Making Friends at Fieldstone Farms

Students with multiple disabilities form lasting bonds as they learn to feed, groom and ride their new best friends. 

Making Friends at Fieldstone Farms

Every week, students from Mercer’s multiple disabilities classroom look forward to visiting their friends at Fieldstone Farms. These gentle giants, who stand on four legs, offer unconditional support and encouragement to the students as they learn how to groom and feed them, and eventually, ride them.

The Fieldstone Farm staff is specially trained to work with students with autism, Down syndrome, and multiple disabilities– and so are the horses. The Foundation underwrites the cost of the program for students to attend. 

Many of the horses are retired from showing, racing, or fieldwork, and they are paired with each student based on their unique personality and temperament. While riding, the students work on balance poses, commands, cross-body movements, verbal directions, counting, phonics, matching, and maneuvering. 

Says Mercer intervention specialist Cara Fantone, “The students ask about the horses while at school and are extremely excited and motivated to go to the farm. Many of the students refer to “their” horse as their best friend.”