It is said horses carry the wisdom of healing in their hearts and offer it to any humans who possess the humility to listen. This is something Marla McNary learned as a teenage girl. When she was 16-years-old her older sister Linda was murdered. In her heartbreak, Marla sought solace in her horse, Jake. Something magical happened when she was with Jake—her heart healed.
As a fierce warrior, Marla knew she had to come up with a way to help others heal their hearts using horses. As she became an adult and a mother working in the corporate world for many years, piece by piece she built her dream.
Madison Grove Farm was initially established in Mercer Island but now has found its forever home in Winlock on forty-eight acres. The name Madison Grove originated from Marla’s daughter Madison and grove from where Marla spent time in her teen years with her beloved horse.
Madison Grove Farm is a fully operating equine sanctuary and healing farm that is run 100% by volunteers. The farm has 15 horses, four goats, two dogs, chickens and a couple of kittens that steal the show.
“Many of the horses at Madison Grove Farm are rescue horses,” says Marla. “They have worked hard and are now here, where we will love and honor them.”
Horses are amazing, majestic animals. Weighing anywhere from 800-2200 pounds, it’s astounding an animal that huge can be so gentle. A visit to Madison Grove Farm ensures a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of four-year-old Jasper leading around his best friend Cookie. Cookie is a beautiful rescue horse who decided Jasper is her person. There’s nothing more heartwarming than a young boy leading a two-thousand-pound horse around a farm just using his words and heart.
Healing at the farm is completely free of charge to anyone who needs it. They welcome those with special needs, anyone who is grieving or people just seeking peace. Equine therapy helps build emotional awareness, confidence, trust, empathy, social skills, impulse control and problem-solving skills. Sweet eleven-year-old Mason White’s favorite thing about the farm is the kittens. He is a huge Minecraft fan and his Mother Teresa White loves that the farm gets him outside and keeps him active.
It is well known that animals have a positive effect on a person’s mood. Studies suggest horses may have a sixth sense to identify anxiety, stress, and fear in people and in turn, can help someone identify these emotions in themselves. “Being at the farm, you have to learn to be present and live in the moment because it changes minute to minute, which is great for someone who has anxiety or PTSD,” says Marla.
Even volunteers experience healing when they did not even realize they needed it. “I started at Madison Grove Farm at a time where I felt scared and lost in life,” says Danielle Wood. “To work with horses and other farm animals, alongside the other volunteers and program kids and getting to be a part of something so amazing and bigger than myself healed me in ways I didn’t know was needed.”
Madison Grove Farm also hosts a Reiki healer Jordenelle. She comes to the farm to heal humans and horses alike, with a centuries-old healing technique. She’s gotten astonishing results with the herd leader Bodee who has a debilitating bone disease. They also plan to add massage therapy and yoga to the farm’s services. Follow Madison Grove Farm on Facebook for more information.
Author and Nobel Peace Prize winner Toni Robinson says, “Horses change lives, they give young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls; they give us hope.”
Marla and her tribe of humans and animals have hearts of gold and offer an abundance of hope at Madison Grove Farm. In a hectic world, they are a breath of fresh air in the most serene and peaceful environment.
Madison Grove Farm is always looking for volunteers to help around the farm. If you would like to volunteer or are interested in therapy at the farm email or message Marla. As a nonprofit organization operating solely on donations, consider donating to this worthy cause at Madison Grove PayPal.
Madison Grove Farm
1453 King Rd.