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Horses and Healing: Equine Therapy at Farmtown Canada
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By Nigel Garnaitis



“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Winston Churchill

For young people with significant mental and emotional problems, finding effective care can be a real challenge. Many families know how hard it can be to find a place for their child to receive support and learn the life skills necessary for them to grow into healthy adults.

Farmtown Canada is a registered nonprofit that provides children and youth with professionally facilitated equine therapy. While some children find traditional therapy contexts uncomfortable, the farm’s calm ethos is a welcome space for kids to relieve and process the stresses of their lives. The clients, who are typically girls, are immersed into the life of the farm, and are taught how to groom, clean, and ride the gentle



Kelly and George Franklin founded the organization in 2006 with intention of providing space for people to find hope and healing in their personal lives through the relationships fostered through caring for horses. Since then, Farmtown Canada has walked alongside over 7,000 young people who have struggled with anxiety, depression, behavioural disorders, as well as a number of other significant mental health challenges.



As an organization that is accredited with Eagala, an organization that sets the global standards for equine-assisted psychotherapy and personal development, Farmtown Canada brings a tremendous amount of experience and expertise to their clients. Their trained team provides meaningful, effective care through peer mentoring sessions, specialized counseling, wellness education, and family restoration leadership training on top of their equine therapeutics. The Franklins are firm believers in God’s ability to heal through interaction with his creation – and they have seen him work in amazing ways through the horses and ponies on the farm. In the words of Farmtown’s core values, it is a place where people really believe in God for the impossible.

In the past, Farmtown Canada provided large-scale programs that reached large numbers of people. In the past couple of years, they have instead focused on providing more intensive, on-on-one peer mentoring sessions. Madison Olson, Farmtown’s summer event coordinator, comments, “The founders really wanted to narrow in on the children who were really being neglected in the community.”

These sessions are not only relaxing, but they also facilitate comprehensive personal empowerment in clients. Olson says, “working with horses really helps to build confidence and resiliency, and different life skills for children, teens, and families.” Kelly and George Franklin believe interacting with horses can develop transformative relationships where God provides deep healing.

The girls who participate in Farmtown Canada come with wounds, behavioural issues, and mental health difficulties, but leave physically stronger, relationally empowered, and mentally grounded.



Madison remembers a story of one girl who had come to Farmtown Canada as a last resort. Her family had tried different counselors and therapy methods, but did not see any meaningful results in their daughter. When she walked onto the Farmtown Canada property, she immediately felt like it was a place where she belonged. With the help of the Farmtown team, she experienced deep transformation in ways no other method could provide.

If you are interested in Farmtown Canada, their upcoming Farmtown Festival is your chance to experience it firsthand.



The Festival takes place on July 16 from 10am-4pm, and is the only time its doors are open to the public each year. With special guests Ron and Ann Mainse of 100 Huntley Street and musical artists James Favron, Kevin Pauls, and Steve Archer, there will be plenty of entertainment for you to enjoy. You will also be able to injoy the many farm animals on site, including pigs, sheep, alpacas, miniature horses and donkeys, ducks, rabbits and even peacocks!

Tickets and food are free as long as you register beforehand at www.eventrbrite.com (search Farmtown Canada). Only those with tickets will be allowed into the property. You can also find out more details at farmtowncanada.ca, or on Farmtown Canada’s Facebook page. If you are at all interested in Farmtown Canada or the transformative power of equine therapy, this is an event you will not want to miss!