Horses are healing.
Time and again, Jason and Brittany Fisher have witnessed how horses have had a therapeutic effect on the visitors to Blue Horseshoe Farm
. They have seen the veteran who needed a respite. The girl with a sick parent who used the farm to refocus. Another girl who was diagnosed with depression and is now happier and does better in school.
“Her self-confidence is back. Her smiles are back,” Jason says.
Blue Horseshoe Farm
offers riding lessons, trail rides and camps to all, but he also wants the farm to be an “enduring resource for wellness.” The farm’s charitable arm, called Hoofbeats and Heartbeats Equine Therapy, provides equine-assisted services, with a focus on veterans, people with special needs and their families.
“We don’t have beaches here, but we do have horses and trails that do offer you a respite from everyday life,” Jason says.
Blue Horseshoe Farm
got its start five years ago after the Fishers purchased 11 acres at 3050 Troy Road in German Twp. The farm now owns six horses and boards another four. Both experienced riders and newcomers are welcome, with some starting as young as three or four years old.
The farm also is home to an indoor riding arena, and trail rides are led onto an adjacent 110 acres owned by a neighbor and protected by the Tecumseh Land Trust.
Jason Fisher retired from the Air Force in 2009 after 20 years and now also works as a defense contractor. He attended Fairborn High School and Wright State University but met his wife in Virginia Beach, where she grew up. She introduced him to horseback riding, and he soon learned that horses are in tune with their rider’s emotions and have a calming influence.
Brittany Fisher began riding horses two decades ago, after attending a summer horseback riding camp when she was 10. She fell in love with the animals, and now passes on that passion. Some of the high schoolers who ride at the farm want to pursue that interest, too, such as one who wants to become an equine veterinarian.
“I’m happy that what we’re doing here is inspiring the next generation,” she says.
Whether someone is riding or simply petting a horse, the connection is soothing and relaxing. There is an “unspoken magic,” she says. Plus, horses help people learn how to deal with others and teach riders about strength and boundaries.
“Believe it or not, horses can teach you a lot about human nature,” she says.
Jason says that the farm’s focus isn’t competitions or becoming a show barn. Brittany adds that the farm’s goal lies in helping riders relax, decompress and get in tune with nature again.
The most rewarding part is when she watches someone connect with the horses rather than seeing them as tools. Those horses have feelings and emotions like the rest of us, and seeing the energy and happiness when they form a bond feeds her soul, says Brittany, who is the executive director of Hoofbeats and Heartbeats Equine Therapy. Jason is secretary of the organization, which will be selecting new board members next year.
“She has a gift of making every student feel comfortable,” Jason says of his wife, who took training to become a special-needs instructor. The farm’s return on investment is the smiles they see and the lives that are changed, he says.
“It’s our passion,” he says. “It’s our mission to continue to do what we do.”
The vision of Hoofbeats and Heartbeats Equine Therapy is to provide low- or no-cost rides to veterans and their families. The nonprofit also is collaborating with the local branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, covering Clark, Greene and Madison counties, to introduce equine therapy to others.
Jason encourages veterans and people with special needs to visit the farm and give the horses a chance to heal them.
“We’re just facilitators in that,” Jason says. “The horses do the work.”