Children are a gift from God and all to often, they are left at the receiving end of some very adult trauma and grief. Hope Farm is offering a place where children can come, be welcomed, be included and have a quiet place to heal their spirits.
Program for children focuses an experiential learning environment. Giving children a chance to work with the horses at Hope Farm, to learn about horse anatomy, herd behavior, horse care and basic horsemanship (grooming, tacking, leading and riding).
We are not a "riding instruction stable " our goal is to help facilitate spiritual healing, by creating a warm and inviting place, where children struggling with trauma or dealing with grief can come and be themselves, enjoy the outdoors and nature, learn about horses, horse care and learn about themselves in a non judgmental, safe and welcoming environment..
Children will become part of the Hope Farm team. At the beginning of each session they will help with some chores around the farm, to give them a sense of purpose and usefulness and belonging. After that they will be handling the horses, grooming, learning to put a halter on, learning to lead, learning herd "dynamics" and eventually they will learn to mount up and ride. All riding/all handling of the horses is done on a 1:1:1 ratio. One horse, one mentor, and one child. At no time will a child ride independently, they will be accompanied by a mentor. Children will be given tasks to complete both on the ground leading the horse and while riding. There is no getting anything wrong, its all about learning and building a communication and trust bond with the horse.
To provide a welcoming environment, where children are feel safe and included.
To provide an opportunity to learn and grow and just be themselves.
Build confidence: by handling and moving big animals (horses)
Build trust: By learning to trust themselves to be a leader to the horse
Build relationships: by building a bond with the horses and facilitators at Hope Farm
Learn: about horses, basic horsemanship, horse care, horse rescue, and learn about the other animals on the farm.
Learn: how to problem solve using the horses and guiding their footsteps
Learn: how to communicate non-verbally and verbally to the horses and mentors/facilitators
Who can attend: Children ages 6 to 18 (can stretch a year either way, on a case by case bases)
What is "trauma" trauma can include: witnessing violence, being bullied, being the victim of violence. ..and more. Right now Hope Farm will focus on working with children with mental trauma, but is a goal in the future to be able to provide services for those seeking physical therapeutic riding opportunities.
Children struggling with grief, loss of family, a loved one, dreams...we are here to provide a welcoming place with non judgmental horses that are always available to lend an ear.
We believe the healing power and wisdom of Christs words, combined with the truth, honesty and physical presence of His creation, the horse, is a combination that is good for the body and soul.
Though the foundation of Hope Farm rests on Christ's words and the power and wisdom they hold, we absolutely take any child who has a desire to attend. They do not have to be a believer in Christ or his teachings, we just ask for an open mind. We use His words and we do pray, but we do not proselytize or try to convert those who believe differently.
What ever you can afford to donate to Hope Farm.
We believe these horses and Hope Farm are God's blessings and we wish to share, regardless of ones ability to pay. Donations help us cover our costs and expenses and are greatly appreciated and even needed, but not a factor on whether or not a child can attend.
Each session will last approx 70 minutes. First 20 minutes will be helping with a "chore" around the farm, could be pulling weeds, planting flowers, cleaning horse equipment, stalls, feeding chickens..etc.
The next 30 minutes will be spent learning about horses and their care by giving the child an opportunity to put hands on the horses and learn as they go. Not every session will be a "riding" session. Most of our learning comes from the ground. Riding will be every other week.
Parent or guardian must be on the premises during the session, but we ask that parents watch from a distance, giving the child space and privacy to communicate with the horses. Often children will divulge their fears and desires into the ears of a non judgmental horse and we want to give them that opportunity.