Archive for the ‘Summer Programs’ Category

❤ all these cute “thank you” messages from our Giddyup and Grow kiddos!


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Fridays are always the best — it’s SHOW DAY!

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From the end of June through the end of August, Windrush Farm volunteers were busy helping with our summer programs. Volunteers assisted with the recreational riding, youth-at-risk, veterans’, family-time, and horse-play programs.

Most of the recreational riding and youth-at-risk program volunteers were teenagers. Horse-crazy teenagers! Volunteers played an integral role in these week-long summer programs. While the instructors oversaw and directed the programs, the volunteers helped the participants groom, tack, and bathe the horses, and gave enthusiastic encouragement while the participants rode. The at-risk group had reading time and gardening time in addition to horse time. The riders loved having volunteers close to their age, and their volunteers exhibited lots of energy and enthusiasm. They even led the groups in “horseless horse shows” while the horses were on break.

The veterans’ program was especially fun this year, as volunteers from the Navy and Coast Guard came to Windrush Farm to help. The volunteers aided with grooming and leading the horses, as well as with demonstrating some horse-handling techniques. Family-time and horse-play were unmounted programs in which volunteers helped participants groom and lead the horses, and also aided in teaching horsemanship to all involved.

Why do volunteers come in the summer? “I wanted to help little kids ride,” one volunteer said, “and it’s fun.” Another stated, “I love being around the ponies, and I’ve learned a lot about horse care, barn management, and riding just from listening to the instructors.”

One participant grateful for the volunteers said they “help keep us safe and help us learn how to ride.” There is a bond that develops between volunteers and participants as they spend time with one another. When volunteers and participants exchange life stories, make zucchini bread together, or groom a horse as a team, or when a volunteer coaches a rider to trot independently for the first time, a beautiful thing happens. Summer volunteering provides enjoyment for all!


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Contributed by Megan Piermarini

With the Olympics so recently behind us, so many medals handed out, it seems only natural that it’s time to announce the winner of the 3rd Annual Horsie Heisman Award! Every year, this award goes to a horse or pony that has excelled in many areas of the summer program. This year was certainly a nail-biter, with many strong candidates to choose from. How do you pick just one? Past winners, Skittles and Cadance, were contenders, but this year’s trophy goes to a newcomer.

This year’s winner worked in the recreational and youth-at-risk programs. He sported various costumes on show days and was a top-choice teammate for bobbing for apples! He worked for eight straight weeks in camp and was the go-to pony for teaching kids to canter. This is not something he is new at, though. In his previous life, he was very busy taking care of his young rider and teaching her how to fox hunt!

Pie is a 14.2-hand grey pony owned by a good Windrush friend, Hope Cushman of Marblehead, MA. When he was with Hope, his favorite friends on their farm were the pigs who used to come into Pie’s stall and snuggle up for a nap. At another home of his, Pie escaped from his stall so many times he had a dog tag attached to his halter with a phone number to call if he was found! Pretty soon, he was a local celebrity whom everyone knew!

Pie has been an asset to our program from the first day he arrived. We knew he would be a star, and each day he proves it again and again. We are fortunate to have Pie in our herd. For these reasons, Pie is the recipient of the 3rd Annual Horsie Heisman Award. He has become our local celebrity for all the right reasons! Look for him in fall classes!

Psst: Do you see a common thread in the winners of the Heisman? Post your thought on our Facebook page if you do! 

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Check out what Windrush just did. Offered adaptive horseback riding for individuals with disabilities, their families and friends at Bradley Palmer State Forest. This annual event is sponsored by DCR’s Universal Access Program with Windrush Farm horses, instructors and volunteers, working together in an effort to expand accessible outdoor recreational opportunities. Thank you to all our amazing volunteers and horses who made this day possible.

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Kat Bunker—for spending her Fourth of July holiday staffing a Windrush Farm booth at North Reading’s Ipswich River Park “Bring Back the Fourth” event.

Deloitte—for selecting Windrush Farm for its 2012 Impact Day, during which 20 Deloitte employees spent a day building tents and picnic tables, gardening, and generally sprucing up the farm. You all are amazing! We appreciate your help!

 Our 2011–2012 Volunteers—for an amazing year. We couldn’t have done it without you.

 Izzy Wigon—for her incredible dedication this summer as a working student nearly every week of the summer program. You are amazing.

 Russell Shade—for coordinating the Perkins School volunteer sessions this summer. Thank you.

Joyce Copland—for donating her time, effort, and expertise in natural horsemanship to work with our horses this summer. Our horses, staff, and clients have all benefitted from the groundwork you have done.

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