HOURS: Monday - Friday: 8:30am - 4:30pm


413.536.8386 (fax)
150 Lower Westfield Road
Holyoke, MA 01040


21Jul. 2017

A Fine Young Lady

So I have this daughter, Abbie, who has always been my shy girl. She is content to let me do the talking in a group setting and says that she is NOT the social arm of the family!  She has a little anxiety in group settings and is usually only in her element when surrounded with familiar things that make her comfortable.  School was always hard and there have been many tears to deal with.  My husband and I weren’t quite sure what to do.

She recently decided that she loved horses. I did some research and realized that horses can actually be calming to people with some anxiety, so we decided to give it a go.  She started taking riding lessons at Heritage Farm in Easthampton, and LOVED it.  She had an instructor that was helpful and firm when needed.  She didn’t let Abbie get away with chickening out and pushed her when needed.  As a parent, I was relieved to see this.  I know my daughter and what she needs and Diane was it!

Something interesting started happening through her lessons. She started enjoying the actual riding less, and the care and maintenance for the horse more.  She loved her time riding slowly with the horse, or leading him to pasture.  She loved brushing and caring for the horse and was so happy when Diane showed and taught her about wrapping the ankle of the horse.

We had a long conversation and realized that she isn’t interested, at the moment; in progressing in the actual riding (she is comfortable with the basics). She doesn’t want to compete or show horses, she just wants to be around them.  I was so surprised when Abbie sent me an email response from a woman at Jericho House in Holyoke.  It turns out on the recommendation of Diane at Heritage Farms; Abbie was made aware of a Therapeutic Equestrian Center at Jericho House that helps disabled or special needs people get on and be around horses.  Abbie had applied to volunteer and been accepted without even telling me! She just did it!!

I dropped her off this morning. It was her first day volunteering.  She didn’t know where to go, or what the people in charge even looked like.  There was a sea of busses and people and I started feeling nervous for her.  I looked at her and said “Abbie, are you ok?  Do you know where you are going?”  She looked at me with a smirk and said with more confidence than I have ever heard from her “yeah mom, I totally have this.  Don’t worry! I’ll find someone!  Have a great day, mom. I love you!”  And with that, she was off.   Her brown hair blowing behind her with no fear.

I have never been more proud than I was in that moment. I called my husband and all I could say was “Jeremy, we have a fine young lady!”


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