they be able to identify the sire if he is in the registry?
I really don’t need the mare. She is quiet and very sweet. I only took her because I felt in her condition, thin, pregnant and older; going into winter that she would be hard to place. My heart went out to her. The filly she had was lovely and I expect her next foal will be very nice. Don’t need a foal either, just have a soft spot for them–I know you get it. My plan is to try to get the whole registration thing figured out. Get the foal safely born and weaned and then decide what to do with them. I don’t imagine keeping the foal. The mare might make a great therapy horse.
That beautiful gentle mare that we lovingly nicknamed “Ali” was with us only 60 days before she and her unborn foal died of a colic and twisted gut. It was our first equine death at the ranch and by far the most traumatic animal death I ever witnessed. A friend came and dug the whole to bury her and it took a long time to process.
Fast forward October 2, 2015. PEACE Ranch hosted a class from NMC of beginning Social Work students. While the group was here, a woman began to tell me about a horse that she needed to place a young horse that she had gotten for her daughter who was now grown and attending the class that was visiting the ranch. She began to tell me the story of this Morgan mare which she had gotten around 5 years earlier from a rescue as a weanling. She had come in with several Morgan horses and had learned later that the filly’s mother had died……………..
Suddenly the story sounded very familiar and sure enough, her young mare is the filly who was weaned from that lovely mare 5 years ago. She is at PEACE now, and her name is appropriate as it seems we have a date with “Destiny”.