In honor of all things Z Ranch and Zuma’s Rescue Ranch related this week, we wanted to explore the people behind the venue and equine rescue property. We went right to the source — we got to know founder Jodi Messenich a little better to learn more about the mission behind the rescue and all the amazing details about this venue that is truly unlike any other in Colorado.
Can you bring us back to where Zuma’s Rescue Ranch began?
At age 27 I purchased my first horse named Zuma, AKA Zoom Room, and this decision changed my life. I eventually sold my business (My professional background is in sales and marketing in the health and wellness industry). Soon after my husband and I purchased the 146 acres we now own to build a horse show facility know as American Sport Horses.
After six short years as a competitive horse show family in the Hunter Jumper world, we had seen enough and decided to retire from that aspect of horses. We were planning to sell the 146-acre and downsize to a small private farm for our seven horses and then literally lightening struck! A lightning strike that burned 10 acres of our land and it also redirected our lives. We didn’t list the property after that fire. In the meantime with one phone call, we rescued our first seven horses. For the next four years we continued to rescue horses, caring for the now 30 rescued horses on our own. Finally we decided it was time to formalize our efforts and form a 501C3 public charity– Zuma’s Rescue Ranch was born! Now we had to think how to fund it, what to do with all of these horses, and so many unanswered questions to this unique venture….
Once again a single event, much like the lightning strike, changed our direction. A woman with six foster boys drove onto the property to look at a home for rent (Coincidentally, Paul and I fostered children in our 20’s so we were familiar with what these kids were going through). It was that event that brought animal assisted therapy to Zuma’s Rescue Ranch. Zuma’s quickly became an effortless pairing of kindred souls needing to find peace and happiness. Zuma’s Rescue Ranch is truly a healing sanctuary for both humans and animals.
What has inspired you to carry forward with the Zuma’s mission?
The inspiration for Zuma’s Rescue Ranch originates back to my lifetime love of horses coupled with my heart for helping others. My drive comes from my family. I was raised by parents who were always helping others; we often had people needing a hand up living in our home. My father was the most generous man, a shining example of selflessness that I continue to aspire to become like.
Working with horses is…
The most and exhausting labor of love I have ever been involved with. I never knew how emotionally rewarding and challenging rescuing horses and children would be. Horses are 24/7 and the work is labor intensive and as big as horses are they are very fragile… Loss is sadly common when dealing with the abused and neglected horses that have been cast aside, so coping with such is taxing on the heart.
In addition to being an outstanding rescue ranch, you also have an amazing venue space, Z Ranch. What makes Z Ranch standout from other venues in the area?
The Z Ranch venues, of which we have three unique spaces, stand out for a few reasons. The first attraction would be the 360-degree views of both the Rocky Mountains and the city scape of Denver, second would be the versatility of the three venues, from casual barns or ranch setting to the elegance of the Mansion atop the hill, and third the very quaint and serene 120-year old garden/homestead setting.
What types of events work well at Z Ranch?
Zuma’s is a short 25 min drive south of Denver making it a convenient and unique for corporate retreats and business meetings, the beautiful and peaceful setting gives participants a fresh perspective away from the hustle of the city. Also, we are a great spot for cocktail parties, fundraisers, birthday parties, anniversary parties, vow renewals, and of course those boutique- sized weddings are always a hit on the ranch.
What is special about your partnership with Serendipity?
Serendipity has been the Messenich family caterer for the past 11 years, we met Todd (Serendipity’s founding chef) early in in the Serendipity business development with our daughter Victoria’s high school graduation party in 2004. We could not decide how long to run the party so we chose open house and kept Todd with us all day long. He was first and foremost a great chef, but he also served as the bartender for us and just simply became part of the family that day. We have enjoyed watching Todd and Laura work their way into prominent members of Denver’s food scene, pioneering the green movement in the event industry. I personally love the push toward sustainable food industry business with composting, donating and planetary awareness that this business ascribes to.
If you could throw any kind of party at Z Ranch, what would it be like and whom would it be for?
I would love to host a grand celebration of all of the selfless members of the metro Denver community doing good for others, all charity partners out there on the front-range working long and hard hours day-in and day-out to serve the needs of the less fortunate. We would celebrate by hosting a giant barn dance complete with an eco-friendly theme, serving local, sustainable foods, feature local music, and highlight some of the best food producers here in Colorado.
Serendipity is proud to partner with Z Ranch and stands behind the mission at Zuma’s Rescue Ranch. Stay tuned for more from this amazing venue all week and look for updates on events at Z Ranch on our Facebook page!