A big thank you from us at Hairy Henry Care Farm to all in the community for their support with our successful launch of our fundraiser campaign at the end of summer! All funds raised are going to go into building a barn for our riders with additional needs. As part of our launch, we had a fantastic week in September, touring West Cork with Henry the horse, where we met so many wonderful and generous people. Between direct donations and our online GoFundMe campaign we made a great start and raised a fantastic €12,000 towards building this barn. There is still some way to go, but we are so grateful for everyone’s support in getting this fundraiser started. With the wet and cold and windy weather settling in, we are more motivated than ever to continue to move this project forward – for the benefit of so many riders and their families who use our service!
Despite the sometimes tricky weather, we are really delighted that we can continue to offer our services to our community within on-going Covid-19 guidelines throughout autumn and winter. My thoughts are with the many people in hospitals, residential care and nursing homes whom we used to visit with our team of therapy animals – unfortunately, it seems that it will be a while before we can offer our outreach visits again – in the meantime, we are wishing them all well in these difficult times.
But here on our Care Farm at least we can carry on – with individual, sibling and family sessions and small children’s groups, using the natural outdoor setting and our therapy animals in our therapeutic, recreational and educational activities.
The pandemic and the enforced social distancing that came with it only emphasised our intuitive desire to connect with nature and other living beings. On a daily basis, I can see how our horses and other therapy animals work their wonders with the people who come here. Our animals offer unconditional affection and closeness, and endless warm fluffy hugs in a world, which has changed so significantly due to Covid-19 guidelines. And that’s not all our animals do – they also offer children and adults a range of safe outdoor activities where they can socialise, learn, grow, relax and heal.
Horses especially are such strong graceful creatures that inspire children to feel free and invincible. When children partner up with our horses on our farm, they gradually build a meaningful relationship which makes them feel bigger, stronger, more loved and needed, more confident, more sure of themselves, and the horses usually put such purpose and meaning and direction into the children’s lives.
Horses in general do not judge whoever approaches them – our horses are especially trusting and innocent, always assuming the best. Children who can feel left out in other parts of their lives or are judged or bullied because of a disability for example, are met by our horses with unconditional acceptance of who they are and how they behave – this can be a life-changing experience!
And the great thing is, all of this is on offer when children just hang out with horses – they don’t have to learn to ride for competitions or shows. Caring for and spending quality time with horses is the much more significant part in terms of learning life-skills like time keeping, reliability, honesty and empathy for another living creature. Because of the caring bond children build with the horses, which leads to a strong desire not to let their four-legged friends down, children feel motivated to tackle what seemed impossible before – like controlling emotions, dealing with frustration and disappointment, building stamina and patience.
Over all these years of working with horses and children on our little farm here, I have learned that the key is to make plenty of time and space for the horses to work their wonders. We encourage a meaningful relationship between child and horse because that’s where we think the real benefits are. Because when the child and horse get the chance to build their own bond, so much good stuff happens between them, and everything seems possible!
To find out more about what we offer, please go to www.hairyhenry.com or give Sandra a call on 087 9389867
If you would like to support our fundraiser campaign for a new barn, please find us on www.gofundme.com: ‘Help Hairy Henry Care Farm to build a barn’.