The Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation (MFBF) recently honored 33 horse farms and stables statewide with the designation of “Massachusetts Farm Bureau 2014 Horse Farm of Distinction”, and Windrush Farm of North Andover and Boxford was one of the chosen.
Windrush Farm is a nonprofit horse farm specializing in teaching physically, emotionally, and learning disabled children and adults to ride and work with horses. Each year, Windrush provides an array of educational services and therapeutic activities to more than 1,770 children and adults – and their families. Founded in 1964, Windrush Farm was one of the first programs to provide equine assisted activities and therapies in the US and is celebrating 50 years of service.
In announcing the 2014 honorees, MFBF President, Dr. A. Richard Bonanno of Methuen called the 33 farms selected “the cream of the crop” and added, “These farms present to the public a safe and professional image. They truly showcase the horse industry in Massachusetts for the public.”
The 6,000 members Massachusetts Farm Bureau Federation represents farmers involved in all facets of Agriculture. The “Horse Farm of Distinction” program began in 1990 to recognize and present the public those horse farms and stables, which set high standards and achieve a level of excellence in overall horse health, farm management and compliance with public safety.
Judging for new applicants was conducted at each farm by teams of horse industry professionals, and representatives of Farm Bureau’s affiliates served on each team.
Scoring for overall horse health represented half of the points accumulated, and included appearance of the animals together with evidence of a sound equine health program. The judges also evaluated neatness, ventilation, cleanliness and safety of buildings, land and equipment. Safety, first aid and fire protection programs were scored, as well as pest control and adequate provision, both indoors and outdoors, for the care of horses.
Farms were also judged on evidence of good farm/community relations, proper and adequate insurance coverage, and compliance with state and local operating and instructing licenses. The extensive schedule of judging started in August and ran through November. The farms being honored achieved a final scoring of at least 85% using the judging scorecard. Windrush Farm scored a 99%.
“Our horses are the stars of the program and it’s critical for us that our horse management is of the highest caliber,” shares Windrush Barn Manager, Megan Piermarini. “It is an honor to receive such a prestigious award.”