Hearts & Horses Farm
      & Therapeutic 
      Riding Center
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Name:               Hearts & Horses Farm &

                           Therapeutic Riding Center

Address:            Stephanie Keene

                           Hearts & Horses

                           63 Justin Merrill Road

                           Buxton, Maine 04093

Email:                hnhtrc@sacoriver.net

Phone:               207-929-4700

Website:             www.heartsnhorses.org

Products and Services:

-therapeutic horse riding

-private, semi-private, group lessons



-trail rides

-special events

-summer camp

-birthday parties

-breeding services and sales

What Makes Hearts & Horses Farm Unique?

Maine is blessed with an abundance of horse farms.  Unique Maine Farms has profiled four very different equine-focused farms. Each one

of the farms that is part of this project has been highlighted for the specific role that horses play at their particular farm.  It is the wide array of therapeutic horse riding offerings that will be featured in the profile of the Hearts & Horses Farm and Therapeutic Riding Center.

Stephanie Keene and a group of dedicated volunteers founded Hearts & Horses as a non-profit corporation in 1905.  They believed that

introducing the riding and care of horses to people living with physical, emotional, and developmental disabilities would provide

fulfillment and some very meaningful experiences.  They already knew how this type of riding program was proven to develop self-perception, concentration, and a sense of

accomplishment and empowerment.

Horses had always played a prominent role in Stephanie Keene’s life.  Her great grandfather, Earl Keene, raised Morgan horses and operated one of the first indoor arenas in the state of Maine. Her parents bred and raised quarter horses at the Keene’s Painted Horse Farm.  Many years ago when Stephanie was employed as a riding instructor, a physical therapist asked her to introduce riding to children with cerebral palsy.  The results that achieved were so meaningful that Stephanie began her journey to help individuals with disabilities.  She has continued to expand her knowledge and experiences by exploring various methods that have proven successful on both a national and international level.

While some people unfamiliar with therapeutic horse riding might never conceive of the scenario of a person with physical disabilities being able to ride a horse, it most definitely can take place thanks to individuals who have undergone appropriate training.  Therapeutic horse riding is known to improve balance, muscle tone, and range of motion and strength.  The sensory integration provided through a horse assists riders with learning disabilities and cognitive challenges. 

Stephanie and the certified instructors at Hearts and Horses have worked with individuals challenged with many conditions including autism, Down Syndrome, Turette’s, cerebral palsy, psychotherapeutic issues, traumatic brain injuries, sensory disorders, multiple sclerosis, stroke, blindness, amputations, and undiagnosed developmental delays.

Three farms profiled in the Unique Maine Farms’ project focused on helping individuals with emotional problems.  Individuals who have the opportunity to experience a farm setting often seem to be able to benefit from forming relationships with the animals. Hearts and Horses Farm has also experienced success with their use of horses in helping individuals with emotional issues to work through their difficulties and learn to understand their horse, and then, as a result better understand themselves.

Hearts & Horses Farm collaborates with many

other therapeutic horse riding centers who are members of PATH - the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship.

PATH focuses on a variety of therapeutic horse programs including hippotherapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy, driving, vaulting, and competition.  Stephanie Keene trained with PATH and received her instructor certification. There are five PATH and NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association) certified instructors at Hearts and Horses Farm.

Stephanie’s commitment to therapeutic riding has encouraged her to branch out and become involved in many programs.  She is the Vice President of NESAR (New England Special

Activities and Resources).  She helped to get the Maine State Equestrian Special Olympics off the ground and still serves as a member of

the NESAR committee.  She also helps to facilitate and train with the certification of other coaches.

The EAGALA program has been highly regarded at Hearts and Horses Farm.  EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) is a non-profit organization which concentrates on the resources, education, and professionalism in the field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.  Hearts and Horses Riding Center hosted the National Conference of EAGALA in October of 2012.  Stephanie is Level 2 Certified in EAGALA. 

Other certifications which Stephanie holds includes Bal-a-Vis X Level 1 &2 & Adaptive Certified.  She is a MHRT 2 (Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician).  Recently she earned her certification with the Tall Grass Institute for Equine acupressure.  She is also Certified Brain Gym, Certified Reiki Master, Certified Violet Flame Reiki, Certified Quan Yin’s Lavender Flame Reiki, and is a Masgutova Method MNRI Core Specialist.

Besides running Hearts and Horses Farm,

Stephanie has trained as a veterinary technician. She is a certified blacksmith and iron forger, a Certified Animal Chiropractor, and a Level 2 Centered Riding Instructor.

It seems somewhat daunting to think about all the certifications that Stephanie has earned and the activities with which she is involved.  It would be negligent to overlook the most important work with which she has been involved - the raising of her five children - Julien, Rachel, Marley, Rhyse, and Ryder.

While the focus of this profile has centered around the therapeutic horse riding taking place at Hearts & Horses Farm, there are several other programs that are also offered.  Public trail riding on over one hundred acres is enjoyed by many horse lovers.  Private, semi-private, and group lessons are available.  The boarding and leasing of horses are possible at the Farm.  Photos and information about the various horses which are available for sale can be viewed on the farm’s website: www.heartsandhorses.org

Hearts and Horses Farm has developed a reputation for their Gypsy horses.  This breed of horses are known for their long feathering on their legs and their flowing manes. They are considered to be a rather colorful breed that was developed by the Romanichal peoples from Ireland and the British Isles.  They were nomadic people who traveled with horse-drawn caravans.  Diamond Cutter’s Eli is a registered Gypsy stallion who was imported from England and who is highly regarded for breeding services.

During the summer, several horse camp programs are offered at Hearts & Horses Farm including Horsemanship Camp, Half Pint Camp, Jumping Camp, Rodeo Camp, and Teen Girl Camp.  Hearts and Horses Farm also offers birthday parties at the farm where pony rides are offered and a party room is available.  Traveling pony rides can be scheduled for parades, schools, corporate parties, and events.

Specialized clinics with topics such as Natural Horsemanship, Equine Acupressure, Equine Massage, Rider’s Seat, and Centered Riding frequently take place at Hearts and Horses Farm.  There are also dressage/schooling shows. The Herrnann’s Royal Lipazzan Stallions will return to Hearts & Horses Farm on September 6,7, and 8, in 2013.

Individuals interested in volunteering at Hearts and Horses Farm are encouraged to contact the Farm.  There is always a need for leaders and side walkers to help the riders with class activities. Volunteering opportunities include office assistance, coordination of special events, and fundraising.  The qualifications to become a volunteer include a sense of humor, a commitment of about one-and-a-half hours per week, a desire to learn about horses, and an interest in helping others.

Hearts and Horses Farm and Therapeutic Riding Center  shares some similar aspects with other horse farms.  It stands apart in the way it has become a home to an all-inclusive farm program where people and horses look forward to welcoming all individuals in spite of their physical, emotional, or developmental disabilities.

Barn &

Marley and her Mom, Stephanie Keene.