horses in a working farm environment, Challenge Unlimited at Ironstone
Farm provides beneficial therapy for people with a wide range of physical,
emotional and cognitive disabilities. The two primary programs are Challenge
Unlimited and Ironstone Therapy both using the horses unique
ability to enhance a persons movements and touch a persons
heart, inspiring strength, hope and encouragement. The farms professional
staff of over 20 licensed instructors and therapists work with 35 program
150 volunteers to serve 450 to 500 children and adults each week, year
round. Coming from more than 90 cities and towns throughout Massachusetts
and New Hampshire, participants enjoy the aesthetic beauty of the farm
while receiving valuable therapy in collaboration with other service providers
to best address their physical and emotional needs.
include Therapeutic Riding, Recreational Riding and Hippotherapy (physical
and occupational therapies and speech/language pathology.
To provide therapeutic, educational and recreational opportunities using
horses and the working farm environment to help people achieve optimum
quality of life.
Ironstone Farm was founded in 1960 by owner Richard Donovan as a breeding,
training, and rehabilitative facility for thoroughbred performance horses.
The non-profit Challenge Unlimited was created out of the Donovan familys
desire to share Ironstone Farm with people whose lives have been challenged
by disability. Located on 14 beautiful acres in Andover, Massachusetts,
the property consists of pasture, woodland, ponds, and is home to 35 horses,
donkeys, and a variety of wildlife, making a visit to the farm a memorable
experience for all ages. In 2001, after a two year capital campaign, Challenge
Unlimited purchased Ironstone Farm so that the property and programs will
be preserved for generations to come.
OF CHALLENGE UNLIMITED AT IRONSTONE FARM
1960s - 70s
Donovan built farm, bred, raised and trained thoroughbred horses.
trips to Ironstone Farm by groups of children with special needs.
(25 clients) Incorporated Challenge Unlimited as a non-profit charitable
to offer therapeutic riding to individuals with disability (all services
donated by Ironstone Farm).
Challenge Unlimited received tax exempt status with the IRS as a 501(
Established programs with National Birth Defects Center/Genesis Fund.
Established association with Massachusetts Special Olympics.
Established lease arrangement with Ironstone Farm to enable programs
to grow. Also became first Massachusetts organization to host Special
Olympics Equestrian Event.
clients) Established Annual Yearbook Fundraiser.
Organized Therapeutic Riding Research Committee.
Richard Donovan built Physical Therapy Building for Challenge Unlimited
programs. Initial pilot therapy programs were born.
(400 clients) Signed first public school contracts with Lowell for
PT and OT services.
Established Ironstone Therapy as medically based physical and occupational
therapy service provider.
Incorporated Ironstone Therapy as non-profit 501( c)(3) organization.
clients) Initiate plans for expansion of facilities and programs to
support future generations.
Begin contracts with Early Intervention.
Successful completion of Phase I Capital Campaign.
Special Olympics Hall of Fame
doors on new 80' X 200' indoor arena
on Mass Development tax exempt bond enabling the purchase of abutting
property for development of after-school programs.
Geographic Reach and Disabilities Served
Challenge Unlimited and Ironstone Therapy serve approximately 480 individuals
weekly, year round, with representatives from more then 82 cities and
towns throughout Greater Boston, the Merrimack Valley, and Southern New
Hampshire. Disabilities include the following:
Attention Deficit Disorder
Pervasive Development Delay
Traumatic Brain Injury
Spinal Cord Injury
Visual and Hearing Impairment
Ironstones herd of 35 horses includes 22 Haflingers a breed
originating in the Austrian Alps, and used extensively in the United States
by the Amish. Safe, reliable and pretty, the Haflingers have proven to
be excellent school horses and have become dream ponies for
the children at Ironstone Farm. The rest of the herd includes a variety
of breeds chosen to meet the diverse requirements of our clientele.
is governed by a Board
of Directors and managed daily by an Executive Director and full time
and part time Staff. The full Board meets
quarterly, with an Executive Board and standing committees meeting monthly
or more often as needed, and reporting to the full Board. In addition,
Challenge Unlimited receives support from an Advisory
Council that joins the Board for an Annual Meeting (second Wednesday
in May) where audited
Financial Statements for the previous year are presented. The IRS
Form 990 is also made available for perusal. Conflict
of Interest Policy.
Please click on the underlined items above for further information.