Copperhead Road, Ottumwa, IA 52501

(641) 799-8347

Victory Ranch

Welcome to Victory Ranch in Ottumwa, IA

Hearts & Horses

When Loss Happens


The purpose of the Hearts & Horses Program is to bring joy and healing to children, youth and families. Horses can help children heal and find hope. They mirror their feelings because they are always in the moment and in tune to their body language, making them good teachers and friends.


We reach out to children and youth ages 7 - 18 (ranchers) who are experiencing grief or loss from situations such as: Divorce, death, chronic illness, deployment, or abandonment.

Ranchers are scheduled for sessions throughout the summer. Each session includes one leader, one rancher and a horse. 

The rancher will learn to develop a relationship with the horse on the ground through basic horsemanship skills. Later, ranchers are given an opportunity to ride a horse of their choice!


During program activities, ranchers have the full attention of the leader.  They will do ranch work together and work with the horses.  As ranchers have fun in their horse session, they also learn skills that enable them to better communicate, care for others, trust and respect others and themselves through the gift of horses..


Hearts & Horses Details:



Our ranchers are children and youth ages 7-18 years old who experience loss related to: Break up of family, severe health issues of a loved one, loss or impending loss of a loved one. 


Ranchers receive up to 5 sessions throughout the program season. Each session includes one leader, one rancher and a horse. The session lasts approximately 1 hour. 

Horsemanship Skills Sessions 1-3:

  • Horse grooming, yard/ranch work. 
  • Safety skills.
  • Catching in pasture. 
  • Groundwork and boundaries.
  • Leading over obstacles.

Horseman Ship Skills Sessions 4-5:

  • Saddle and Unsaddle the horse. 
  • Mount and dismount the horse.
  • Ride the horse with a leader in control. (depending on skill of the rider). 

Learning New Skills:

Horses and leaders teach our ranchers: 

  • Valuable Communication.  
  • Lead with confidence. 
  • Build trust with horse and others.  
  • Provide quality care. 
  • Complete activities (start to finish)
  • Gain an understanding of self and others. 

Goals and Objectives:

Ranchers will take away new skills that can help them:

  • Overcome life's obstacles. 
  • Deal with grief and loss. 
  • Talk to others about their feelings. 
  • Gain a sense of appreciation. 
  • Find peace in the journey. 
  • Plan for the future.




“He is his happy self again and knows how to ride a horse. Plus he likes taking care of animals and adopted a cat.”

Family Time


“We have become a lot closer and value our family time. I have found we express our feelings more and talk things out.”



“They taught the kids to do chores with the fun stuff too!”

Follow Directions

   My son has learned to follow direction from other's and the horse's help keep him calm and happy, my daughter has opened up and talks to the staff and other participants along with staff at school.  


 We have been through so much personal stuff that going out and participating in these programs allow not only me but my kid's to be who they are open up talk about things that have happened. 


 " When Deston first sat on the horse, he was calm. He even, on his own, touched the horse’s mane while riding and seemed to really enjoy himself.” 


Youth Leadership Program

Iowa's Youth = Iowa's Future Leaders

Iowa's youth are future leaders. At Victory Ranch we have an opportunity to utilize our environment and our team of horse to teach leadership skills that can be applied to everyday circumstances.  Including: 

  • Problem Solving
  • Observation 
  • Team Building 
  • Motivation
  • Integrity/Honesty 
  • Communication
  • Innovation
  • Change 

Vicki Baum, Executive Director and director of this program Vicki has direct leadership experience in manufacturing and education and has delivered lean training to over 40 organizations in the past 15 years.  Organizations served include manufacturing, bioprocessing, job shops, healthcare, construction, education and seed processing.  

Vicki's experience will benefit youth that are looking forward to advanced education or for those who are will go directly into the workforce after high school. 

Our Partners

Our Youth Leadership program partners with families, school districts, youth groups, and other non-profit organizations that supports Iowa's youth. 

We depend on donations, referrals and volunteers from local and statewide corporations, small businesses and state agencies to assist us in training and preparing our youth for the future.

  Together we can impact the future of Iowa's Youth and prepare them for higher education and the workforce.

If you would like to learn more about your youth leadership program, please contact Vicki Baum, Executive Director at 641-799-8346.