Harmony Farms enlists veterans, seniors for new programs
Art Berger, a veteran, volunteers at Harmony Farms. Harmony Farms offers special volunteer opportunities for veterans and seniors. Harmony Farms is located on Pluckebaum Road in Cocoa.
Courtesy of Harmony Farms
Being around horses can make even the worst day a good day. Harmony Farms, an equine-assisted therapeutic riding facility in Cocoa, is launching two programs aimed at veterans and seniors.
For veterans who might be struggling with loneliness, stress or other issues, Harmony Farms offers special volunteer opportunities.
“We go through the screening process and medical clearance with them, just as we do with our other clients,” said Pam Rogan, the founder and executive director of the riding facility that has served riders with disabilities for 27 years.
Veterans are encouraged to participate on Mondays or Wednesdays — slower days at the farm. But, they are welcome at any time if those days are not suitable to their schedules.
“We give them the opportunity to spend all the time they want with the horses and teach them to groom and lead them if they want, or they can just spend time helping out in the stalls,” Rogan said.
Rogan hopes to eventually form a veterans’ drill team from these volunteers.
Harmony Farms also plans to start a Senior Program that allows older volunteers time with the 12 gentle horses at the stables.
“We’re putting feelers out in the community to see if this is something of interest,” Rogan said.
Rogan is looking to include mini-horses, those dog-sized bundles of equine charm, in the Senior Program since the tiny creatures might prove less intimidating than the full-size variety. All the horses at Harmony Farms are donated and each animal is vetted for good nature and the patience to deal with inexperienced riders and handlers.
Harmony Farms already offers a donation-based “Bucket Wish List Program” that has drawn participants from all age groups.
“We’ve had 90 year olds who wanted to get back on a horse, or just pet, groom and walk a horse, and 30 year olds with terminal cancer who wanted one last ride,” Rogan said.
The amazing horses at Harmony Farms can do amazing things for humans, be they young or old, and Rogan wants to make them as accessible as possible to all age groups.
For more information on these Harmony Farms programs, call Rogan at 321-704-3853. The stables are located at 2205 Pluckebaum Road in Cocoa. For more information, go to harmonyfarmsinc.com.