Which New Gate Will Open For You?

At age 3, Michael would stand on the fence and watch neighbor’s horses by the barn or in the meadow for an hour or so while his friends played nearby. This was quite remarkable for Michael since he had nonstop energy and it was hard for him to be attentive to anything else for even 5 minutes. Maybe, while on that fence, he was hopeful of a time when he would be with the horses more or even ride.


Michael and Patrick - through the Open Gate

Today, Michael Serocki is a tall strong 18-year-old young man who often stands besides horses in great respect and love for his favorite animal. And it has been like that for as long as his mother can remember.

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Thorncroft Saved Our Son's Life

We say this often. Sebastian was born prematurely. It was a poetically long, hard yet beautiful first year of life and by the end of that first year we were participating in ten therapies a week...  making close to no progress. We were heartbroken when at his first year visit to the pediatrician we said "no" to his every single question.

At 11 months of age...  Sebastian started riding at Thorncroft. He is the youngest rider they have ever had. Within four months of starting on his favorite pony Bruno, Sebastian started walking and talking. There is no question what made the difference - it was the riding. It was as if his body woke up. There is no pain quite like seeing your child struggle to do the most basic tasks. Thorncroft took this pain away from our family.

Sebastian is doing great now. He is in a full day Kindergarten. He loves reading, math, soccer and his horse. He has come so far since that first day on Bruno; yet we will never forget what helped him get there. We will be forever grateful to Thorncroft for enabling Sebastian to meet his full potential.

-Kevin & Melissa Bilash


Welcome to Holland

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand, to imagine how it would feel.

It’s like this...

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum, the Michelangelo, David, the gondolas of Venice, you may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives.

You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later the plane lands and the stewardess comes in to say, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!" you say.

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Living In The Moment, You Are Free

Our students come to us from all walks of life....  with and without special needs. Some can afford the therapy we offer, others are invited to participate through our scholarship program. Each student brings their own special gift to the Farm.


The walk towards freedom.

Louisa shares her thoughts....

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New Beginnings

Our son, Paul, has been riding weekly at Thorncroft for over 20 years, since he was four. He was born with cerebral palsy and normally gets around in a wheelchair. But for thirty minutes each week he gets to ride around on a big, gentle horse. Usually it’s Sadie, but over the years it’s also been Liebling, Dillon, Joker, Daffodil, Arthur, Hank, Angel, Penny, Milkshake, Osage, Neal, Farnley, Buffalo Bill, and Nugget, to name just a few.

When Paul first started to ride, he was tense and tight and scared. He needed to have an adult sit on the horse with him. Just getting him to stay on for a while was a big deal. But over time he has come to love to ride.

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Listen For My Bell

For many years the Scanlon family has been coming to Thorncroft, bringing their daughter Jessica to ride with Mr. D. Jess now gets on her horse from the mounting block and rides across the arena with little help from Mr. D or our volunteers.


Jess and Saunders Dixon

Jess has autism - her sister Erica was Miss New Jersey and has since gone on to perform on stage in New York. Her passion however is to continue to educate people about autism.

The road for this family has been full of major hurdles and miracles. Jim and Marilyn continue to support their girls and guide them to their current successes.

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The Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

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Tory's Letter

Tory is the daughter of our 2006 Victory Gallop Co-Chairs Steve and Carol. She and her sister Katie have been riding at Thorncroft for over 10 years. Tory wrote the letter for the Victory Gallop invitation but for those of you who may miss it, we’d like to share it with you here.

“Thorncroft will always have a very special place in my heart. It is more than simply a place to ride and appreciate horses. Thorncroft is family to me. The heart and soul of Thorncroft is its founder, Saunders Dixon. Growing up in the Quaker faith, Mr. Dixon developed enormous respect and love for all living things. For the past 35 years, he has been the source of hope, inspiration and determination to hundreds of able-bodied and disabled riders at Thorncroft and beyond. His dedication to heal and strengthen the human spirit through horseback riding has enriched the lives of many. Through his selflessness, compassion for others, and deep humility, he serves as a role model for the countless people whose lives he has forever changed.

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