AmericanFarm.com

Farmer pulls plug on Superior Horse Farm

By RICHARD SKELLY
AFP Correspondent

MONROE TOWNSHIP, Middlesex County (July 15, 2017) — After 38 years, Sharon Farmer of Superior Horse Farm on Old Forge Road is throwing in the towel.
She put her 10-acre preserved horse farm up for sale this spring.
Through the years, she and her late husband Will and their son and daughter spent countless hours making people feel better through the power of horse therapy.
Will, who travelled to New Jersey from his native Mississippi at 16 years old with just $2 in his pocket, died in 2013.
Raised on a farm in Mississippi, he came to nearby Edison after discovering he had a long lost brother in New Jersey.
Will worked in the drywall business and started his own company before finally realizing his childhood dream of owning his own horse farm, which he found in Monroe in rural southern Middlesex County in 1979.
At the time they bought the tract, it was all woods, Sharon said, so the land needed to be cleared.
Sharon continued to run Superior Horse Farm, which has several horse trails through adjoining woods, a large pond, a house that was built for the property and several running tracks as well as a multi-stall horse barn.
She has continued the legacy her husband started, doing recreational horse therapy sessions with schools for autistic kids, developmentally disabled kids and, most recently, senior citizens’ Alzheimer’s groups, but the costs of operating are too high she said.
“I can’t pay my bills no matter how hard I work,” she said recently at a shaded picnic table at the farm. “I work to keep my prices down so that it’s affordable, and if it’s a special needs group of children, we often negotiate much lower.
“My age is catching up with me and I can’t come out and do as much as I used to or stay out working as late as I used to,” she added.
“I have a son and a daughter who live at home and my daughter will be getting married in September so she will not be living here.”
Her son works for the Monroe Township Public Library and goes to work in the afternoons.
Lately, Farmer has been having groups of senior citizens in to ride on and pet the horses. Seeing and petting the horses triggers something in these elderly people, she said.
“Alzheimer’s people are able to recall things that happened to them as a child. You hear all kinds of stories about people with dementia, but when you see the difference the horses make, it’s very heart warming,” Farmer said.
Some just pet the horses while others get on them for a quietly paced lesson or trail ride. Farmer has mostly quarter horses at her farm but also has two friendly retired thoroughbreds.
Through nearly 40 years of giving horseback riding lessons and offering recreational horse therapy, Farmer said she and her late husband have impacted thousands of under-privileged children.
It is her sincere hope that the new owners of Superior Horse Farm will continue the philanthropic efforts and horse therapy programs she and her late husband started here.
“We make dreams come true here,” she said, “and that’s a very special feeling.”
The 10-acre tract of preserved farmland includes trails through nearby woods and a house her late husband custom-built for the property as well as a pond.