Horsing Around

Touchstone Farm is a thriving not-for-profit tucked away in the beautifully quaint town of Temple, New Hampshire whose mission is to “Provide transformative opportunities which positively change lives”. This week, I met with Touchstone’s founder, Boo Martin, who told me the many different ways they are working to accomplish just that!

Touchstone Farm is located on a historic property which was deeded in 1754. It is home to between 35-70 horses (depending on time of year), farm animals such as bunnies, chickens, sheep and goats, and a second home to many human lives who are impacted by the work of the farm.

The Farm has four main offerings including a Pony Farm Summer Camp which is a specialty riding camp in its 47th year. The program is accredited by the American Camping Association and sees campers from ages 8-14 increase their riding knowledge and skills. Boo said there are now second and third generation campers attending!

Touchstone also offers riding and carriage driving lessons and has been doing so for 42 years. All skill levels and ages are welcome and help riders become the rider that they want to be. Boo tells me that “There is a horse for everyone!” Individuals have different goals varying from achieving basic competence on horseback for trail riding to rediscovering a favorite activity from their childhood and are matched with the appropriate instructor, lesson level, and horse to help them achieve their goals.

The unique “Banked Barn”, accessible from all three levels!

Horse Power is the therapeutic riding program offered at Touchstone. This program helps clients with physical, cognitive, and mental health issues to relate in ways that they may not readily do otherwise. Horses can often aid in increased learning and communication as individuals begin to identify closely with them. This program helps individuals make positive changes and grow!

One of Touchstone’s riding rings

The fourth offering of Touchstone is their Veteran and Family Care program. This program has been in place for eleven years and helps provides weekend respite services to veterans and their families. Kris Young, Director of Farm Operations, showed me around the on-site lodge which provides a cozy environment for families and individuals to connect with nature and rejuvenate.

The horses at Touchstone are well-trained and well-provided and cared for and the staff is second to none! A robust board of directors, professional staff, and ample volunteers and donors are the backbone of Touchstone Farm.

I asked Boo what she loves about living in the Souhegan Valley (she lives down the road from the farm in Temple) and she said she enjoys knowing her neighbors, she loves the familiarity and connection amongst people in this area. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” Boo says and she is grateful for the support and camaraderie that this area has to offer.

I also asked Boo about her involvement with the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce. Touchstone Farm recently held a Business After Hours that was a joint event with the Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. It was a fun evening indeed, and I overheard one excited guest say that it felt warm and cheery like he was attending “…A holiday party”. I couldn’t have agreed with him more! Touchstone Farm joined the Souhegan Valley Chamber five years ago and Boo tells me, “Our business has been greatly enhanced by the Souhegan Valley Chamber of Commerce.” She utilizes many of the resources in the Chamber from purchasing insurance, to making community connections. She also said she shops with Chamber members for signage, graphic design, printing needs, radio needs, and much more! She has been able to learn a lot through the many education programs offered and the ample knowledge of Wendy Hunt and Beth Boggis. She also has been active in the non-profit leader circle and has found that to be highly beneficial as well.

Of course, I cannot leave you without a fun fact. Boo is a positive, warm, and genuine woman with a twinkle in her eye –definitely not a “nay-sayer” ;).  Perhaps the most fun fact is that this farm has been in Boo’s family since she was a child and she grew up on it! While many renovations have been made, much of the original wallpaper, woodwork, and even a really cool bedroom with original stenciling is still featured.

The farm gates at Touchstone Farm are always open regardless of age, ability, or pocketbook!

Boo also wants to express a huge, “Thank you” for those who supported them in their recent Denims and Diamonds Fall Fundraiser, the proceeds of which will help to enhance the property, keep year-round staff, and give older horses specialized care.

If you have a love for horses and a desire to learn and grow, or simply interact with them in a natural setting more, I highly encourage you to visit Touchstone Farm in Temple, NH!

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