Hickory Hill Farm isn't your typical farm. Located in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, the large property and staff provide a sanctuary for rescued farm animals from all different walks of life. Their mission, however, isn't solely to improve the lives of the animals that come to them, but the humans that come to them as well. Their mission statement says it best: "It is our mission at Hickory Hill Farm to offer a retreat where adults, children, and animals alike can find peace, happiness, and healing."
What better way to offer this peace and healing than through a retreat? In June 2016, Hickory Hill Farm began their Reading with Rescues program. In this program, they facilitate a learning atmosphere for children and animals that is beneficial to kids and animals alike. Since many children are uncomfortable reading with human tutors alone or alongside peers, the ability for them to read to horses offers a unique opportunity that encourages literacy skills while providing happiness and comfort to the children and the horses.
The program has helped a number of horses pull through tough times. One of the permanent residents of the farm is Gummi, a 29-year-old mare, arrived at Hickory Hill Farm with a grim prognosis. The veterinarian involved didn't know if she would survive, but when she starting meeting the children in the program she lit up and pulled through. For horses waiting to be adopted, the Reading with Rescues program offers incredible socialization to people of all ages. It's an amazing thing to be able to help animals and children all in one program, so we've got to give it up to Hickory Hill Farm for their incredible efforts. The program is free for now, but donations are greatly appreciated and can be given here.