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Meet Mango & Belle

Meet Mango & Belle

Categories: Blog, Featured News

Wheatley Farms & Arts Center recently launched a new endeavor—”Horses 101.” During this community class, 12 people supported by AHRC Day Services learned about and cared for the farms’ two new resident ponies, Mango and Belle.

On the first week of “Horses 101,” people were introduced to the basics of animal safety, how to work with ponies, care for them, and overall best practices on tending to the mares.

Sophie Hoffman and a staff member pose with one of Wheatley Farms' new horses, Mango & Belle The course is an introduction to equine therapy at Wheatley Farms and part of a larger initiative for the Wheatley Farms Program Without Walls (PWW). The intent of these immersive experiences in nature and the arts is to introduce people with disabilities to lifelong skills that will benefit them in different aspects of their lives.

Sophie Hoffman, who is part of the Wheatley Farms PWW looked forward to time with the horses. Following a class, Sophie shared takeaways, “I learned that we never go behind a horse and we pet them from the side.”

For Sophie, the opportunity to connect with the ponies was a thrill in and of itself.

“I like Belle. When she runs and eats the grass, she’s so cute,” said Sophie.

While the “Horses 101” course is the first of its kind at Wheatley Farms, members of the PWW gained experience caring for horses during their time at HorseAbility, a center for equine-facilitated programs in Old Westbury. Now they will have the opportunity to engage in a similar way with horses, with the added benefit of being engaged in horticulture—providing a more holistic experience with nature.

Overall, the program supports 40 people who participate in a mix of classes taught by Farm Manager Allison Glass and Assistant Farm Manager Kim Nistal. Together, they have developed lessons tailored to people with I/DD, teaching everything from soils and seeds to the changing seasons and how to spot wildlife.