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 (she/her), 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.
Named after Spiderman, Peter Parker is a sweet, willing and silly horse. He came to us after being rescued by a wonderful and generous benefactor. She found him as a neglected stallion; dangerous to handle, untrained and with undiagnosed physical deformities. She worked on his behaviour, had him vetted and gelded (neutered) and sent him to training to be a riding horse. Peter Parker joined our farm family in October 2021. He is named after the superhero due to his quirky, fun attitude and his distinctive gait. He has been diagnosed as sickle-hocked, a condition that over-flexes his back legs. This limits the weight of the rider he can carry. His swinging walk doesn't bother him at all, and it's a fun change to traditionally built horses. Peter always tries his best, and is a true cuddlebug, though at age 5, he does have some teenager attitude at times. He will skitter right into your heart!
Andis is a 14 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.
Spirit is a 18 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 12 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 our sweet, silly, fun-loving man. He has just started training with a rider and is doing great!
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 23 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 retirement home. Eli is a cheeky monkey- we loves to pull hoodie strings and make the funniest faces in hopes of getting a treat. He is a sweet, funny character sure to steal your heart.
Amy is an 8 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 4 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, Leah, Alfred and Ryan. They are the resident pest control team 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 Highway 54 Haldimand, Haldimand County, Ontario N3W 1Y4, Canada
By Appointment Only. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
Please send us an email at email@example.com to complete booking.
Payment can be made online 2 ways:
e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org
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.