Borrowed Freedom Equine Assisted Therapies and Activities, Inc.

Borrowed Freedom Equine Assisted Therapies and Activities, Inc. strives to offer a meaningful experience that will enhance wellness, build life skills and bring great joy and self-esteem to children, adults and families with physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional or socioeconomic special needs. We current offer two fee free programs, the Warrior and War Horse program for Veterans, and the HOPE With Horses program for women and girls. We support other services through scholarship assistance, including therapeutic riding and equine assisted learning. We believe that in fostering the wellness and independence that develops through the beneficial relationships between people, animals...
Apr 14, 2015

Thank you for making this dream a reality!

Willis Ashley Foley, Jr. Literature for agencies
Willis Ashley Foley, Jr. Literature for agencies

Dear friends,

As I am writing this report to you today, I am filled with a sense of gratitude that I have never felt before in my life. A dream I had back in 2011 has become a reality, a dream I thought that would always remain just that...a dream. 

When I returned to school in late 2010, I had decided to work on a second undergraduate degree rather than a Masters. After becoming so involved in Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, I was drawn to social issues for obvious reasons, so I declared my major in Social Psychology. I took a class in Terror Management Theory, which opened my eyes to a whole new world...the effects of PTSD on Veterans in combat, and the psychological aftermath of acts of terrorism, and real and man-made disasters. It defined my studies, and become my world.

PTSD is devastating, and horses can help minimize the effects. Through our understanding of the horses behavior and herd dynamics, we learn about the horses social and behavioral patterns, which can in turn, teach us about our own behaviors. Our goals for the Willis Ashley Foley Jr. Warrior and War Horse program is to assist United States Veterans and their families with tools to cope with trauma and stress resulting from combat, long term depression, PTSD and reintegration issues, and by reestablishing life skills and readjustment into civilian life by immersing them into carefully designed horse guided interactions.

Because of your support, today we filed the paperwork with NYS to create the Willis Ashley Foley Jr. Warrior and War Horse program as a stand alone non-profit project under the umbrella of Borrowed Freedom EAAT, Inc.  I was able to send letters today to our area Veterans support agencies and mental health programs, and filled the envelopes with the literature they need to begin enrolling up to 16 Veterans and their families in the program. A program that they will be able to access at no cost. They will have up to 12 sessions of carefully developed group equine assisted programming facilitated by a highly credentialed and certified team. And because of the incredible support we received from VM Ware employees, and the other amazing donors during our microproject, I was overwhelmed and inspired to do even more, so am personally delivering sessions for an additional 8 participants, and sponsoring the administrative costs for it. Needless to say, it was a pretty awe inspiring, life changing day for me...and I hope this day sets in motion the opportunity for hundreds of Veterans to feel the same way incredible joy I have in my heart, this year, and in the years to come.

We owe our servicemen and servicewomen a world of support, and its support that is sadly lacking. You showed us that you feel the same, that we need to do more, help more, and create a community of support for our heroes. We are so grateful that we are able to bring our horses to these incredible protectors of liberty, and so grateful to share this journey with you!

Warmly and gratefully,
Colleen and the Borrowed Freedom team.



Apr 10, 2015

Ready To Kick Off The 2015 Season!

Rye playing in the snow
Rye playing in the snow

Happy spring!

I cannot believe that I am sitting here writing this report, which marks the beginnings of our seventh full season at Epona Farm Sanctuary delivering life changing equine assisted programs. Seven seasons. It doesn't even seem possible!

As I consider this milestone, I am led down memory lane to some other situations that seemed impossible.

Like our little miss T*, who was never supposed to walk...but did, and does...with minimal assistance.

Like our little mister M, who was diagnosed as non-verbal...but found his voice.

Like miss S who lived in an isolated world, fearful of communication and confrontation...who led a parade.

My memories are filled with former impossibilities turned into exceptional successes. There are days when I cannot believe the miracles we experience were made possible by a horse.

We are bringing new programs to our community this year, expanding upon our former and current programs, and turning them into better, more effective programs for the children and adults we serve. Due to the economic challenges we face, we were forced to "go back to the drawing board", put on our thinking caps, and find ways to serve the individuals who depend on us, to keep the horses in the exceptional condition required, and make our magic happen. It wasn't easy! By narrowing our focus we now fund three specific programs, The Warrior and War Horse program, HOPE with Horses, and the T.E.A.M (Teen Equine Assisted Mentoring). Scholarships for individual adaptive riding services will be awarded on a case by case basis, and thanks to your generous support, and the commitment of monthly donors, we feel confident that we can start the season with 6 scholarships for horsemanship programming for the children. Is it 30? No, but it sure is a great start! I have all the faith in the world that we will not only reach our goal...but surpass it!

I had hoped to include a wonderful photo of green grass growing, and signs of spring, but it is still fickle here in upstate NY so I have included photos of our ponies, Rye and Firefly, having a great time enjoying the remaining days of their winter vacation frolicking in the SNOW!

We will update you again soon, the season begins officially on June 1st, so look for photos and news soon!

Thank you so much for being a part of our program, and for helping make miracles possible!

Colleen Cheechalk

Founder and Program Director

Please visit our website at and join our facebook page at!

*actual names are omitted due to privacy regulations.


Rye and Firefly playing
Rye and Firefly playing


Jan 13, 2015

Happy New Year from Borrowed Freedom

Thank you from all of us at Borrowed Freedom!
Thank you from all of us at Borrowed Freedom!

Holiday New Year from the Borrowed Freedom program!

It's hard to believe that 2015 is here, and we finished the year on raising more than $4000! We are so very, very grateful to you all. 

With the new year here, and this project fully funded for the scholarships awarded in 2014, it is time to retire it and begin our work for 2015. We are so hopeful that we will be able to reach our goal and serve 10 children this year! 

There has been a lot of good done in 2014, including the official launches of two of our most important programs to date, the HOPE on Horseback program, and the Willis Ashley Foley, Jr. Warriors and War Horses program for Veterans and their families. Both these new programs have current microprojects on, so if you visit our profile you can receive more information, and of course, we appreciate your shares, Facebook “likes” and more.

We finished off the year
serving 32 individuals with 26 weeks of programming. It was a challenging year for our organization, and like most, we saw a dramatic decrease in our funding. But we remained true to our commitment to serve and were able to do some truly wonderful things, and in the end, that's the true measure of an organizations success! And serving 30+ individuals with full scholarships is something we are very proud of!

To make dollars stretch further, our host farm, Epona Farm Sanctuary, has obtained their 501c3 non-profit status. Epona Farm Sanctuary has provided scholarship based services including Hippotherapy and Therapeutic Riding for the Borrowed Freedom Equine Assisted Therapies program since 2008. Our partnership was the first in the Southern Tier of NY to offer a comprehensive Equine Assisted Learning and Mental Health program in 2009, and continues to be the largest provider of these vital, life changing services. Together we created and facilitate HOPE on Horseback, the Willis Ashely Foley Jr. Warriors and War Horses program for Veterans, and the Excelsior Thoroughbred Advancement Program. Borrowed Freedom is now able to narrow its focus and mission to supporting those with demonstrated need, and providing the funding for them to receive the services they need at Epona Farm. Epona Farm Sanctuary Foundation, Inc. will focus their mission on providing the outstanding care they always have to horses who have found themselves in need of rescue due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, and displacement. And to providing an environment that is carefully tended to provide stimulation for all the senses, and immersion into the natural world, which is the premise to all of our programming. We look forward to achieving great things together for the community in 2015, and beyond.

On a personal note, Allyson Cheechalk, who has been by my side since 2008 as my biggest supporter, my “voice of reason”, and the best Assistant Instructor (and daughter) a person could ask for, achieved something momentous, The Presidents Call To Service Award. The President's Call to Service Award is awarded by the President of the United States to people who have completed more than 4,000 hours of community service. It is the highest level of the President's Volunteer Service Award and signifies a lifetime achievement. Since 2007 she given nearly 7,000 hours of service to her community. We are so very proud of her, and so thrilled that she has agreed to not only remain supporting Borrowed Freedom in its endevours, but also taking charge of the newly formed Epona Farm Sanctuary Foundation as its President and Executive Director. Allyson will graduate next year with her BA in Psychology with a double minor in Sociology and Terrorism Studies. She will begin her MPA with a focus on Organizational Management in the fall of 2015.

So it has been a whirlwind this year, and we have seen some powerful and awesome work done on the farm in 2014. As we retire this project for the year, I find myself looking back on all the memories made, happiness, personal triumphs, and goals met. Each year I say “WOW! This was the BEST YEAR YET!” and I am saying it again this year too! But I know in my heart that it is one in a pattern of best years, one that will help lay the foundation for 2015 to be the best, and for the years that will follow. This was also the best year yet because so many have chosen to continue the journey with us, while we welcomed so many new friends and supporters too. Building an organization is hard, but it is easier when you know you are built from a solid foundation of support.

We cannot thank you enough for being their for our clients in 2014!



Colleen Cheechalk

Executive Director and Founder


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