Horses helping people — and vice versa — in Jupiter Farms


Highlights

Autistic children help with horses in Jupiter Farms

Horses in Jupiter Farms were rescued from dire situations

Wearing blue boots and toting feed buckets to the four horses in the remodeled wooden barn at Nature Speaks, Inc., Rachel Ibarra is exactly where she wants to be.

Once the owner of a public relations company, Ibarra and her husband Tracy bring together recovering horses with children diagnosed with autism and other disorders. They are applying for grants to start a program to unite the horses with veterans and rehabilitation organizations. They hold summer camps for children to interact with the horses.

The horses come from tough situations.

Shadow raced and was being used for breeding. Ozzie was starving and gained 400 pounds since coming to Nature Speaks. Dallas pulled a wagon for an Okeechobee farmer. Windy is Shadow’s daughter.

“We are helping the horses that are helping the people,” said Ibarra, 54.

When Jupiter Middle School teacher Roisin Capparelli this past year brought her class of about a dozen autistic children and their parents to Nature Speaks, the students immediately bonded with the horses. They spent the day helping to feed and brush them. They took supervised rides.

“Horses are in tune with humans. Horses give back what we need. Relaxation. Security. Confidence,” said Capparelli.

For the first few years after opening Nature Speaks in 2013, the couple operated the 501(c)3 organization on rental property in Jupiter Farms. She and Tracy, a 54-year-old electrician, bought their current house in July on 2 1/2 acres of grazing land with oak and pines trees.

They replaced the burned barn with stalls for the four horses. They built a tack room and a feed room. They are updating their home next to the barn. The couple also have six rescue cats and a dog.

“We just planted new grass. We hope to turn the horses out there soon,” Ibarra said.

Ibarra says it costs about $4,000 a month to care for the four horses. That includes medical care, shavings, cleaning and care from the farrier, a person who provides hoof care.

Four times a day Ibarra feeds the horses.

Then there are the unexpected expenses.

Shadow recently had colic surgery. The cost? $10,000.

“We set up a GOFUNDME page for that one,” Ibarra said.

This Christmas will be the first holiday for Nature Speaks at their new location. Ibarra is celebrating by making pine tree wreaths in the shape of horses. She’s sells them to raise money.

Holding birthday parties and other events where children ride the horses is another money generator. Nature Speaks holds summer programs for children to ride. They help bathe and feed the horses. Children do arts and crafts. Local students earn community service hours by volunteering at Nature Speaks.

“Children blossom when we put them on the horses,” Ibarra said.

A native of Tarrytown, New York, Ibarra was riding a horse in the woods in Palm Beach Gardens in 2007 when the animal collapsed. Ibarra suffered severe injuries to her face. Her left pinkie broke in half.

The horse she was riding was struck by lightning three days later. The horse, named Jazz, died.

While she recovered, Ibarra decided to start a new career helping troubled people and horses.

Her previous public relations clients included non-profit agencies such as Temple Beth David and Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. She has been a disaster responder for the National Humane Society.

“It was always in my heart to do something like this,” Ibarra said.

For information, call 561-632-2394 or go to nature-speaks.com.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Queen Elizabeth turns 92: 5 fun facts
Queen Elizabeth turns 92: 5 fun facts

Queen Elizabeth II turned 92 on Saturday, and after 65 years on the throne, she holds the distinction of ruling longer than any monarch in the United Kingdom’s history.  The queen actually celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual birthday, which is April 21; and one in June when she hosts a parade -- weather permitting -- called &ldquo...
Stormy Daniels' attorney talks about 'locked and loaded' DVD, Sean Hannity
Stormy Daniels' attorney talks about 'locked and loaded' DVD, Sean Hannity

The attorney for Stormy Daniels reiterated that a DVD of evidence of the adult film actress’ affair with President Donald Trump is “locked and loaded,” Newsweek reported.  Michael Avenatti appeared on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” and in the online-only Overtime segment, the attorney was grilled...
Cerabino: ‘Press 1’ for relief from those annoying robocalls
Cerabino: ‘Press 1’ for relief from those annoying robocalls

These days, when my cellphone or landline rings, I’m never surprised that it’s a robocall. Even with being on a do-not-call list and having a call-screening application on my mobile phone, day in and day out, I’m bombarded by the “Hi, this is Tom” health-care guy, some lucky news about a vacation resort, or “Rachel...
Woman impaled during crash: 'I don't know how I'm alive'
Woman impaled during crash: 'I don't know how I'm alive'

A Massachusetts woman said she was happy to be alive after being impaled by a pole in an automobile accident. Katherine Ibanez, 31, was driving in Attleboro on April 3 when she said she swerved to avoid another car. "My car just spun all the way around. And then when I looked down, I had a pole stuck right here,” Ibanez said, pointing to...
Trump in Palm Beach: President tweet slaps NYT reporter from golf club over Michael Cohen story
Trump in Palm Beach: President tweet slaps NYT reporter from golf club over Michael Cohen story

UPDATE 8:17 a.m.: Moments after arriving at Trump International Golf Course the president lashed out at New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman for a story she co-authored on Friday indicating the Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, could end up cooperating with federal officials who are investigating him for activity that could relate...
More Stories