About Us

Mission Statement:

We are a program for human survivors of trauma to rehabilitate rescued equines with the use of positive reinforcement training.

We currently provide sanctuary for 6 horses (4 drafts, a pony and a mini), 2 donkeys, 2 sheep, 3 ferrets and 2 cats. All of the animals come from a variety of life threatening situations and are overcoming the emotional trauma that comes with neglect or abuse. We have a wonderful team of students and volunteers ranging from kids to adults. Both the animals and the humans are provided with a mutual therapeutic
experience. With the study of learning theory and neuroscience we are able to better understand ourselves, our interactions with our peers, and our animal friends. This is also beneficial for our young students learning about bullies. Learning ethical ways to work with animals teaches a number of life skills, responsibility and empathy to people of all ages.

About the farm:

Empowered Equines is currently located at our home farm in York, ME. Nestled on the river is our 8 stall barn which houses our wonderful rescue horses, donkeys, sheep and hens, with plenty of paddocks and our favorite place, the agility ring! 

Our Vision:
We have many goals for our program, we aim to be a special part of our local community and provide education about ethical animal keeping.

Animals: While we are an equine rescue, we’ll focus on donkeys, mules, hinnies, and draft horses - animals frequently left behind or overlooked by other rescue organizations. We’ll also open our doors, as we are able, to another frequently overlooked group, small farm animals, sheep, goats, and pigs in particular.

Rehabilitation: With the combination of volunteers, students, and staff we’ll work to rehabilitate the rescued animals physically, emotionally, and behaviorally. With proper medical care, nutrition, and daily life most animals will thrive. From here emotional and behavioral modifications can be made with positive reinforcement training.

Rehome: We hope to be active in finding new, wonderful homes for our rescued animals. We’ll have two educational options available for adoptions, to ensure our animals go to caring and knowledgeable homes. Those who can’t be placed in a new home, due to physical, emotional or behavioral restraints will be offered lifetime sanctuary and care.

Humans: Along side our animal rescue we will have a number of community and educational programs for people of all ages. We will be a place of mutual healing, for human and animal survivors of trauma. We also plan to have a large community garden and farm animal care program, working with group homes, preschools and nursing homes.

About Jessica:

Horses have been my love and obsession since I first ever laid eyes on one in person. I wanted to ride them, hug them, groom them, know every ounce of information I could get my hands on. As a child I bounced from discipline to discipline in a constant search for something better. A gentler way to communicate. I rode every style for several years each but I didn't find the relationship I was looking for until I started volunteering at a rescue. I surrounded myself with old, broken horses who taught me more than I ever imagined. I carried on my equine career working as a carriage driver, therapeutic riding instructor, managing lesson and show farms, teaching riding to hunter/jumpers and Dressage riders. I loved being with horses, but things always felt off, too much force, too much drive, horses who didn't want to be caught...
After what felt like a lifetime of waiting my very own horse was being unloaded at my farm. All at once I was rushed with all the dreams I'd ever had of my relationship with my very own horse (you know bareback sunset rides and the like). Then all at once they shattered as my feral, 7y.o draft horse blasted out of the trailer and locked herself away in her tiny paddock. She chose to imprison herself there for the next year, despite all I did to try to help. Nothing I did could help her and no one I called to help us could. I was advised that she was beyond repair and should be put down. My dream come true was so consumed by fear, we were miserable. I had all but given up. She was going to be a pasture ornament and that was ok with me. Then I heard about Clicker Training, a few pleading emails, phone calls, clinics and books later we started with nothing left to loose. For the first time in over a year my friend Tank stepped out of her self made prison with confidence and trust. We worked entirely at liberty for months and she blossomed. She became curious, vibrant and alive. She began to try and seek the new, rather than hide away. We began to understand one another, my commands turned to mutual conversation, I began to listen and the wall between us came tumbling down.

After breaking into the wonderful world of equine clicker training I began practicing with all the rescues, they were all so in tune, they all had so much fun. Soon broken down, unridable horses, feral ponies and other horses who we thought had no future were doing agility, learning tricks and playing games with young volunteers. The rescue itself became alive.

It wasn't long before we had our own farm on the river in York, ME. As beautiful as my most wonderful dreams. My horse came home along with several other horses from the rescue I grew up at. Local kids and teens began coming by to work with the horses and learn about positive reinforcement. We grew fast, over the past 3 years we've grown in volunteers, students, and our own rescued horses. We are now a real non-profit (501c3) and are rapidly outgrowing our home. We are raising funds and working hard to find our next, additional, location for a larger program. A home for rescue horses, donkeys and small farm animals as well as for human survivors of trauma. We will be truly unique, as a rescue and therapy program completely founded in the science of positive reinforcement and ethical animal keeping. 

About the team:

Our team is ever-growing, we have an amazing crew of adults, teens and many children. Nicole, Emerson and Larkin are 3 of the most committed people I've ever met. They are here almost daily, helping care for the horses, teach the young students and foster the next generation of gentle horse-people. Not only do they keep us rolling on a day to day basis, but are here to help at the beginning of every new rescue, the long days of care in the worst of weather, and the hardest goodbyes when it's time to let go of one of our dear friends.