More Than Just Horses at Birkach Farm
“At Birkach Farm, children and young people take on responsibility — whether in caring for animals or within the team. We want to enable an experience of self-dependence,” said social education worker Bine Dittmann in describing the goal of the organization. The organization runs a farm south of Stuttgart where young people from the surrounding residential areas can lend a hand, ride horses, tinker about, or go on excursions. The farm’s riding ring, numerous animals, and colorful farm festivals are popular among kids and young people from ages six to 16 — but the farm draws young parents, as well, who come to the farm for a cup of tea and a change of scenery.
The farm also offers therapeutic riding for children with physical or mental disabilities. Interacting with the horses often encourages and strengthens these children in their abilities. And for the two adult helpers, who otherwise work in a Lebenshilfe workshop, the weekly day on the horse farm is something truly special. With great enthusiasm they help to care for the ponies, goats, and chickens, or assist in cleaning out the horse stables.
But Birkach Farm is much more than just a riding stable. “As an institution for working with children and youth, the farm offers boys and girls from the city many opportunities to develop freely and without performance pressure,” said Timotheus Wersich, the responsible SAGST project manager. “They can single-handedly build imaginative huts on the farm property and learn construction techniques as well as tools.”