A place to get away

Over the past four years she’s created just that.

Mike, who’s been a builder for most of his life, made her vision reality. He built a cozy cottage connected to an outdoor courtyard complete with a pergola-covered sitting area and fireplace.

Kelly said they are blessed with some of the most beautiful sunsets each evening and the courtyard is uniquely situated to take advantage of the view.

The Williams started their business training horses. Over the past four years it evolved into other areas, including cattle.

At first, clients came to check on the progress of their horses and to work with Mike on the ground and in the saddle. That gave them a better understanding of the training methods and enabled them to connect with their horses, Kelly said.

“During this time we would offer weekend getaways for our clients to come and stay, enjoy the ranch, relax by a roaring fire, have a gourmet meal and spend a fun weekend with their horse,” Kelly said.

The feedback was so positive that Kelly thought it might be time to “open it up further.”

“It is quiet, intimate and if it’s in my power to make it happen, I’ll do it,” Kelly said. “Creating a fantasy and making it special for someone who comes here is my passion.”

Kelly, who was born and raised just north of Chicago, has worked most of her life in the food/restaurant industry. She has traveled the world and had “some of the most incredible dining experiences of my life.”

For several years Kelly worked with Peggy Cunningham at Events Unlimited, a special events company in Richmond. In the early years of the company, Kelly played a role in helping the business get started. Since then, Cunningham and her staff built it into the large-scale special events company it is today, Kelley said,  “With their large inventory of props and extensive experience in meeting and event planning they offer the perfect turnkey experience if you are interested in having a country wedding or small event at Painted Horse Ranch,” Kelly said.

It also could be just the right place for a bridal party to come and relax before the big day.

Kelly is a massage therapist and has a room near the barn for therapeutic massages.

She is trained in many methods: Reiki, hot stone therapy, and a Taiwanese method using heated herbs encased in muslin that are gently tapped onto the skin.

Painted Ranch horses also benefit from Kelly’s massage training, as she gives them therapeutic massages as well. She uses a special massage with heated oils called “Raindrop therapy” that she said has incredible results.

“The protocol takes an hour and works to relax all of the muscles in their body, it also detoxes their system over the course of the following day to enhance the horse’s general health and strengthen their immune systems,” Kelly said.

She also uses a special positional release therapy in which the horse releases itself which allows the horse to participate in his own session.

“Horses are amazing animals and very receptive to humans and their touch,” she said. ”The raindrop therapy is also available in human massage and offers a truly relaxing, unique experience in additional to a traditional massage or aromatherapy.”

Besides performance horses, the Williams raise Angus beef cattle.

“We have a cow/calf operation and a stocker operation,” Kelly said. “Our stocker cattle are sold mainly on the hoof but this year we are finishing a few animals to begin marketing upscale gourmet ground beef in which we take out only the center cuts and grind the rest.”

The result, she said, is “an amazing gourmet burger.”

They plan to make their debut in some of the local farmers markets this spring. Kelly is also working on a ranch cookbook that will be available at the same time.

”Our beef is all natural, hormone and antibiotic free, raised on open pasture and finished on grass and grain for that perfect combination of taste and marbling,” Kelly said.

The Williams combine their cattle and horse training business by training horses to wrangle cattle.

“We use our horses to herd cattle – the old fashioned way,” Kelly said. “It is a more gentle method that leads to happier cattle and tastier beef.”

If you are interested in more information contact the Williams at www.paintedhorseranchva.com.

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