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Touchstone names Horse of Year

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Touchstone Farm announces that Gruffy, the farm’s 12-year-old Clydesdale, is the 2014 Horse Power Horse of the Year.

Horse Power is the farm’s therapeutic riding and carriage driving program for children and adults coping with physical, emotional, cognitive, or behavioral challenges. Every year at the annual volunteer appreciation dinner, the Horse Power volunteers cast votes for the horse they think has gone above and beyond for Horse Power clients.

Gruffy, who stands six feet high at the withers and weighs about 2,000 pounds, was donated to Touchstone Farm in 2012. His former owners wanted their intelligent and friendly draft horse to live on a working farm where he would be engaged by lots of activity and having a job to do.

At Touchstone Farm, Gruffy is a riding and carriage driving horse both in Horse Power and in the traditional programs. This year, he excelled in two new Horse Power programs that employ equine facilitated psychotherapy. In a weeklong residential program, Gruffy works in EFP sessions with veterans coping with the trauma of war. Gruffy partners with adolescent boys dealing with post-traumatic stress in weekly sessions that are part of research the farm is conducting with Tufts University and the Wediko School. In both programs, it is obvious to staff and volunteers that Gruffy’s unique personality and “gentle giant” manner are extremely beneficial to clients doing difficult emotional work.

For his work, Gruffy received a certificate of appreciation that will be posted on the farm’s Horse Power Wall of Fame. He also received a bag of carrots, which he ate on the spot.

Touchstone Farm, home of Horse Power and Pony Farm, is a nonprofit educational and therapeutic organization that fosters a community of belonging for people of all ages, abilities and backgrounds. Touchstone Farm offers a rich and challenging variety of experiences, which includes summer camps, able-bodied and therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving lessons, training and certification workshops, and equine-related specialty weekends. Grounded in a sense of place, mutual respect and well-being, the 28-acre farm is a sanctuary that nurtures connections, cooperation, self-confidence, and personal growth.

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