2017 Year In Review

2017 Was a Year of Growth and Change

The Horses

Cassie and Chippy have retired from GREAAT!. Both horses developed arthritis and could not comfortably jog circles anymore. They are happy in their new role as trail horses.

Taffy joined Honey Horse Farm the week of Hurricane Irma. She’s a 2013 Welsh pony with previous jumping and games experience. Taffy is young with an amazing temperament for therapeutic riding. Her size is perfect to help the smaller riders develop confidence. We plan to teach her to pull a cart this year.

Jr. had to return home in December due to heaves, a breathing condition similar to asthma. Our neighbors planted rye grass in the 20 acre field behind our house. The dust from the plows was very hard on Jr. We hope he can come back, if only seasonally.

Bella spent a couple months in full-time training with Ken Najorka to prepare her for more work with students. She has done a suburb job stepping into the shoes of both Cassie and Chippy.

Reno sprained a back leg which kept her side-lined for 8 weeks. She dedicated herself to art therapy since she could not be ridden.

Honey Horse Farm and Garden

Our garden was a hit as always. We have added a worm bed to use for compost materials and worm castings to amend our soil. The blueberries got a late freeze in February so it destroyed the crop. Kale, lettuce and cabbage have been the most successful this winter.

Matt continues to develop the property. This year he built a mailbox as an addition to the obstacle course. It’s a hit!

Our goal is to have a chicken pen built in time for spring chickens in 2018.

The sensory garden continues to develop and we are making arrangements to add a series of small hills to encourage trunk control.

We also plan to have lights put in the arena so we can extend evening riding hours.

The 2017 Student Awards

Asher was given a scholarship for riding from John and Laura Williams, and Constellation Brands Inc. Asher and his family have been so resilient through this year of sibling surgeries and health issues. He continues to use the horse as behavior modification in school and at home with much success. He had formed a strong bond with Cassie and loved her so much. It was hard for him to switch horses, but he has kept a phenomenal attitude and is doing really well on Taffy now.

Misko was awarded “Most Improved” this year. Just a few short months ago, Misko was needing to have his lessons translated as he was new to the United States from Poland. It was frustrating for him to learn a language and a new horse. Now he speaks beautiful English—no translator needed—and is willing to ride any horse on the farm. His love for the animals is so strong you can feel it in his presence.

Milana earned the “Effort” award. As a 5 year old in 2107, Milana successfully began riding off lead, navigating the obstacle course by herself. By far the youngest rider to achieve this, she continues to step outside her comfort zone and try new exercises. Most recently standing in her stirrups in two point at a walk!! She always comes with smiles and giggles and is an absolute pleasure to have in the program.

2017 Volunteer of the Year

Paulis was awarded “Volunteer of the Year” for his commitment, his drive to learn as much as he can about the animals, and his charming personality that keeps the students laughing and the environment up beat.

A big thank you to all of our sponsors: Derby Gold, Aspen Ballet (Bebe Schweppe), John and Laura Williams, and Dorthy Lambert. Your support keeps us moving forward and this would not be possible without you.

We are so proud of this past year and the accomplishments that have been made. It is such a pleasure to watch all of the students grow, learn and improve.

Wishing you a Happy 2018.

Here’s what happened in 2016!

2016 Year in Review

January – Aprilhippotherapy

Carol Huegel provided Hippotherapy. This was her last season working with GREAAT! before she moved. She now splits her time with her children and grandchildren in Tampa and Philadelphia. She will remain on the board of GREAAT! and continue to mentor from a distance.

In the spring, students planted cucumbers, carrots, zucchini, beets, kale, tomatoes and sunflowers in the garden. After each lesson they ride or walk to the garden, check progress on the plants and make plans for what we can do to continue improvement. The garden is a useful tool in many ways. It teaches us that when we plant something, it must be monitored and nurtured routinely for a successful harvest. We can apply these same principals to life. It is fun to harvest our veggies and talk about how to use them. Many of our students are typical “picky eaters”, but when a child grows the food they almost always eat it.



Matt and Brooke welcomed their baby girl, Joanna Dee Lucas, home to the farm. All the students were invited to harvest all our veggies and meet the baby. After much consideration, it was decided to take the summer off riding and resume in the fall when weather is more conducive to riding.



Brooke completed continuing education with courses on ADHD strategies and one-on-one training with CHA certified trainer Ken Najorka.


October – December

The arena fencing proved to be a turning point for riders and their confidence. All the riders have improved tremendously. Milana, at 4 years old, completed the whole obstacle course off lead!


Throughout the year, we focused on caring for the horses, cleaning stalls and groundwork and developing independence through riding skills. Some of the themed lesson plans and games included:

Cowboy/Cowgirl Bingo

Students ride around arena identifying tack, horse objects and their purpose while playing bingo.

Groundhog Day

Riders practice “walk on” and “whoa” cues while answering horse safety and anatomy questions and collecting groundhog cut-outs.

Valentines Day Cards

Stations positioned around arena have different card decorating tools, markers, stickers, stamps, glitter pens, etc. Each station has an obstacle the rider must complete before crafting. Riders make a Valentine card for a horse at the farm. The card is mailed in the arena mailbox (another obstacle), and the horses stalls are decorated with Valentine cards.

Easter Egg Hunt

Riders complete obstacle course while collecting eggs.

Haunted Halloween Trail Course

Riders maneuver through cob webs, spiders, witches, skeletons in obstacle course.

Turkey Trot

Play-day including many balancing and coordination games such as sit-a-buck (where a dollar bill is placed under the rider’s thigh to see if the rider can sit tightly enough to keep it pinned), egg and spoon race, bean bag toss, basketball, musical cones and more.

Recreational Riding 2015

Recreational riding is one of the most popular activities enjoyed by horse owners around the world. Whether you’re breaking ground over an unbeaten path, trekking across an open field, or riding down a dirt road near home, recreational riding is an activity anyone can enjoy. All it takes is you and your horse. Recreational riding provides time to reflect on the day’s activities and plan for tomorrow. It allows you to relax your mind and body and escape from the hassles of day-to-day life. In addition, it helps develop a healthy mental outlook and promotes physical fitness.

Recreational riding and Therapeutic riding lessons follow similar progression.

-Transition from ground to mounted

-Relax and stretch both horse and rider

-Review and remember

-New Skill

-Practice and figure out new skill (remember, repetition is the key to skill)

-Have fun- game to reinforce new skill

-Cool down with trail ride