You are a father whose only son is born with severe sensory integration issues, speech difficulties, visual impairments and physical limitations. You have tried all the usual therapies but not much seems to make a difference. One day your son tries to drive a horse on a little farm down the road. His eyes light up. A smile breaks across his face. Attention focuses. Imagine years later, watching the young man your son has become as he drives his horse in a demo at Equine Affaire to the delight of the audience.
You are a frail little girl with severe cerebral palsy and bound to a wheelchair to feel the slightest of movement. You need a computer to convey the simplest of thoughts. You always have to look up at your Mom. Your vista is limited. Imagine the pure thrill of being on a willing horse and feeling those four strong legs carrying you…moving for you. No wonder you love looking down upon your teacher and side walker. No wonder you tell your Mom “Wow, I can see the whole world from up here!”
You are a therapist. You have worked hard to learn how to help your clients. Day after day you struggle with tough boys who swear and hit and kick and get angry. You try this technique and that approach to help them through their struggle and to a happier place. Words seem to fail. Theories fall short. Imagine your amazement as you witness these same adolescents gently brush their horse, carefully place the saddle in just the right spot, listen attentively to the instructor as she teaches how to competently trot around the riding ring as a group.
You are a single parent. You worry that you have failed your daughter. She has had to grow up too fast and seen too much. You want to help her feel joy and confidence and success again. It takes real courage to leave her at camp for two weeks with people you have only just met and at a farm with so many big horses. Imagine your relief and pride when you see her riding with glee, her head held high and a beaming smile on her face.
You are a soldier returning from a distant, dry and desert land. You have seen terrible things. Your back always hurts. Noises, crowds, decisions, even grocery shopping, terrify you. You miss playing with your kids and laughing with your wife. It is so much easier to stay in the cellar, on the couch, in the dark, alone. Imagine coming to a farm and finding peace. Being connected again, finally. Being in the sunlight and fresh air. Being with people who care and understand. A peaceful night’s sleep, a home cooked meal and a horse all are most welcome relief. You feel happy.
You are a nurse in a large rehab hospital. Your patient is 25 years old, a female who sustained a head injury in a car accident in college. You try every treatment method you know to engage her in her own recovery. The lab tests show she should be able to begin to walk and talk again. She shows no will to try. Enter Gruffy, a great big horse with a very gentle soul. Imagine your amazement when out of the blue, she says “Gruffy, he happens on Thursday.” Imagine your delight when Martha speaks full sentences and takes those first steps out of her wheelchair and towards Gruffy.
Miracles like this happen at Touchstone Farm. Day after day, year after year, the healing power of the horse and the peaceful setting of the farm with its clean country air are magic medicine for young and old, rich and poor, civilians and warriors.
However….imagine what this magic costs in dollars and cents, in hay and grain, human hands, insurance and electricity, saddles and wheelbarrows, horse shoes and fresh vegetables, laundry and computers. This is why we need you, our loyal and generous donors, to open your hearts and wallets so that these life granting miracles can keep happening week after week at Touchstone Farm.