Kirsta Malone, OTR/L—Chief Executive Officer
The programs at Healing H’Arts are directed by Kirsta Malone, OTR/L (registered and licensed) who has been an occupational therapist for 30 years. Many years of experience have given Kirsta insight into the gaps in service delivery from childhood into adulthood. Patients she had as kindergartners are now adults seeking their purpose in life. In 2004, she began her own business as Green Goose Acres with two horses, offering typical riding lessons to 6 children (ages 7-16) in her side yard. In 2009 she earned the status of Level II Therapist using the horse as a therapy tool (hippotherapy) and began treating patients (ages 3-12) with neuromuscular impairments. The improvements in motor function, speech and language skills, and overall emotional well-being for the patients were astounding. The addition of 3 horses, an outdoor arena, and modest barn were built to accommodate the growth. Green Goose Acres was a weather -permitting facility which operated from April to November each year. Since 2004, Kirsta’s business has quadrupled to 26 typical riding lessons (ages 3-adult) and 12 patients receiving occupational therapy (ages 3-adult). In hopes to serve a larger population year-round, Kirsta, along with a team of 7 board members, developed Healing H’Arts Equestrian Center, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization. Becoming a non-profit means that services are accessible to a larger population as insurance will not yet cover this service. Healing H’Arts added a physical education class for Wells College students in 2018 and a Teen Mental Health Program in 2021. Currently, there is a waiting list of people who choose Kirsta’s services. The nonprofit organization supports programs and services in therapeutic riding, occupational therapy services using hippotherapy theory, volunteer opportunities and educational opportunities for students entering the health and human services professions. Healing H’Arts Equestrian Center has surrounded itself with knowledgeable people who have a passion for helping others and see the value in using horses as a tool. In the year 2022, Healing H’Arts had over 45 volunteers and supported 5 interns entering into the health and human services field.
Sassy, along with her trusty friend, Skip, was the start of the program back in 2006. Proving to be a social-lite and nurturer, Sassy has enjoyed getting out in public visiting places like Dickman’s Farms, the Finger Lakes Mall, Auburn Elementary schools and local group homes. Bringing a smile everywhere and to everyone she meets. Back at the farm, she is our go-to for the smallest riders. But don’t let her name fool you, she can give the more experienced riders a challenge that will encourage their learning to the next level.
Sunny is a 17-year-old palomino quarter horse mare. While Sunny is relatively new to the therapy program, she has been at the farm for 10 years. Sunny started as a barrel horse for Kirsta’s daughter. She transitioned to a lesson horse in 2020 and a therapy horse in 2022. Although she still enjoys going fast, she has a keen sense of when a rider needs her to slow down and take care of them.
Know as the “Barbie” horse, Rosebud is our 18-year-old quarter horse/princess. Perfect in every way. She’s our in your pocket, do whatever therapy horse. Just watch your fingers when giving her treats. She can be quite greedy!
Lovingly labeled, the red-headed mare, Ruby is a 16-year-old chestnut quarter horse. In another lifetime, Ruby was a barrel racer. Now she enjoys trail riding, and being a beginner to intermediate lesson horse. She’s even learning a little English riding.
Tank is a Percheron/ Welch Pony cross. We like to say he is a draft that was left in the dryer too long. Tank is about 12 years old and belongs to our board member, Amanda, and her nephew; but he was chosen for his short, stout stature. He will be perfect for our adults who need side walkers. Tank is still learning his job as a therapy horse and sticks to lessons and trail riding for the time being.
Preacher is our 22 year old, chestnut quarter horse gelding. He is the “golden retriever” of horses. He began his career at Healing H’Arts just last year as a superstar lesson horse. It is pretty obvious he has done this before. Preacher also knows how to pull a cart.
Misty is a 17-year-old palomino quarter horse who arrived with Preacher last year to start a new career as a lesson horse and trail buddy. She is not afraid of anything and gives a solid ride. Misty easily fit right into the therapy program and has already helped in the healing process of many.