Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Coffee and Community session 2

This particular session of coffee and community took place at Butterfly Dreams Farm with Cat Thompson. The farm is the most visually stimulating, prettiest piece of land I have ever seen. The trail leading to the farm itself is decorated with beautiful painted butterflies with names of campers on it. Right away I was moved, I may be a complete sap, but I was very much moved.

Butterfly Dreams farm is a therapeutic ridding and Hippotherapy clinic for children and adolescents with severe physical, mental and emotional disabilities. Hippotherapy is a medical model that assists with teaching children 2 and older how to hold their head up, walking, and other basic life skills, while therapeutic ridding can provide more social skills and basic riding lessons.

I personally feel like this is such a fun agency because, as a volunteer, there are so many opportunities. You can do practically anything from working with kids to caring for the grounds. We did a family serve at Butterfly Dreams by clearing paths and removing branches. However, there is so much more to do than that. For every Hippotherapy session, the farm needs three volunteers to help the therapists: two to help support the child and one to lead the horse. In therapeutic riding, they need volunteers every time children go out in the ring to ride. It really is so varied what you can do as a volunteer. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer the next volunteer training session is September 10th.

The farm currently has seven horses in use for therapy and riding sessions with one more on the way. Butterfly dreams gets most of its horses on loan and a couple were donated. They get tons of offers for horses, which completely surprised me. However, these horses have to be completely gentle and not scared of anything so they only take 1 out of every 20 they get offered. Cat once had a tree fall right next to a riding ring with a child on a horse. The horse did not even blink -pretty amazing right? “It’s not because the farm is picky”, Cat said “It is because these horses have to deal with kids who will scream, stand behind the horse, and do everything a kid is not supposed to do around a horse.” The farm also tries all of these things when a horse is up for a job at Butterfly Dreams. They scream and have a therapist imitate a seizure to see if the horse can handle it around a child who might actually have a seizure. America’s Next Top Model has nothing on this job application!

So, what is new for Butterfly Dreams? A horse show! The Athens Area Hunters and Jumpers Association is another horse nonprofit and are hosting a horse show where all the proceeds provide scholarships for children who don’t have insurance or whose insurance will not cover the farm's treatments. The show will feature some of Butterfly Dreams own riders. Admission is free and there will be a raffle during the show. Some of the organization’s long term goals are to increase the amount of kids they can have at one time and to get a covered arena. “That is something that we would just love to have. So many of our kids are medically fragile and cannot ride in the extreme weather or rain. We lose so many sessions that way”, stated Cat.

The Horse show is July 10th at the Four Seasons Farm at 1350 Plantation Road in Madison, GA at 9 am. If you would like to inquire about receiving services at the farm please call 706-310-1600. Butterfly Dreams farm can also be found on the HandsOn Northeast Georgia website.

The coffee featured in this session was Jittery Joe's Honeysuckle Latte and any food feature on the blog can be found at my personal site:

1 comment:

  1. anne marie, butterfly dreams is on ILA's list to work with this year! great timing for this story. thanks and keep up the great work.