In my entire riding career, I have never come across an establishment as respectable and effective as the Square Peg Foundation. The facility is nestled in Half Moon Bay, and can best be described for its aesthetic value by the term "breathtaking". Each rescue horse at the ranch has a unique and wonderful disposition. I would accredit their friendliness to the fact that these horses are simply happy; happy to work, to serve, and to be in the care of the Square Peg staff. What is most phenomenal about these horses having such fantastic dispositions is that many of them have faced tremendous adversity prior to their arrival at Square Peg. I suppose the dark histories of many of these rescue horses are an inspiration to the students; many of whom have faced adverse life circumstances of their own. These children come from all walks of life, and despite the variation between the circumstances, personal characteristics, and physical characteristics of each child, they all fit in at the Square Peg Foundation. I fear that my review will not do the foundation nearly enough justice. One would have to experience a day at the ranch and see for themselves how palpable the love and positive energy is here.
I’m Max, i am 17 years old and I’ve been hanging out with the people and animals at Square Peg since I was five. I learned to ride during the very first Square Peg summer camps. But Joell, Greg and Sigourney didn’t just teach me to ride.
They made sure I also learned responsibility, That if we don’t care for the animals they won’t care for us. Over the years I’ve learned to get the horse out of the barn, to groom the horse, saddle the horse, bridle the horse, tie up the horse, untack the horse, groom the horse again. I’ve also learned how to do many necessary if not elegant chores such as cleaning stalls, feeding the horses, filling water buckets, and countless other important tasks. I have learned more life lessons at Square Peg then everywhere else i have ever been combined times 10 I will always as long as i live be doing everything i can to help this amazingly wonderful organization/place/second home for me and many others.
I am a 14 year old volunteer and I have been with Joell since I was 7 or 8. This place is like my second home. I take a lesson once a week, and I LOVE it. During the summer I usually help with the summer camps and that's super fun too. The kids are sweet and I really love the learning aspect and how excited they get to ride. Joell, Greg, and Sigourney are amazing people who are great teachers and riders too. The horses are definitely amazing, the barn pets are sweet, and the kids obviously love to be there. What I love the most is the on-hands learning. At other stables barn chores are dismissed and let for others to deal with. Here, every aspect of being at a barn are learned (barn chores, feeding, medical, tack, cleaning, safety etc.) I love this place and its amazing!!!! It makes a huge difference in my life and I know it makes an even bigger impact in the kids lives :)
Your time and money show immediate results. Joell Dunlop provides a sanctuary for kids with special needs and unwanted horses. At first glance, Square Pegs is a small coastside riding facility, but dig a bit deeper and you'll see so much more. Some of the kids shoveling stalls or sweeping up are 'at-risk' kids getting their first chance to enjoy the outdoors and bond with large animals. Some of them are 'special needs' kids who would never get the chance to ride in any other environment. Some are kids just out for a riding lesson. You can't always tell by looking or talking to them, and they all get the same patient and caring attention. It's truly a unique environment and I learn to be a better person every single time I'm out there.
Through the wonderful support and enthusiasm of Joell,Chris and their entire crew at Square Pegs, we were able to place a few of our students at this marvelous establishmet we called a "job site." Our program provides students with disabilities an opportunity to learn about different career options during their youthful high school years. A few of our students expressed their interests in working with horses as well as wanting to work in the outdoors. What a better place to train them but at Square Pegs!! Joell,Chris and their "patient" staff, had welcomed us with open arms and gave everyone the opportunity to learn about ranch life as well as the ability to bond with such a beautiful animal. Their entire family has made everyone feel like they are at home. What a lovely setting it is to call "home!" A few of our graduates still talk about their experience at the ranch and always ask how everyone is doing. They truly have the right motto,"Everyone Fits!" Thank you Square Pegs for your graciousness and ongoing support!
My daughters have been volunteering at Square Peg Ranch for about six months and it has been a delightful experience as well as an invaluable learning opportunity. Joell's horses are always treated with loving kindness and it shows. After a few ground rules and common sense pointers were learned I have always felt that my girls were safe around these large animals. Because they are so well cared for, they respond in kind. In addition, learning what it takes to maintain a farm has been a privilege, hard work ( good for body and soul ) and a ton of fun. With horses, dogs, cats, and goats, Joell's place is the worlds best petting zoo, where you will also meet the nicest and smartest people around.
I was attracted to Square Pegs because of their slogan "Everyone Fits". Even me? A horse crazy middle-aged woman? Yes, even me! I found wonderful ways to volunteer with the organization that brought me into close contact with the animals I so love. Joell Dunlap is a force of nature... and it is a beautiful thing to watch the compassionate way she works with kids and animals. Square Pegs is an oasis of kindness in our sometimes indifferent world.
Few times in life are you honored to meet truly special people that work tirelessly to change the lives of others. I have met those people recently. I have been looking for a chance to work with animals and special needs children for a while now.I have found that in a small ranch in Half Moon Bay where injured horses and challenged children come together to create a second chance for everyone. Under the supervision of the deciated and loving hand of Joell Dunlap.I have learned new lessons on compassion.Joell and her team have saved the lives of so many horses that were written off to injury, age, or thought not to be of any use anymore. I have fell in love with the horses spirit, their stories and learned the healing qualities of the giant gentle creatures. As they run through the open pastures with renewed joy or kick up their heals in mischievous bliss. I am forever grateful for being present on the ranch and being able to be a part of the moments that inspire the spirit in all of us. I am honored for my time as a volunteer at Square Pegs
What Square Peg has done for my daughter Sarah and her sister Rachel is beyond words! Sarah's face lights up at the thought of working with the horses and alongside Greg, Sigourney and Joell! Their encouragement and guidance is helping her to feel more confident in ALL she does, at the ranch and beyond! The time with the horses is magical. She asks to ride frequently but is just as happy to work and play with the horses and goats and "Sissy" and all the cats! We can't thank you enough!
I volunteered here for about six months, and while there, I had such a wonderful experience! It was a lot of fun to meet the people and work with the horses. This organization does some really awesome things and is a fantastic place to get involved with. It's NOT a waste of time when you're volunteering, because there's always something to learn and do. Plus, if you're tired or sick, they don't get mad that you can't work. They value whatever you can give them, no matter how big or small. I loved every minute of it, and hope that they stick around for a long time, because what they do makes a huge difference to a lot of people.