I am currently an intern at Full Circle Farm and have had an amazing experience. The staff, volunteers, and participants have all been welcoming and kind from the beginning, and every person is willing to share their experience and help me learn more about equine facilitated activities. The opportunity to combine my lifelong love for horses with my psychology major has been extremely rewarding and is something I would like to continue after the internship ends. Lorna, my supervisor, has been committed to teaching me about all aspects of the facility, from the lessons themselves to what goes into running a non-profit. I feel supported by everyone and it has motivated me to look into therapeutic riding as a career path. Full Circle Farm is run by people who are passionate about what they do, and it shows. The program provides a unique experience that benefits not only the participants but everyone involved. I look forward to the rest of my time here and would recommend it to anyone.
The opportunity to volunteer for the Therapeutic Horsemanship Program at Full Circle Farm was unexpected, but timely. My husband and I had relocated from Michigan to the New London area almost a year earlier. Throughout that first year of transition, I sought out opportunities for volunteer work (which are in abundance), with the hopeful goal of finding an organization where I felt a deep interest; could help make a difference, and where I would remain committed!
I was drawn to an ad in The Kearsarge Shopper last September. A lifelong love of horses, and years of experience with children and young adults with special needs in a variety of settings, prompted me to attend an orientation session.
My husband and I immediately felt as though we had landed where we should be! (he had intended to accompany me to learn more about the program. . . he hadn't anticipated becoming so interested that would would volunteer also!)
Full Circle Farm is an extraordinary place. The setting is breathtaking, with mountains in the distance; the facilities are beautiful and state of the art; the staff is welcoming, warm, supportive, encouraging. Lorna and Sue have such a gift for teaching/guiding the volunteer. . . even as they are teaching a participant. We are all made to feel part of the team. . .and to be an effective member of the team we have to understand what is necessary to ensure the safety of the participant. As a volunteer I always feel comfortable asking for help or advice.
There have been educational opportunities offered in workshops; online resources and reference materials in the indoor arena/barn.
The camaraderie among staff and volunteers adds to the pleasure of the entire experience.
It's always fun!
Of course, we wouldn't be in this program if it wasn't for the participants. As with each of us, each participant is unique. I have such admiration for their courage to do what they are doing; their perseverance; sense of humor; joy of accomplishment; attachment to the horses; willingness to help with brushing and putting tack away.
I have come to realize the deep trust they have in the volunteers and instructors. . . and continue to work to improve my own skill in providing a safe experience.
I feel as though I won the Grand Prize when I saw the ad in the Shopper. It's wonderful to volunteer alongside other volunteers who share similar reasons for making this commitment. It's such a privilege to be alongside such experienced, highly educated, skillful, compassionate and dedicated professionals who make the volunteers feel as though our participation matters.
This organization has helped both of my children. My daughter (now 11y) was the 1st to attend. I had a child that was full of anxiety and lacked self-confidence. I was very pleased with her leading horses and even riding off lead after sessions. She has improved greatly and her growth as a person and rider. She hasn't had a panic attack in about a year. I can tell when she hasn't seen the horses; she gets nervous and starts to dwell on things. She has been riding with the therapeutic program for almost 3yrs now. She has improved with calming down, core strength, and has even volunteered to help any way she can. Amazing self-confidence now.
After a few months, I introduced my son (now 8y) to the horses. He has hearing loss in right ear. I was looking for core strength and balance building. Once he got use to all the fur (sensory stuff) he was off trying to do it all. His balance was better and he had the confidence to try things at higher heights.
This program is great community. They have holiday parties and fun show for the participants to show off what they have learned as well as recognize their volunteers. The staff is really there for you and your participant.