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Non-profit horse farm gets land originally planned for marijuana grow

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FORTUNA, Calif. - Wild souls ranch in Loleta offers equine therapy to adopted and foster children in Humboldt County.

The non-profit was founded by Savanah McCarty, who was inspired to help other's after her own positive experiences with equine therapy.

"It's essentially healing through horses," McCarty said. "They groom and care for them, they learn how to ride. And the horses teach them a lot about themselves and show them a lot of love in return."

Wild souls currently shares a ranch with other horse owners. McCarty said the lack of indoor space causes issues during Humboldt's rainy winters.

"It does get so wet and muddy out, sometimes it can be hard to keep our program going year-round," McCarty said.

Unbeknownst to McCarty, an opportunity was coming her way. A plot of land just outside Fortuna's city limits was up for sale earlier this year.

Tiara Brown lives on the adjoining property. She said the neighborhood was disappointed when a marijuana farm purchased the land.

"It was hard to swallow that this was just going to happen in our backyard when it's not something we want in our area," Brown said.

The neighborhood came together to find a way to prevent the marijuana grow from happening. Working with county supervisors, they were able to convince the land owner to sell the plot to someone else.

In the end, Brown's mother-in-law purchased the land.

"So I said, 'we should put Wild Souls Ranch there,'" Brown said. "So we pulled it up and looked at the documentary and I explained Savanna and what she does and she said 'call her up'".

The Brown family came up with a lease agreement for Wild Souls Ranch. The new location offers more space: Enough space to build an indoor arena so that the organization can run, even in wet weather.

"I'm just so thankful to the Humboldt Community and the Brown family," McCarty said. "Because of them we get to see our dream come true."

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