By Jill Diver
BOXFORD — For more than 40 years, Windrush Farm has been teaching physically, emotionally and learning disabled children and adults to ride and work with horses.
But running a horse farm isn’t cheap. That’s why Windrush’s annual Family Festival is so important. It helps pay for the many programs the farm offers to its 300 clients.
This year, Windrush Farm has an added cost to cover, as it recently purchased more of the land in North Andover and Boxford that it sits on.
“This was a $3.5 million dollar capital campaign,” said Jennifer Tartaglia, development director of Windrush Farm.
The annual Family Festival will be held this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It will include food, live bands, games, crafts, pony rides and raffles. The parking fee is $5, and all money benefits Windrush Farm riding programs.
“Anyone who wants to come to the farm can,” Tartaglia said. “We usually have 1,000 people who come, and the money we raise goes to support the kids.”
The programs the farm offers its clients can help improve balance and coordination.
“We have women who struggle with multiple sclerosis, and this helps them have a social experience with sports,” Tartaglia said.
Programs like therapuetic riding are for ages 7 and up.
“It uses the movement of the horse and it also exercises the riders,” Tartaglia said. “The lesson is usually for one hour a week, and can involve an occupational therapist to help manipulate the rider while they are on the horses.”
Tartaglia said the farm’s 275 volunteers are critical in helping to assist Windrush’s many clients.
“The program is heavily dependent on volunteers,” she said. “We are always looking for more volunteers.”
This story ran in the Eagle-Tribune on June 3, 2010