Provide Equine Therapies For 100 Children In Need

by The Center for Equine Assisted Wellness, Inc.

Dear friends,

It's hard to believe that I am writing this report...the last report. Why the last report? Because we not only reached our goal, we surpassed it!

Over the past year you have helped us change lives. We have more than doubled the number of clients served, are expanding our community outreach and have been able to give the joy of horses, and all of its health benefits, to more than 60 people. INCREDIBLE!!!

We have been using our Equicizer for a year now. Moving forward we realize that we want to expand our Equicizer Herd to two, and are in the process of developing a new project here on We hope that you will continue to follow us on our journey, because without you and your support...we wouldn't be here putting the finishing touches on our most successful fundraising campaign to date.

We cannot thank you enough for all of your help. You truly made life changing experiences possible and we are so very grateful!

On behalf of the staff, students and therapy animals...thank you!


Colleen Cheechalk

The Arena Classroom
The Arena Classroom

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 now open 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 will volunteer. If our fundraising goals are met, we will also be able to purchase a serviceable used van and begin Equne 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 tackroom 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






Riding Trooper!
Riding Trooper!
Awesome Volunteers from BDC!
Awesome Volunteers from BDC!
Dusty doing what he does best!
Dusty doing what he does best!



It's hard to believe that it has been almost a year since we first launched our project on, it's been a long road and much hard work has gone into it, but WOW it has been a wonderful experience!

Since our last update we have continued to finish the therapy room and insulation, walls and a heater will be installed this month, just in time for cold weather. We have also continued to improve the classroom and arena areas so that we can work outdoors as much as possible. 

Sadly, we said goodbye to our beloved Simon on October 18. Simon arrived on New Year's Eve 2011...just hours before the deadline of the Open Challenge. We were still a few donors short right up to the wire, and within minutes of his arrival here on our farm we had not only reached...but surpassed the needed number of donors and donations. I remember sitting down on the ground and just sobbing, with a giant red horse looking at me at like I had lost my mind. He grew to understand my personality and the fact that I wear my heart on my sleeve, and became my best friend, he was adored by everyone who met him. He had a check up the day before and was given a clean bill of health, but the next day, within a span of 35 minutes, he somehow dislocated/broke his shoulder. This is a catastrophic injury for a horse and, sadly, one that is very common. He was laid to rest next to my beautiful Paco and his memorial garden is already being created. We miss him so very, very much. 

We have grown so much since New Years Eve. We now serve nearly 50 individuals each week, 40 weeks of the year. We serve more than 75 during various outreach programs. We have not only reached, but surpassed our goal of Providing Equine Therapies for 100 Children in Need. And we were able to do it because of you. 

As we wind down a year of many successes, we are reminded of how grateful we are to each and every one of you for your support of our program. As we grow, we hope we can continue to count on you to cheer us on and celebrate our students victories both in the arena, and in their every day lives. 


Colleen Cheechalk
Program Director and Founder 

Trooper's new friend
Tank and Blackberry in the therapy room
Tank and Blackberry in the therapy room



Hello everyone! 

I have so much news to share with you!

First of all, Dumplin' the Equicizer and the therapy room have proved to be an essential part of our program. We use it for evaluations, for training, for parent meetings, for adult rehabilitation...the list goes on and on. I honestly can say that I don't know what we did before having this incredible opportunity. We had to cancel SO many lessons and Hippotherapy sessions and now we only have to cancel if the weather is very extreme. It is a blessing beyond words!

We have also welcomed two new team members into our program. Enzo is a 9 year old Dutch Warmblood Gelding with a wonderful, funny personality. He is 16hh, and along with Simon, the biggest horse of our herd. He is gentle enough for lead line and Hippotherapy, but large and talented for the more advanced adult rider. He is residing with Miss Katie Scarlett, our mule, and both of them seem to adore each other. Our second new addition is Dusty. He is approximately 12 years old and a Quarter Horse/Appaloosa cross. He has the cutest polka dotted face! He arrived and we knew that he was going to be perfect from the minute his hooves hit the ground. He is smaller in size, about 14.2hh, sturdy and gentle. He is wonderful for Hippotherapy and great with our more timid new riders. I don't think I have ever met a horse who adored obstacles and games more than Dusty! Both these amazing horses have been donated to our program by their generous owners. Both have been meticulously cared for and impeccably trained, which makes our job a joy to do!

We have some bittersweet news that we must share as well. Our beloved Paco, the horse that started it all and my very best friend, passed over the Rainbow Bridge on Father's Day morning. While his big heart and kind spirit remained strong, his body was failing him rapidly and it is suspected that he had a tumor or growth in the spinal column. We said goodbye to him in the cool of the morning after filling his belly with carrots and his favorite apple turnovers. As he passed, a butterfly landed on his halter...paused...and flew away. I believe our boy was escorted on beautiful peaceful wings as he made his passage. I couldn't have wanted more for him, he deserved it for all he has done! 

Our Shadow, the adorable 8 year old Appaloosa gelding, has been adopted with our blessing by the Andres family. Shadow is a darling horse, but he much prefers to have his own person and be a family horse. Will and Grace have loved him since the day he arrived and have sponsored his care and feeding for the past two years. We couldn't have picked a better home for him! It's even better because he is just 25 feet away!

We have begun laying the foundations for some new programming here since the spring. One is our Books in the Barnyard program, which will be a fundraising project that promotes literacy in partnership with the horses. Another is our Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy program which is being piloted right now. Earlier this month we began offering Recreational Therapy for clients at Broome Development Center and are looking forward to expanding that as well.

As you can see, it has been a very busy spring around here! The classroom is complete, we have a restroom and full tack room, the arena is leveled and filled, new horses, gardens, new! And we couldn't have done it without you. Our donors and sponsors allow us to provide this programming at no charge, which is vital in our community with so many unemployed and still displaced from the flooding of September 2011. You truly have helped make dreams come true for so many children and adults. Please continue to follow our adventures on our Facebook page and website in between updates here on GlobalGiving! 

On behalf of the students, volunteers and horses of Borrowed Freedom...THANK YOU!


Colleen Cheechalk

Dusty hard at work!
Dusty hard at work!
Working hard on Dumplin
Working hard on Dumplin' on a rain day!



Borrowed Freedom Equine Assisted Therapies and Activities, Inc.
1912 Nanticoke Drive 
Endicott, NY 13760

Good morning friends! 

This is a very exciting update to write, so much GOOD has happened since the last progress report!

First of all, I want to personally thank each and every one of you for your generous support during the Winter Open Challenge. You deserve all the thanks for the years of laughter, therapy and fun for hundreds of children and adults in the years to come. 

Our third year will officially launch on May 5th, when we dedicate the therapy room and introduce our families, volunteers and therapists to Dumplin'. I have attached a photo of him, but it doesn't do him justice! Please make sure you stop by our website at next week for more photos of Dumplin' and of the therapy room too. The room is still under construction, the walls and ceiling still need to be finished and we need to put in the seasonal restroom, but we can use and enjoy it now. I have to paint my barn mural on the large wall and finish our cut out horse as well, but with Dumplin' all decked out and so much fun to use, no one notices the big white wall!

Knowing that I never have to cancel another lesson or therapy session is such an incredible feeling. It also opens up opportunities for clients who couldn't otherwise participate in activities here on the farm. This year we will be able to continue our programming into the winter months...and ride all year long. And it is all because of you!

Once again, thank you. Thank you all so very, very much. Our volunteers, therapists and most of all...the children...thank you too! Please be sure to visit our website next week for progress photos and the official introduction of Dumplin'!

Best Wishes!

Colleen Cheechalk
Founder and Program Director



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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
Vestal, New York United States

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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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