My daughter was in the hippotherapy program at Journey’s End Farm throughout the summer. This program was extremely positive and beneficial for her. Every week I was amazed at the effect hippotherapy had on her behavior, speech development and physical abilities. At the beginning of the summer she had a very limited vocabulary but soon “horse” and “Tiger” became common words. I watched her physically transform from a wobbly rider who needed considerable support to a confident strong child who sat up straight and moved her body with the horse. All of the volunteers who worked with my daughter were gentle, kind and supportive. Tootie’s commitment went above and beyond expectations and required a lot of time and coordination. Horses are magical! This program is a blessing.
--Melanie, Parent of Hippotherapy Participant
We are grateful to Tootie and the Journey's End team for their kindness, patience and professional insights. The summer hippotherapy program improved our son's balance, coordination and strength. In addition, he displays more confidence, and his bond with the horses has helped regulate some negative behaviors. Tootie loves her work, and we love her!
--Sean H., Parent of Hippotherapy participant
"Our son has done hippotherapy since he was 1 and a half years old. He said his first words on a horse and he walked two weeks after his first hippotherapy session. Needless to say, we are firm believers in the benefits provided by therapy with a horse and a trained therapist like Tootie! We have done hippotherapy with Tootie for two summers now. She finds a great balance between pushing our child to produce results while at the same time making it a fun experience for him. He loves the experience, we see results, it is a win-win situation!"
--Mother of a son with Dup15q and Autism
My son (age 5) loved hippotherapy over the summer! He is not usually very verbal, however, he spoke the whole time he was with the horse, and most of the way home. His balance improved immensely in just 9 sessions. He is much more balanced on the stairs and is even trying to jump on the trampoline now, rather than just sitting on it. Tootie was very professional and kind. She loves working with both children and horses. I'm so glad that we were able to participate in this program.
I have known Tootie for 6 years. Throughout that time, she has been very helpful with my various horse issues. Zoom is my rescued PMU horse who has been a tricky horse behaviorally for years. Tootie helped me with her training by teaching both of us how to long line. She helped me start the horse under saddle, and in doing so was very patient with both of us. I learned a lot from these sessions. After Zoom was trained for riding, she developed some strange behavioral patterns and unidentifiable lameness with her hind end. Tootie encouraged me to have a vet do some bloodwork on her, and we discovered that my horse has muscle disease. Tootie’s knowledge of the use of supplements and exercises to do on Zoom have kept her sound for her new job. In addition, when I had to retire my old horse Chippy, Tootie went with me to a breeder and asked questions I would not thought of. She steered me away from a horse who had a potential soundness issue, and helped me choose a wonderful companion who is sound and willing. Tootie helped me get his walk more perfect for the show ring and helped me with him at his first show. Any time I have had a question with regards to the training or health of my horses, she has been my first call. Her help and knowledge of horses is invaluable to my herd.
--Susan Baer, CPA, Ghent, NY
Horse “People” know the really great other horse “People.” In October of 2006 I adopted a thoroughbred off of the track from a private Thoroughbred farm in Brimfield, Massachusetts. I thought because she came from a private farm she would NOT have all of the issues thoroughbreds off of the track are said to have. Wow was I in for a surprise. She was just turning seven years old. Her name was Scandously Fast and that was an understatement! We called her “Scandi.” We tried everything we could think of over the next Ten months. She would strike out whenever you would even try to brush her flank, shoe her, and tighten her cinch. Her eyes reflected fear! She clearly had not had positive experiences with humans nor had she had the experience of just being a horse. One day I was talking to my friend Dot Hempler who manages Ashley’s Barn. She told me about a friend of hers who she considered to be a wonderful horse woman who was an accomplished rider who always advocated for the horse. I called “TOOTIE” and much to my good fortune she had a stall available. We met and spoke for 2 hours. She took me on a tour of Journey’s End and introduced me to her horses. It only took me 5 minutes of observing her interactions with these horses when I knew I wanted Scandi to come to Tootie to regain her “mental health” and deal with her fear. I paid weekly visits from August 1, 2007 thru April 1, 2008. With love, patience, consistency and “horse sense” I saw a fearful and people soured horse gain trust, enjoy being groomed, willingly accepting a saddle and standing quietly for the farrier ! Today Scandi is enjoying Dressage with her special person Shayla. Thanks Tootie! --Gerry McQuoid, Former Boarder, RN, Pittsfield, MA
The care that Tootie provides at Optimus Farm is wonderful, and her dedication and attention to detail with regard to horses, horsemanship and horse health issues is phenomenal. Several years ago, I was unexpectedly forced to leave the only boarding facility I had ever used. During my search for a new home for my horse, I was lucky enough to find Journey’s End, a great place for us. Jake was a very special rescue horse who was treated like a king there. After he passed away, Tootie successfully helped me to find my next horse, J.B.. I would recommend her services to any horse person in need of help!
-- David Tobin, Former Boarder, New York, NY