Main Stay farm offers programs that change lives


By Sadie Wilson, Staff Writer

Main Stay Therapeutic Farm in Richmond was opened in 1984 by two women who had the passion to help. It started with a small barn and arena on 40 acres of rolling land overlooking hundreds of acres of conservation land. Today, it’s a state-of-the-art facility with 14 adaptive riding horses and many other smaller animals.
As Main Stay grew and adapted, so did the opportunity for more programs. Though the facility and work may have changed, Mikki Connors, a long-time volunteer, volunteer coordinator, and certified PATH International instructor, weighs in on the people and relationships behind the farm.
“The facility changed, but the people didn’t,” Connors said. “We have always been a family.”

Throughout the day, employees of Main Stay can be seen wearing large smiles and having friendly conversations, creating a warm and safe environment for their clients.
Main Stay is a PATH, Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International certified center. The association is constantly setting standards and developing education, along with publicly recognizing areas of excellence they see in their centers.
In 2023, Main Stay received two awards from PATH International. They received Equine of the Year for one of their adaptive riding horses, Kay. Along with this huge honor, one of their many hardworking volunteers, Cathy Farrell, received Volunteer of the Year.
Main Stay offers a variety of programs, but are best known for their adaptive riding program. According to their website, this program allows riders to “…achieve a wide variety of skills, with benefits received physically, cognitively, and socially.” For this program, they use their 14 horses with special training to ensure they have the necessary temperament for therapy work.
As a non-profit organization, Main Stay is able to continue to change lives everyday through funding from individuals, private foundations, corporations, and service organizations, along with physical help from dedicated volunteers taking time out of their busy lives to give to someone else.
More than 100 volunteers are needed on a weekly basis to keep Main Stay operating. These volunteers are grooming, cleaning, and walking with horses and riders in lessons. An intense schedule and dedicated coordinators keep track of every role to ensure every need is met.
For their “Harness the Power of Your Team” program and “Animal Assisted Learning,” Main Stay uses a team of four miniature horses, two miniature donkeys, two twin sheep, and five goats. These programs allow clients to interact with large and small animals in a controlled setting. Main Stay’s 37,000 sq. foot facility includes two large meeting rooms, which are available for rental, a large, temperature-controlled, indoor arena, a grooming area and wash stall, a volunteer room with a full kitchen area, tack room, and pristine 18-stall barn. Outside, they have eight paddocks, and a garden
area, where they often grow fresh vegetables.
Along with their program animals, Main Stay houses four cats: two sibling kittens — Lucy and Linus, a large, loving black cat — June, an independent white and orange cat – Clavey; and two rabbits, Pumpkin and Ginger.

For more information or to volunteer go to