New Leaf Farms offers everyone a taste of farm life in a safe, accepting environment. Enjoy the animals and discover your best self through educational programming and skill building in individual or group sessions. Your visit will be healing, fun and inspiring. Turn over a new leaf with us!
What sets us apart is our commitment to providing an environment focused on respect and self-development. The animals are valued for their experience and different personalities. We truly love our animals and visitors can't help but catch feelings for them too. Entering the barn will bring you a sense of peace, happiness and belonging.
My name is Melissa Hillier, and I am the owner of New Leaf Farms. I spent a wonderful and challenging 15 years in the social work world as a front line worker, working my way up to management. I loved my job, my co-workers and clients. With a focus on women's issues and trauma, I was constantly learning new information and was passionate about sharing it. I sat on committees, provided training and supervised complex cases. The hours were long, the subject matter challenging, but I loved it all.
My life took a turn when my young son began to have challenges. School was not fitting his needs, and he was struggling. My 40+ hour work weeks were not helping. I was faced with a choice- use my skills to further my career or focus on my family. But wait, why couldn't I have both?
I left my social work career and graduated from the Cartier Farms Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator course in March 2017. With the support of my family, we sold our house and started buying horses. At the start of this adventure I owned 2 dogs, a chubby house cat and one horse. To date I care for horses, goats, chickens, dogs, cats and who knows what next. I didn't grow up on a farm. I learned it all as I went, and continue to figure it all out. Did you know that goats only have front teeth on the bottom? Weird, right?!
New Leaf Farms is a dream I made into reality. It's a safe place for people to feel and learn. Big, messy feelings are welcome here. It's okay to ask silly questions and guess the wrong answers. We offer many services, but all will change you on a fundamental level. Our programs focus on how to overcome challenges with healthy thinking and habits. We honour the experiences and ensure the well-being of our horses while creating deep connections with them. You will see animals as more than hooves and fur. They will teach you lessons people cannot. You will feel magic here.
New Leaf Farms offers a trauma informed, accepting environment to discover your best self. Turn over a new leaf with us.
This beautiful quarter horse will melt your heart and soul with one glance. She is a calm, patient horse who loves to be doted on. She is gentle with children and adults alike and is often the first horse new riders will have a lesson on. Fancy is 22 years old, but don't let that fool you. She is still full of life and love and a huge favourite of the barn. She has a special fondness for black licorice and carrots.
Andis is a 13 year old Spotted Saddle Horse. Andis came to us after working hard as an extreme trail horse in Kentucky. Upon his arrival, Andis wouldn't allow anyone to touch his head or face. We discovered that he has vision loss on his left side and had been treated very roughly. He had trouble trusting humans, and didn't know how to give or receive affection. That has changed- though he is still reserved, he can be a real sweetie. He is brave, driven and very professional.
This mare... she is special. We came across Sapphire at an auction June 2020. She had been used as a buggy horse and was in terrible condition at only 9 years old. She was extremely underweight, terrified and totally lacking in confidence. After finally believing us when we assured her she was in her new forever home, she has started to come out of her shell. She has gained weight and is working on her social skills. Sapphire sparkles when you meet her. She is undeniably sweet, kind and eager to please, but she also struggles with overwhelming anxiety, which many of us can relate to.
Spirit is a 17 year old quarter horse. She's had a challenging past. When she became part of our family, she was distant, antisocial and anxious. We learned that she had been through 6 homes in 18 months. She also had untreated hoof pain which must have been excruciating. With treatment, daily handling and lots of love, Spirit has become one of the most empathetic and social horses we have. She is sweet and loving, but has a spirit that cannot be tamed.
Caleb is a 11 year old Tennessee Walking Horse. His name means "wholehearted and devoted". Trained as an extreme trail horse in Tennessee, he came to us with an unknown history, but it was clear was that Caleb was not always treated with kindness. Upon arrival he would often shy away from us and appear anxious, but always did as asked. Patience, love and consistency has helped him recover into the fun loving, cheeky guy he is now. He has a deep and loving heart, and always tries his best, but he is often a total goof.
Jamie started as a project to be trained for sale in early 2021. He is a 6 year old, beautiful Bashkir Curly horse. Even his eyelashes have curls! We sent Jamie (formerly Sunny) off for training and soon learned he had a more complicated past than we expected. He was treated roughly as a youngster, resulting in high reactivity and anxiety. We scrapped the thought of rushing him through training and brought him home to mature and develop at his own pace. He has a sweet temperament and a huge heart. Given time, he will be a wonderful riding horse in the future. For now he's just our sweet man.
Daniel (Danny) has had a tough past. He was originally bred as a Standardbred for the race industry. He had a mediocre career then was sold into the Amish community of Pennsylvania as a cart horse. He resurfaced in early 2021 at an auction to be sold for meat processing. He had a ruptured sinus infection, was covered in harness sores and injuries and was emaciated. He was rescued by the organization New Start Standardbreds and shortly after found his home with us. He is a sweet, quiet gentleman. At 18, he is still pretty youthful, but his hard life has taken its toll. He now spends his days in retirement, eating plentiful hay and feeling safe and loved.
Coming to us straight from the show jumping world, Eli is settling into his new life of semi-retirement. He is still full of vim and vigor, but at the age of 22 this sweet pony is starting to feel the aches and pains of competition. He has spent the past several years being leased to different children to teach them jumping. This summer he told his owner he was tired of the fast pace of shows and competition. He has joined our family as his final home- a place to be loved and cuddled with no expectation of performance. You will melt when you meet this sweet, gentle little guy.
Amy is a 7 year old miniature horse. She is gentle and kind, and always up for a makeover! She loves children and is working on her skills as a riding pony for our littlest riders. Amy will do anything for treats, so it's important that she get lots of physical activity. Our campers and children's programs love supporting Amy's exercising goals by taking her for walks and gentle riding.
Chance was the foal of our miniature mare Faith. She sadly passed away when Chance was only 3 days old. We took on raising this little pipsqueak including bottle feeding around the clock and daily walks around the property for his first 4 months of life. Chance is now 3 years old. He is currently working through his adolescence, so he switches from delightful to a terror in the blink of an eye. He will be learning to pull a cart in 2021. He may be a bit silly, but he is our spoiled farm baby.
Thanos came to us with his twin brother Brian as companions for Barbara. Thanos an alpine goat, and the largest of our goat herd. He typically acts as the boss, but is always up for a walk in the field. He loves kisses, scratches and cuddles in the field.
Brian from HR is our resident human resources specialist. He is constantly interrupting every personal interaction that does not involve him. He offers support in times of need, counsel in times of conflict and will stand with you as long as your fingers can scratch him.
Our dear Miss Barbara came to us at a time of need. With an orphan foal, we needed a milk source, and goat milk was the perfect fit! Now she enjoys her retirement roaming the fields in search of delicious treats. Fondly referred to as Babs, she is a shy girl who is appreciates quiet interactions and scratches.
Meet Damien, Katniss and Leah. They are all littermates and the resident pest control of the farm. They are extremely affectionate, and are always soliciting cuddles and lap time from visitors. These kitties are more spoiled than any housecat, often indulging in treats from our devoted barn family.
To ensure the safety of visitors and animals, we ask that you make an appointment before coming to the farm. Please do not drop in to visit, you may be interrupting someone else's session or event.
Message us to plan your event.
2108 Haldimand County Highway 54, Caledonia, Ontario N3W 1Y5
By Appointment Only. Closed Mondays and Fridays.
Please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to complete booking.
Payment can be made online 2 ways:
e-transfer to email@example.com
An invoice will be emailed to you to allow for payment with credit card.
Payment is due at time of booking to secure your service.
No monetary refunds will be provided, rather the funds will be put toward future programming. Missed Camp or other scheduled weekly group lessons will not be offered make-up sessions.
Due to the course content being set, any missed groups will not be offered at other dates.