Our horses and farm animals are the heart and soul of our program. One of the first things visitors and students say when they first come to the farm is how happy our horses are, and how well cared for they are. They would never guess that many of them have struggled through abuse, neglect, starvation or that they have special needs of their own. Without these horses, and their compassion and ability to mirror our own intentions…the magic can’t happen. We have a long background in animal care and wellness and excellent relationships with our veterinarians, farrier and other care team members, so we make it our primary goal to ensure our horses are healthy, happy and willing to be part of our program. Among our other team members are our Nigerian Dwarf goats, Sabastian and Amelia, the dogs…Tank, Blackberry, Captain and Bodie who join us for sessions, and Liza and Lucy our adorable kittens who have claimed the therapy room as their personal playground. We also have wonderful heritage breeds chickens and ducks and our Lionhead rabbit, Missy.
Meet the Horses
(Prince Moon Sun/Linden’s Exclesior)
Trooper or “Troopsie” as he is affectionately known has enjoyed a wonderful life with his former owner and they had done most everything together over the years including Hunter/Jumper, Cross Country, Eventing and Dressage. Wanting to give Trooper the best possible retirement and chance at a second career, he came to NY to start a new life as a Therapeutic Riding horse. He has competed in local events, and also excels as a beginners horse, a hippotherapy horse, a trail horse and a mascot!
Trooper is a big part of the Borrowed Freedom program, he has carried our littlest friends on their first mounted adventures and now teaches them to be excellent horse people. In his spare time he enjoys grazing and rolling. Trooper has a remarkable, one in a million personality. Everyone loves him from the tiniest child to the Senior Citizen…his gentle inquisitive nature and hysterical antics keep us all laughing. He has a heart of gold and always is ready and able to give his best for our visitors. Ps…he loves cinnamon graham crackers…
Enzo is a big, bold Warmblood, the biggest horse in our team at 16.1hh. Enzo is 10 years old and was adored and cared for by his previous owner. He was donated to our program in 2012, and has spent the fall and winter learning his new routine and getting to know all of the people he will work with on the farm.
Enzo affectionately called Barney by most everyone here because of his kind and funny personality. He is beautifully trained and a joy to have on the farm. While he is very tall, he is also very gentle and quickly makes his way into your heart.
This big sweet horse will begin his formal Adaptive Riding, EFL and Hippotherapy training this spring. Because he came to us so well trained, we have been teaching him some fun tricks too! We can’t wait to introduce him to all our clients because we know they will love him as much as we do!
Dusty is an adorable 14hh Quarter Horse/Appaloosa cross with the sweetest polka dotted face. He was graciously donated to our program by our incredible farrier, Jamie Wooten, who spent endless training hours with him.
Dusty is a Western trail horse. He’s brave, honest and dependable. His smaller size is perfect for Hippotherapy and for our younger independent riders. He is very sturdily built, which makes him comfortable and supportive to ride.
Dusty has charmed everyone since he arrived. He is wonderful to work with on the ground or under saddle. Even our young riders can lead him safely. Our unmounted horsemanship students just love him, and our looking forward to working with him for years to come. We are so grateful to Jamie for offering her trusted trail horse and best friend to us. He has quickly become a program favorite and beloved member of our team!
Miss Katie Scarlett
Katie has proven herself to be a gentle spirit and guide for even the littlest of visitors. Her big soft ears, her beautiful kind eyes and her inquisitive nature draw children in. Because Katie had experienced some traumatic events in her past she tends to make us work for her trust and respect. This is normal for any equine that has lived through an abusive situation, but even more so for mules. Mules are brilliant creatures with an enormous capacity for understanding, and at the same time those abilities mean that they very rarely, if ever, forget about hurtful things. Having Katie here on the farm has taught us so much. Most of all it has taught us patience and perseverance.
Katie Scarlett has a favorite trick, when you visit be sure to ask if she can do her trick for you! Katie is an absolute joy to have on the farm. We are so happy that you will have the chance to meet and learn about her this year.
Miss Princess Firefly:
Breed: Welsh Pony Cross
Princess was adopted along with Rye from Sunkissed Acres in Georgia. She is an exquisite little pony, with fine bones and a lovely face. She has a floaty, elegant way of moving and is a quick study when it comes to training. She is gentle, inquisitive and kind with big soft eyes and beautiful markings. She was part of a large agricultural seizure of more than 100 miniature animals. Firefly will be 5 this year and she is busy in training and perfecting her skills. Our experienced students are working with Firefly as a project this year and preparing her for our junior horsemanship students and Showmanship at Halter. She has also been started under saddle and is learning to drive.
Princess will begin her formal career this year and we couldn’t be happier!
Breed: Miniature Horse
Rye has some special needs we keep a close eye on. Chiefly his Wry Mouth, hence his name…Rye. His crooked little face is endearing and he is able to chew just fine, but he will require consistent dental work to maintain a healthy mouth. Rye is learning the ropes of becoming a visiting member of our team and his role as part of our unmounted horsemanship classes. Rye loves to play! He has a favorite soccer ball that he keeps near at all times. Because the ponies are so little and don’t go through a bale of hay and 6 pounds of grain a day, there is a misconception that miniature horses and ponies are much less expensive to care for than full sized horses. While this may be true when it comes to the actual feed bill, all the other expenses are the same. They require the same farrier care and veterinary care as our full sized horses, and they also require specially sized tack, which is sometimes much more expensive than the same tack for full sized horses!
Guillermo is Spanish for William, but he prefers to be called Jack or Donkey. He is delightful small Donkey who has had his share of health challenges. He was brought here to the farm to recover from Laminitis, which includes lameness, inflammation, and increased temperature in the hooves. It is a very painful and difficult condition to rehabilitate, however, the smaller equine generally have a more positive prognosis. Donkey cannot have treats, graze on pasture and will always have feet that look a little different than they did before. But he is expected to make a full recovery with his new lifestyle.
Donkey is gentle, sweet and LOVES to snuggle! He loves to go for walks, adores attention, and will part of our Visiting Barn Yard program in 2013.
In loving memory…
Simon is a 26 year old Quarter Horse. He is the tallest of our team at 16hh. He has a beautiful face with the kindest eyes you could ever see. He is a deep red sorrel gelding, he gleams like a shiny penny in the sun and his personality sparkles to match!
Simon has shown successfully all over the south, earning ribbons in both Western and English disciplines. He is delightful on trails, and an exceptional showmanship horse. We are so excited to introduce him to our riders this year and we are so grateful to his former owners for putting their trust in us to give him a forever home!
Simon was humanely euthanized on October 18th, 2012. We only had him here for 10 months and 17 days, but his big beautiful heart and soul pulled us all in and we loved him like he had been here a lifetime.
Paco was the first horse all participants met when they first started our program because of his wonderful personality. He was a Quarter Horse, Dun in color (some call him Buckskin) and 15hh. He had done it all in his life from cows to barrels and everything in between, He was a cowboy horse through and through, a dream in the saddle and a perfect gentleman on the ground. You can read more about Paco’s story and recovery here. Paco was humanely euthanized on June 17th, 2012 surrounded by the people he loved and belly full of sweet pasture, carrots and apple turnovers. Godspeed my beautiful horse, and thank you for all that you gave and all that you loved.
Dumplin’ was the first horse here at Borrowed Freedom. He was adopted from Sunkissed Acres in GA, and quickly became a best friend to more children and adults than I can begin to count. This little horse was nearing his 30′s, had buckshot in his face, an untreated angular limb deformity that left him a three legged horse, and a passion for all things marshmallow. He was kind, gentle, and the most adorable fuzzy creature on the planet. You can read about Dumplin’ here.
Colleen Cheechalk, Founder and Executive Director -
Colleen has always been an animal lover, especially horses! She started her journey into Animal Assisted Therapies after being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 1999, and was told she would never ride again and most likely would need to forget about anything horse related. When her daughter was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 2000 she threw herself into working with canines, and has trained both service and therapy dogs. In 2005 she visited a farm offering Equine Assisted Therapies, and began researching the many benefits horses could bring to children and adults with special needs. In the years that have followed, she has experienced thousands of hours working side by side with children and horses. It quickly became not only a fun and rewarding way to give back, it became a new way of life for her entire family.
Colleen is an early childhood education professional and works exclusively facilitating horse and human interventions in both recreational and therapy settings. Most recently, her years of working with the special needs community led her to pursue graduate study in Recreational Therapy and Social Psychology with an emphasis on public health education and recreational trauma/disaster interventions and therapies.
Relevant certification, recent continuing education and affiliations include:
- American Hippotherapy Association Level I Equine Skills and Level I Treatment Principles
- Certified Behavior Instructor For Autism
- ACE® Certified Therapeutic Exercise Specialist with an emphasis on Musculoskeletal disorders, Metabolic disorders, Pre/Post Natal Exercise, Cardiopulmonary disease and adaptive exercise for special populations.
- Core Postural Control and Functional Fitness Certification
- Group Exercise Certification
- PATH Intl Instructor in Training
- Certificate in Recreational Therapy Program Design and Administration
- Delta Society/Pet Partners – Animal Assisted Therapy Applications for Clinician and Health Professionals
- Applied Behavioral Analysis and has experience in Discrete Trial Teaching (DTT), Naturalistic Teaching Strategies and other ABA techniques.
- Red Cross Certified in Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED
- Supporting Member of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and is currently completing the case studies required for both Certification in Canine and Equine specialties.
- PATH International Region 2 Community Connections Chairperson
- Colleen is a proud member of PATH International, Equine Growth and Learning Association, Equine Experiential Education Association, the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the United States Equestrian Federation, and the United States Pony Club.
Allyson Cheechalk, Assistant Instructor Group EFL and Hippotherapy – Allyson is a Junior in college pursuing her BS in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. She has been assisting with Hippotherapy and Adaptive Riding lessons since 2008, and now directs afternoon adult group sessions.
Her college studies have included Human Lifespan Development, Abnormal Psychology, Child and Adolescent Development, and numerous advanced health and wellness classes. She is studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine. She plans to continue her education with graduate study first in Psychology and then continue on for Health Science and Sports Medicine.
Allyson is a member of the United States Equestrian Federation.