Peaceful Haven Farm is an apt name for Jillian’s latest venture — a small boarding facility in Shippensburg, PA, which is also home to her three horses: Forrest, Rooster and George. Opened in April 2022, the farm is a place where horses can regain a healthy mind, body and soul — living out their years in peace.
Although Peaceful Haven is new, Jillian is anything but new to raising horses, having grown up in a family that always had them. Professionally, she was able to turn her passion into a career, starting Endeavor Horsemanship and also working as a veterinary assistant. Eventually, when she had small children, she decided to take a temporary step back from working with horses professionally. But as the children grew older, she knew she was ready to get back into it – this time, with a unique perspective.
A Balanced Approach
“I believe you can’t heal the body until you’ve healed the mind,” explains Jillian. “Our rehabilitation process focuses on comprehensive mental and physical well-being — taking a biomechanical approach, teaching their muscles to carry themselves the right way and doing so at a pace that the horses are comfortable with. We listen and follow their lead.”
Jillian specializes in healing horses who have seemingly outlived their useful lives with their previous owners, which was the case with two of her personal horses — Forrest and Rooster.
“There are so many horses that need this type of help,” says Jillian. “I owe a lot of credit to Rooster as the inspiration for the creation of Peaceful Haven.”
Rooster: From Injured Buggy Horse to Farm Mascot
When Jillian first met 12-year-old Rooster in December 2021, he was suffering from PTSD after sustaining an injury. His owners at the time had acquired him to work as a buggy horse, but soon realized he wasn’t in a healthy enough state to do so comfortably. They wanted nothing more than to give him a better home and life, so they turned to Jillian.
“His condition was poor. Mentally, he was really tense, and physically, he had a non-weight-bearing leg,” says Jillian.
She started him on Kent Sentinel LT and began in-hand work at a pace that Rooster was comfortable with. It took some time, but in Jillian’s words, he’s now, “the king of the place.”
“He’s a really special horse,” says Jillian. “His injury is a soft-tissue one, so he’ll never be riding-sound, but he’s now pasture-sound and lives a very happy life. I consider him the farm’s mascot.”
Forrest: From Terminal Facility to Back Under Saddle
As a previous racehorse, going by the name Poncho and Lefty, 19-year-old Forrest bounced around from auction to auction, worked as a buggy horse and eventually landed at the terminal facility, seemingly at the end of his useful life. That’s where Jillian met him and changed all that.
“There was something special about him, and I knew I couldn’t leave him there,” says Jillian. “He wasn’t terribly underweight, but he had a lot of issues with his overall wellness.”
Jillian put him on Kent Sentinel Senior and quickly noticed a big difference in his coat and in his happiness. Thanks to her in-hand work, his core strength and mental wellbeing have improved so drastically that she’s started him under saddle once again.
Why Kent Feeds
Jillian has trusted Kent Feeds and her local dealer — Keith’s Farm & Dairy — for more than a decade, including for her lifelong horse George, who was not a rehabilitation case. But she has found Kent Feeds to be particularly helpful for horses in need of rehabilitation as well — in large part because of its digestive benefits.
“A lot of the horses I’ve worked with have come to me in poor health. They might be missing teeth or may have gastric issues, like ulcers,” says Jillian. “With the extruded feed, I know my horses are getting 100 percent of the forage-based nutrition. Nothing goes to waste. It won’t fall out of their mouths and it’s easily digestible. Sentinel breaks down better than any other feed.”
Healing Horses and Humans Alike
In addition to Peaceful Haven Farm, Jillian also runs JRF Horsemanship where she’s able to bring her unique approach to customers and their horses in need.
“A lot of my customers contact me because they’re having trouble connecting with their horse. Maybe it’s a lack of confidence, feeling like they’re on shaky ground and unable to get in sync with their horse when riding,” says Jillian. “So, it’s my job to teach them to listen to their horse. Give the horse a voice and let them lead.”
While her career is focused on healing the connection between humans and horses, and providing a second-life to the horses she’s rehabilitating, the work itself is as beneficial to Jillian as it is to her customers and horses.
“The horses are really what ground me. They have the ability to bring me back to center,” says Jillian. “And Peaceful Haven was like a renewal for me. This is what I was meant to do.”