In 2016 Tell Tale Productions Inc. spent many hours and days at Hinchinbrook Farm and the homes of various clients creating a film that will be showcased on the CBC documentary show Firsthand. The first full length film about the Horse Boy Method™ to be produced in Canada, it follows three of our special friends who come to the farm on a regular basis to work with the horses and open their lives to new possibilities. You can see the description of the program at the following link: FIRSTHAND — FREE REINS.
In the space of two hours, 80 artists painted 80 masterpieces. The outburst of mass creativity took place at a fundraiser sponsored by the Hinchinbrook Farm Society (HFS) at the Mahone Bay Centre October 22, 2016.
Billed as “Paint Nite and Silent Auction”, the event also featured the auctioning of seven themed baskets that were filled with donated items. The pre-auction value of the baskets ranged from $110 to $370. The other major source of revenue was the entry fee paid by each of the 80 participants.
“The evening was a huge success that netted more than $3,000 for the farm and children with special needs,” said Carolyn Collicutt, president of the HFS. “The society and I want to express our heartfelt thanks to the artists who first paid the price of admission and then bid on the baskets; to local business and individuals who contributed items for the baskets or donated food and drink; and to the local musicians who freely gave of their time to help nurse the creative muse.”
The evening began with a reception during which the artists snacked, drank, chatted and browsed through the baskets. MC Pat Hirtle then introduced the professional art teachers from Paint Nite™ who supplied canvases, paint and brushes and guided participants through the completion of their paintings. While painting, the artists simultaneously became the main event and the audience as they listened to the music of Stephanie MacLeod, Tim Worthington and Clas Larsson.
Hinchinbrook Farm is Canadian registered charity located in Blockhouse, NS. Under the guidance of Program Director Patricia McGill, it offers therapeutic riding, Horse Boy Program, and special events for children with special needs and their families. The farm’s website is www.hinchinbrookfarm.com.
THE POWER OF THE INTERNET. With an ad on Kijiji, we were able to get a boat donated to the Farm in ONE DAY!
Here is the original post…..
Yes, that’s right. If you know anyone who has a boat that is of no use on the water, we desperately need to replace our gravel-filled play-boat on our woodland trail.
It is a favourite place for our young people to play with trucks and shovels and pails, digging in the gravel and building future cities. The boat we now have, which is so popular with the kids as a mid-way place to stop their horse and do some creative expression, is rotting to the point of disappearing and is crying out to be retired.
So, if you know anyone with a BOAT THAT WON’T FLOAT, please get in touch. You can find our e-mail and telephone information on our CONTACT page.
Phase 2 of the pathways project was again funded by TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. It as completed on time and on budget this past summer and resulted in two more pathways opening up. One of them was through the eastern wetlands area of the Farm and was constructed with gabien rock to allow free movement of the water in the wet season while giving riders and volunteers and solid, dry base on which to walk. We also constructed an observation platform at the west end of the pathway network and it overlooks the creek (and the zip line runway).
December 5 – Autism Friendly Shopping for Tots
December 13 – Autism Friendly Visit with Santa!
December 24 – Christmas Eve in the Stable
On October 20, 2015, our own Silver Bell was nominated Therapy Horse of the Year for Atlantic Horse & Pony Magazine. Here is the text of the nomination:
At the bottom of the page is the Facebook announcement of her winning!
It is with great pleasure that we nominate Silver Bell of Hinchinbrook Farm Society as the Atlantic Therapy Horse of the Year to the Atlantic Horse & Pony magazine.
We nominate Silver Bell on behalf of the hundreds of individuals to whom she has brought strength, peace, emotional highs and life-giving understanding.
With over a quarter century of service as a therapeutic riding horse, Silver Bell still fills each lesson with patience, skill, and respect for her charges. She is now getting on in years, yet is ready whenever called to ease and to aid those with special needs. As one young rider said as she pocketed some of Silver Bell’s mane hair released by grooming – “when I get anxious I smell her hair and it calms me”. Twenty-five years giving therapy.
Silver Bell is a Liver Chestnut registered Morgan, foaled June 23, 1988. She began her career in Therapeutic Riding in 1992 (four years old and already a rock-solid, bomb-proof mount) for Lucky Harvest Project -Recolte Chanceuse, (www.luckyharvest.org). She worked at Lucky Harvest until 2004 (with a short five months of “maternity leave” for the birth of Dandy (June 1996)). In 2006 Silver Bell became the foundation mare for Hinchinbrook Farm Society’s Therapeutic Riding program in Blockhouse, Nova Scotia. And today, she continues to be the lead, caring for those with special needs (and for those of us near her) in untold ways.
Silver Bell is the Matriarch of Hinchinbrook farm. She is referred to as the Princess of the Barn – a.k.a. the boss. Dandy, her son, is also a top-notch Therapeutic Riding horse at Hinchinbrook. Silver Bell was his first teacher, and still keeps him (and the other animals at the farm) in line. We have never known of another horse for whom the riders had so many names: “SB, “B”, Belle, Tinker Bell, Stinker Bell, Bella, Silver Light, Silver McGill …. and, of course, “the Princess”.
Silver Bell is versatile – she uses ‘no bit’ or English, or Western aids. She works in auto-pilot in English or Western tack, and in neck ring. She does some cool tricks (with treats expected!). She has helped riders working at therapy vaulting and hippotherapy, and she drives in any weather using the Meadow Dale Cart. It is a wondrous sight to see prancing down the trestle trail with six or so riders shrieking with glee.
And she is painted! Children love to paint Silver Bell – the confidence and power she gives to these children is not something anyone can buy. As one helped individual put it – “it is Silver Bell who helped me learn to do math and reading”. (Now how did Silver Bell do that? We guess it is between SB and her young charge.)
It is not hard to believe that Silver Bell has had more special needs people than any other living horse (due to her, hmmm, advancing senior status). Most therapeutic riding programs have one or two afternoons a week in a regular barn. Silver Bell has worked every time, every day, she is asked. She is a wonder and a worker (a whinnier not a whiner). Her rhythmical swaying has moved many a rider’s body. To see children loosen up, and begin to sway with her, brings tears to many of their parents’ and caregivers’ eyes (and ours).
Why is Silver Bell unique and deserving of the “Therapeutic Horse of the Year”? All therapy horses help individuals with special needs improve in strength, flexibility, and confidence. And thus all therapy horses need to be recognized for they are all deserving. What is unique about Silver Bell as a therapy horse is her influence on the well-being of all those near her. Silver Bell is often chosen over other horses as the therapeutic mount because of, uniquely, her co-operative ways with the varying handlers. The parents, siblings and caregivers of those with special needs are all affected by Silver Bell’s calm, respectful, giving spirit. They come with their special needs child or sibling and Silver Bell projects and calms the caregivers too. And all for pats and treats! She also eases the day-to-day woes of the volunteers. “I just feel better when I come home from volunteering”- is commonly voiced. “Magical” is how another describes Silver Bell’s body language: “I was asked to work at Hinchinbrook to teach horse communications to help the volunteers with Riding Therapy. It was with Silver Bell that the magic happened effortlessly. One exercise was to learn to ask the horses to relax and close their eyes without the volunteers touching the horses. Each volunteer had their horses lowering their heads, yawning or closing their eyes. As I looked across the ring, I saw the volunteer with Silver Bell, sitting on the ground and Silver Bell’s eyes closed and her head in the volunteer’s lap. I was overwhelmed to see their connection. The person sitting to my left shook their head and said, “I can’t believe what I’m seeing.” The person to my right just looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, “That is just so beautiful”. I said, “That is Silver Bell”.” Silver Bell, the wise lady (or Princess SB), works not just with the special needs individual but with all of us. Silver Bell is unique.
As a now deceased, famous movie star, Governor and President once said “I’ve often said there’s nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse.” Silver Bell has given the “outside of a horse” to hundreds of thankful people.
We are nominating Silver Bell of the Hinchinbrook Farm Society to thank her for all her work over 25 years for individuals with special needs. Silver Bell is 29 years old and somewhat stiff in the mornings (like many of us!). The children still hang onto her, lie on her, paint her, ride her, groom her, and it is time for her to be recognized as what she is, the Therapeutic Horse of the Year.
The members of “One Step to Freedom” formed the group to raise money for local charities. They’re grade 5 and 7 students from Waldorf School. They collected $84 that they wanted used to buy walkie talkies for the Farm. Here they are offering the envelope full of cash to Kelly. She knows she can’t eat it, so naturally she is not very interested.BUT WE ARE! Thanks, Girls.
Notice that Dexter is really giving them the cold shoulder in the background. He wanted the money to be used for catnip.
This spring, we received a grant from the TD Friends of the Environment Foundation to improve the trail system and the therapeutic garden area for easier and safer access by our horses, volunteers and horse cart. This involved widening some areas, laying gravel through the wet spots and even reclaiming a marshy area for a new path using recycled bricks, cement slabs and new gravel. This new path was structured so that the water can still percolate through from one of the wetland spots to the other side.
Pathways Before Project
Pathways After the Project
We also added raised beds to the therapeutic garden — We Dig Food project — and reclaimed an old sandbox area as a very large garden with a good layer of topsoil over detritus recycled from the area in the form of leaves and rotting wood. In addition, we had a huge arbour built that can accommodate riders on horseback who need to get into the shade and a much-enlarged teepee that can accommodate a sitting or play area. Vines are being planted around the arbour and teepee to increase the amount of shade.
Sunday, July 12, 11 am – 4 pm: Hinchinbrook Farm is partnering with the Blockhouse School Project to present the 3rd Annual Communi-TEA & Open House at the Blockhouse School. Please join us to visit the therapeutic garden which has become part of the Hinchinbrook equine therapy activities. The intelligence of our horses will be demonstrated as they are put through their math paces. Mini petting zoo, plant identification, rides and more! Strawberry Social (tickets $8).
Cheese making demo at 1 pm.
For more details,go to: www.theblockhouseschool.org