Horse Helpers 2009 to present
Wisteria Farm is located on 5 acres in a mountain farming community called Zionville, right outside of Boone, NC. We have a main barn, a quarantine barn for newly arriving horses, and a hay barn. By the barn are three large dry lot, private paddocks for sick horses, and approximately 45 acres of pasture. This kind of flexibility allows us to create compatible herds based on age and sociability. We believe it is important to recreate as natural a herd order as one might find in the wild, strive to provide strong yet kind herd leaders, and mimic wild herd behavior in terms of their cycladic systems. The paddocks allow us to separate sick, injured or unsocialized horses from the main herds.
Our volunteer and community support continues to grow as awareness of Horse Helpers increases. We work with numerous middle school, high school, and college programs doing service work. We also strive to create an emotionally and physically safe environment for equine and people. At any one time we could have seniors working alongside six year olds, local farmers and wealthy second-home volunteers. We work with at-risk youth and special needs groups. Horse Helpers is a supporter of the local sustainable development community and strives to support them through our contribution of manure and responsible use of land.
The realization that we were rescuing equine, and equine were teaching us, led to the 2018 change in our mission statement: Horse Helpers’ mission is to be a voice for, and to protect all equine through equine rescue, education, and advocacy, and to establish and inspire positive human-animal bonds.
Our community work led us to the realization that we were not only helping wounded equine we were also providing a healthy environment for people. They were coming here and gaining confidence, overcoming fears, learning greater empathy and tolerance. Out of this realization evolved multiple education programs. Horse Helpers provides a successful three lesson educational program for 4th graders that follow relevant North Carolina Education Assessment requirements. This includes a pre and post visit lesson focused on language arts, social studies and reading. The third lesson, taught by Horse Helpers uses a group of speically trained miniature horses and ponies Horse Helpers brings the equine to public schools, reads a story about rescue called Chester’s Barn, has a sing-along about Chester and a Q & A session. Following the story the children go outside and each one is allowed to lead one of our ponies. The next day, children use the Chester’s Barn book that each received the day before to work on their writing skills in a post-visit lesson. We partner with numerous ASU faculty on topics like psychosocial equine therapy, therapy for people with disabilities, agro-ecology, and non-profit management as some examples. We also offer workshops on Conflict Resolution, Leadership, and Team Building.