For over ten years, Ironstone Farm has been offering free retreats to people whose lives have been affected by cancer. Run by professional facilitators, our Equine Encounter cancer retreat focuses on discovering the powerful relationship between horse and human. Exploring this bond helps to build a renewed sense of self, overcome fears and insecurities, increase confidence, and serve as a reminder of one's own strength.
Equine Encounter retreats are primarily unmounted programs involving many exercises with and without horses. One exercise may include a mounted session, but an unmounted option is included for those not interested or able to sit astride a horse.
Our Cancer Retreats are funded through the generosity of the Boston North Cancer Association
Ironstone Farm is a working farm. Prior to registering for a retreat, please speak to your doctor if you have concerns regarding exposure to hay, dust, or animal hair/dander.
Kathy of Massachusetts came to a June retreat, mostly looking for an unusual experience rather than a life-changing one, she said. She learned about the retreat during an appointment at Dana-Farber.
"I was really picturing a day as fun with horses. I know that's not what the brochure said. I came away with so much more than I ever could have expected. It wasn't about horses. It was about finding your inner strength."
Pat of Lowell attended one of the first retreats at Ironstone Farm. In fact, when Pat, a breast and lung-cancer survivor, came to her retreat she was afraid of horses. She attended the equine encounter based on the recommendation of her Lowell General support-group advisor.
"It was 1,000 times more than I ever expected. I had no clue it would be so wonderful. I felt so clear about myself and my health. I didn't want to leave. By the end it was a whole experience that I could never imagined -- more support and love than I've ever received in my life -- because you went through a whole process."
After the retreat, Pat became one of the 200+ volunteers at Ironstone Farm who help provide therapy to special needs children and others.