Strongwater Farm began when founder MJ Marcucci transformed an old cattle barn into an equine therapeutic farm. A lifelong horse lover, Marcucci knew horses held a special power to promote healing. The program initially focused on hospital patients, but later opened its services to the wider community.
Today, the facility serves individuals from all walks of life, catering its unique approach to therapy to those with special needs, disabilities and other conditions. Program Director Kassandra Kehoe says she was hooked the moment she set foot on the 12-acre farm.
“I was looking for an alternative to traditional clinical settings and boy did I find it,” she says, with a laugh. “This place and its holistic approach to therapy changed my perspective of what I could do with my degree.”
Kassandra credits the idyllic farm setting and its team of equine assistants for the program’s success. “It’s easier to meet goals when it doesn’t feel like therapy or work,” she explains. “Clients achieve their individualized goals at a far more rapid pace than in a clinical setting.”
Since its inception, thousands of children and adults in the greater-Boston area have benefited from the non-profit’s care, including Lindsay, a survivor of a brutal domestic assault that left her in a coma for nearly a year.
“When I woke up, I was essentially a new baby all over again,” Lindsay recalls, noting that she had to relearn how to walk. At the recommendation of a rehab therapist, Lindsay connected with Strongwater, with the aim of improving her core strength. Two years later, the 32-year-old is no longer wheelchair bound. She credits Strongwater and a horse named Karl for the transformation.
“Riding him changed my core strength for the better and helped me understand my own body movements,” she explains. “I am so incredibly thankful for Strongwater and the positive impact it’s had on my unexpected road to recovery.”