Bring Healing To Horses And Humans In Need

by The Center for Equine Assisted Wellness, Inc.
Horse show
Horse show

Seasons Greetings!

Snow is falling, and the summer props, toys and games have been packed away. The horses are enjoying a break from the daily hustle and bustle of activity and the volunteer staff is relaxing a bit with family and friends.

Sounds peaceful and quiet right?!?

It is, but underneath all the peace and quiet is a flurry of activity as we prepare for our Holiday Gala on December 7th at the beautiful Endicott Visitors Center and Museum, and as we make the plans for our upcoming program year.

Here's how we finished the year

  • We finished our season with a bang! Many of our riding students came to the farm on October 12th to show off to their riding skills. Trooper and Cisco were AMAZING! From simple patterns, a little walk and trot and even showmanship, our horses and students proudly showed the results of all those hours of hard work and dedication! We are all so very, very proud! Click here to see some photos from the event!
  • We began our pilot program Equine Facilitated Breast Cancer Rehabilitation and will be offering sessions to 8-10 women in 2014
  • We began the Excelsior Thoroughbred Advancement Program which will facilitate the rescue or rehabilitation of a retiring Thoroughbred racehorse and retraining for placement in therapeutic programming.
  • Borrowed Freedom was featured on the front page of the Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin in Anothony Borrelli's wonderful news piece that showcased our work. You can read the full article on our website
  • We welcomed Cisco, a WONDERFUL registered Quarter Horse to our program and he quickly has become a favorite of everyone, from students to staff!
  • We welcomed Veda Tupy as an instructor. Veda is the former head coach of the Binghamton University Equestrian Team, and is an accomplished professional competitor and trainer. We will now be able to offer riding lessons year round in her covered arena. Our students also have the opportunity to compete locally and to participate in the Interscholastic Equestrian Association.

In all, I would say this year was a wonderful success. Unfortunately we didn't achieve our goal of $15000 through our Global Giving campaign, but we still were able to provide a wonderful year full of opportunities to for some incredibly special people.

We will be launching several small microprojects in the upcoming months and we hope that you will continue to support our efforts as we ring in the new year!

Wishing you all a holiday season full of the best and brightest, and all the love and peace in the world!

Colleen Cheechalk and the Borrowed Freedom Team!

Welcome Cisco!
Welcome Cisco!
Press and Sun-Bulletin Feature
Press and Sun-Bulletin Feature


Humans and Horses Working Together!
Humans and Horses Working Together!

Good day everyone!
First I would like to apologize for the delay in getting this report out to you. We had a series of family emergencies that took me away from home and work. Thankfully all is getting back to normal now!
Wow...I'm not sure where to start!

Thanks to your continued support and generous sponsorships from the Jensen Family, Northside Collision and Nimmonsburg Rotary we have reached $3600 for scholarship funds, we still have a long way to go but I am very confident that we will reach our goal and possibly even surpass it. The need is as great as ever, and we are so blessed to have supporters who believe in what we do and help us ensure that every need is met.
But that's not all!

Things have been in a constant state of change and improvement here on the farm this spring as well, we have new Red Brand No Climb horse fence for the pony paddocks, which allowed us to expand their living quarters and add new grazing areas for them. After learning how much we love this fence, we reached out Cooperative Feed Dealers and Red Brand for our large horse paddocks and we were completely overwhelmed when they donated fencing to surround our entire horse area! Now we will have safe, secure, permanent fencing that will improve the interactions our visitors can have with the horses all around the farm. It was just an incredible gift!

Our friends at Mane n' Tail have generously sponsored our horses grooming needs for the year. They sent us enough Shine On and Detangler to keep our crew looking and feeling their best all year long. For those of you who have visited the farm, you know that the condition of the horses is very, very important to us. We go to great lengths to ensure that they always look and feel amazing. Riding horses is a magical experience...and mud, dull coats and tangled manes are not exactly magical. We are so grateful to Mane n' Tail for their support!

We have the Charlotte's Web Garden planted now, it surrounds the classroom area and is filled with beautiful herbs, grasses and perennials that attract pollinators, good bugs, birds and even the bunnies. It is named in memory of my Aunt Charlotte Sherman who passed away in October of 2012. She loved to garden. loved children, and had an incredible giving spirit. She wrote a column for her beloved Whitney Point Reporter called "Charlotte's Web", and she reported on all the good things that happened in our little community. I knew that it would make her heart smile to know that the garden was named in her memory.

The arena has now been expanded and has a new sand surface, post and rail fence with welded wire, and some very cool features that make our lessons and sessions more fun. There is a heavy duty perimeter rope that allows us to hang themed posters and learning tools, we have freshly painted barrels, poles and cones, some neat primary color balls, baskets and such, and a whole summer of great lessons planned. New run-in's for the horses are in planning stage right now as well.

Never a dull moment here on the farm!

In April, Jessica, Darlene and I all attended the American Hippotherapy Association Level I Equine Skills and Level I Treatment Principles, and I have earned an advanced certification from the American Council on Exercise as a Therapeutic Exercise Specialist. We are also proud to announce that we will host Greg Kersten in April 2014 for the OK Corral Series Green Certification for our many of our team members. Greg Kersten was the founder of EAGALA and the pioneer in the field of Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy and Learning. We are thrilled to have the opportunity to learn hands on from such an innovator in this field. We have also began our pilot Breast Cancer Rehabilitation program, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to serve women in need in our community. Breast Cancer has touched our family, and the families of many of our staff. We felt it was vital to add this needed alternative method of wellness.

Last but not least, we will be welcoming Cisco to our farm this month! He is a beautiful 18 year old Quarter Horse with a kind, sweet personality and a wonderful work ethic. He is a seasoned school horse that I had the opportunity to work with during the AHA clinic and I was so impressed with him! I know everyone will love him as much as we do!
Thank you so much for your support of programming, we are working hard to deliver the best possible program for the individuals that we serve and we hope that you will continue to follow us on our adventures! We cannot seem to upload photos to this report today, we have tried several times and can't get them in. So for the day to day fun that goes on, please feel free to visit our Facebook page at or our website at

On behalf of the entire Borrowed Freedom team...THANK YOU!


Hello everyone!

The program is slowly coming out of winter hibernation and gearing up for spring! Our winter lesson and Hippotherapy clients have done a GREAT job learning about horsemanship.

We are looking forward to spring and we have many projects that need completion and students who need to ride!

What's in store for March, April and early May?

  • We will begin construction of the Sensory Trail. More than 30 challenging and ever changing activities will challenge our riders, Hippotherapy clients and learning students
  • The Horse Garden will go in, lots wonderful herbs and vegetables for our four legged therapists!
  • New bat boxes, nesting boxes and swallow houses being constructed and hung
  • new fencing for the little ponies and the large paddocks
  • and of course...the start of our riding season!

It's going to be busy, busy, busy and you help make it all possible. We are so grateful for your support!

Best Wishes!

Colleen Cheechalk and the Borrowed Freedom team

Dusty at work!
Dusty at work!

Seasons Greetings!

I wanted to send you this project report a bit early for a couple of reasons, one...because it is the holiday season and two, we have accomplished so much in the past year that we wanted to share it with you!

We began our journey with a year ago, we never ever dreamed it would be as wonderful as it has been. We have met some incredibly passionate individuals who give generously, from donations, to services and of themselves. Your support made is possible for us to purchase our Equicizer, Dumplin', which was received in March. Since then we have been able to start accepting Early Intervention clients as young as 2 years old for Pediatric Hippotherapy services. We have heard first words spoken, watched first steps taken. It has been simply overwhelming.

Dumplin' has also allowed us to teach our Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding clients more effectively. For example, learning the Posting Trot is easier for students because we can teach each step one at time, step by step. We can teach safe mounting and dismounting, tacking up, correct position for leading and handling and so much more. We even have some clients who are learning the basics of vaulting!

For riders who cannot safely ride a live horse, (such as those with issues mounting and dismounting, or who may need equipment that cannot safely be used with a live moving animal) Dumplin' has become the chance to ride they may never have had. All the health benefits of riding can be enjoyed...and for some, it may be the bridge that takes them from able!

Having Dumplin' also benefits the horses! Our horses have less stress, are more respected and can do their jobs more effectively because the clients come to them ready to work safely and with compassion and empathy. While the Equicizer was a costly purchase at nearly $3700, the cost of caring for a horse properly is a minimum of $2500 per year. Dumplin' requires no special veterinary care, training, farrier care or a manure fork! Over the course of 10 years an additional horse would cost our program $25000 or more. Dumplin'? Just the cost a vacuum cleaner, some furniture polish and nice fleece blanket every few years. Our goal is to acquire a second Equicizer within the next 3 years. Having two will allow our therapists to work with their assistants and our staff to provide more sessions at less cost, and ring new opportunities for fun social activities for the clients ...a win-win!

Because of your support Dumplin' lives in our new climate controlled therapy room which also functions as our meeting room and office. Our therapy cats, Lucy and Liza, live with Dumplin' and keep us all entertained and help clients ride longer and reach goals while having fun! We can offer Bibliotherapy and literacy development classes. We are able to hold trainings and clinics, to have parties for our riders, celebrate triumphs, and so much more.

Expanded Programming For Adults

This year we expanded our programming from a seasonal 20 week program to a full year, 40 week program. In addition to Hippotherapy and Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding we have opened the farm to nearly 30 adult residents of Broome Developmental Center each week. They enjoy a comprehensive Equine Facilitated Learning program while spending some time outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine. We have learned teamwork, how to trust each other and ourselves, how to care for horses and show them respect, and how to earn and give respect in our daily lives. During 2013 we hope to expand further, bring nearly 50 individuals to the farm each week, including groups who will volunteer. If our fundraising goals are met, we will also be able to purchase a serviceable used van and begin Equine Facilitated Learning visits to the center and area schools and community organizations. 

Facility Additions 

In addition to the therapy room, we completed the classroom, arena footing upgrades, full area fencing, a seasonal restroom and a full tack room in the outdoor portion of the farm. An additional stall was added to the main barn for Donkey and improvements to the center barn are ongoing. A restroom for the therapy room is on the job list for spring. These improvements have been made with very little cost to the program because of recycled building materials and donated services and supplies. 

What's Up For 2013?

There are some great things coming up in 2013 and we hope that you will share the journey with us.

  • We have two new fundraising events under development
  • We will offer two American Hippotherapy Association clinics
  • Jessica Reinartz PT, DPT, Allyson Cheechalk and I will all complete our American Hippotherapy Association I Certification
  • We will welcome Jewel, a lovely Quarter Horse adopted from Sunkissed Acres Equine Rescue
  • We will unveil a unique addition to our programming that will enhance the field the Equine Assisted Therapies and Activities...I can't tell you yet...but you will be the first to hear the news! 

And Finally...

Thank you. Thank you so much. You see, I couldn't write all this if you hadn't contributed to our GlobalGiving fundraising appeal. You may not even know about us. You might not have had the chance to see all this change, all this good. You made a choice to become involved with our program, and we are so grateful that you did. We can't wait to share more joy, more success, more growth and change with you in the months to come.

On behalf of the more than 40 students and clients, our incredible 100% volunteer staff, the horses, the farm animals, the dogs, the cats, my family and the community...our heartfelt wishes for a holiday season filled with everything bright and beautiful and a New Year full of peace and prosperity.

Colleen Cheechalk
Founder and Executive Director






Improving coordination and balance
Improving coordination and balance
Equine Facilitated Learning - Teamwork!
Equine Facilitated Learning - Teamwork!
Making huge strides with Hippotherapy!
Making huge strides with Hippotherapy!
Our wonderful outdoor classroom!
Our wonderful outdoor classroom!
Tank and Blackberry waiting for their friends!
Tank and Blackberry waiting for their friends!


2012 Pasta Dinner
2012 Pasta Dinner

Hello everyone!

We are off to a steady start with our rider scholarship campaign. With only $70 raised so far it is too early to put the funds to work, but they will be held for the new season that begins January 2! We have nearly 40 participants scheduled to begin the season, and we will be providing programming for additional area community programs as well.

We held our annual Pasta Dinner on November 3rd and raised nearly $1900 which helps, we have a long way to go, but I know with your help and support we will not only reach our goal, but surpass it!

Thank you!


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Organization Information

The Center for Equine Assisted Wellness, Inc.

Location: Maine, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Colleen Cheechalk
Program Director
Endicott, New York United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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