On a comfortable Friday afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting with Karen Dalton at her Dare to Dream Ranch on Snagwood road in Foster, RI.
When you arrive at the ranch you are met by 2 super friendly dogs, Bear and Bella, who wag themselves silly while the 3 goats, Frick, Frack & Frank, are also bleating their hello’s. As we walked through the barn with the fresh smell of shavings and hay Karen explained her vision for converting the barn into a woodworking workshop when they build their indoor riding arena with attached barn that would have a loft apartment above for a qualified veteran to stay for free as the caretaker for the property.
We arrived at the first paddock where a gorgeous Percheron/Gypsy Vanner Draft cross named Seargent Xander and his sidekick Corporal Buzz. Xander sometimes is a bit skiddish with his own trust issues. So a slow approach and soft voice is the best approach for making friends with this beautiful huge horse. Next door is Captain Blue, named for his beautiful brilliant blue eye. He is as friendly as Seargent Xander is reserved. He was having fun moving the miniature horses , Freedom and Spirit, out of the way so he could their hay. Spirit enjoyed trying to nibble my hair through the fence while I was petting her and Blue. Hard not to relax and just chat with so much peace surrounding you. We visited the 2 senior, yet still very noble, Arabians names Ishrab and Tabitha.
I had the pleasure of watching Steve Frye, 2x Iraq Combat Vet, not only riding Sgt. Xander, but also learning to train him. Steve only began riding and working with horses 4 months ago! I was impressed to watch Steve’s ease of haltering Sgt. Xander in the paddock, saddling him and especially riding him! 4 months is not a long time for someone to learn to ride, build trust with a horse who has trust issues and build your own confidence in the saddle. I was able to watch Steve achieve all of this and with such confidence and pride!
As Karen & I strolled through the wooded paths listening to the quiet we discussed her dreams for future expansion of the facility, the paddocks, the rings and the trails. She shared some of the positive results of Veterans, and their families, who have already visited the Ranch for equine therapy (equine assisted coaching/ground therapy) , yoga, horticulture therapy and nutrition education, woodworking, and fly tying/fishing.
On a quiet, sunny Friday afternoon we both Dared to Dream of our hopes for Veterans and their families who will visit in the future.

Rhonda Ziehl, USAF,
RI Blue Star Moms


Wreaths Across America


Rhode Island Blue Star Moms

REMEMBER the Fallen. . . HONOR those who Serve. . . TEACH our children the value of Freedom.

Welcome to Rhode Island Blue Star Moms Wreaths Across America Page. Please help our group raise funds by clicking one of the red “Donate” button to sponsor wreaths to be placed at one of the locations listed below. . . It is easy!

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10 Year Anniversary of the R.I. Blue Star Moms: Letter from President Rhonda Ziehl

Hi Sisters

10 years ago this month 8 mom’s got together in a restaurant to provide love, friendship, a shoulder and support to each other as their children deployed.

Imagine where we would be today without these extraordinary 8 women who cared enough about each other to form the RI Blue Star Moms Chapter.

The original founders were Donna Ponte, Joyce Courtney, Sue Lavoie., Lisa Normandy, Marcia Buehner, Lynn Sampson, Mary Ellen Cimino & Rennie Simmons.

MaryEllen & Rennie continue to be active today and everyday for the past 10 years!

We all have our unique story of how we found out about the RI Blue Star Moms. I believe I would still be searching for comfort if a dear friend (Tom Poole) hadn’t clued me in to this wonderful Group!

Everyday I am thankful to our Endowing Eight for caring enough about each other to start the RI Chapter! They have helped us grow, provide guidance, laughter, comedy and most of all compassion as we all share our deepest
thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Thank you doesn’t convey the depth of my gratitude


– Check out our webpage for the story behind our founding written by Rennie Simmons:

Our History