Employing horses in a working farm environment, Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone Farm provides beneficial therapy for people with a wide range of physical, emotional and cognitive disabilities. It uses the horse’s unique ability to enhance a person’s movements and touch a person’s heart, inspiring strength, hope and encouragement.
The farm’s professional staff of over 20 licensed instructors and therapists work with 35 program horses and more than 200 volunteers to serve about 450 children and adults each week, year round. Coming from more than 90 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and New Hampshire, participants enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the farm while receiving valuable therapy in collaboration with other service providers to best address their physical and emotional needs.
This is a therapy like any other therapy. But the horse will offer more benefits to the rider, the client, because the horse is a very complex machine. It is not just a machine that will exercise one or two muscles at a time. The horse is going to exercise the whole body, and many times the mind, too. The machine is something cold, it is metal.”
— Jaime Velez, riding instructor
Primary programs include therapeutic riding and recreational riding. Both are offered year round, with the addition of a weekly summer day camp offered during July and August.
Special offers available through Challenge Unlimited include:
- programs for veterans who have experienced trauma and/or are dealing with anxiety
- retreats for survivors of cancer
- programs for teens at risk
- retreats for elders with Alzheimer’s or other memory issues
- adoption events
- volunteer opportunities for people of all ages (13 and older)
- instructor apprenticeships
Want to ride during 2017? Click here for a calendar showing our eight-week riding blocks. Registration forms can be found under the “Forms and Registration” tab at the upper right of each web page.
Hear from our clients
Our videos page includes a short video about our therapy involving horses that includes interviews with medical professionals, clients and the parents of clients.
There is a video of interviews with veterans who participated in our first program for veterans returning with post-traumatic stress and other anxiety.
You also can hear from a mother and from a grandfather whose relatives have greatly benefitted from Ironstone Farm therapy.
Click here to choose a video.
Mission Statement: To provide therapeutic, educational and recreational opportunities using horses and the working farm environment to help people achieve optimum quality of life.