Tucked away in Lockeport, Nova Scotia, in an area where people haven’t forgotten how to be human, lives a woman and her destiny.
Although she was unaware of it at the time, Kim Levy’s destiny began in Ottawa, on her Grandmother’s farm, where she was born and raised.
Kim had an innate curiosity about animals and their behaviour. Some things can be tamed; a child’s curiosity cannot. Kim recalls that no sooner could she walk than she was on the back of a horse. She continues to hone her skills with horses.
Kim is a Classical Dressage Horse Trainer, Animal Behaviourist, and creator of Dancing with Horses by the Sea
, a powerful therapeutic program that helps people through the orchestrated combination of horse riding and music.
This therapy was designed for all ages: children as young as 6; teens struggling with the stresses of modern adolescence; adults trying to find their way, and the elderly who may have lost their zest for life. For children who have been bullied, the program can help restore their confidence that has been stripped away. For everyone, the program is designed to help access their own power and essence.
Kim was first introduced to riding lessons at Dwyer Hill Horse Farm. She won the Ontario Equestrian Federation President’s Award in 2008. In 2010, after a process that took many years, Kim completed the Josh Lyons Accreditation Program, earning her buckle. Kim also plays polo, and had the distinct opportunity of training with Memo Gracida, a Mexican polo player, who has 16 US Open victories to his credit.
Kim’s passion for horsemanship led to the development of a horse ranch in Ontario. It was here, Kim says, that her destiny literally called her on the phone. An individual from the Lanark Therapeutic Riding Program, a program developed to safely allow children who are physically or mentally handicapped to experience the healing power of riding a horse, called Kim and asked if the program could continue in an arena on her ranch.
In her heart, Kim was committed, but she wanted to ask her husband if he would agree to the program being held at their arena. Still emotional over that pivotal moment, Kim recalls her husband’s reply, “Of course,” he said, “you’re not going to charge them are you,” he asked?
Kim would go to the arena and watch the young riders, with a volunteer at the reins and two others flanked at the horse’s side to ensure the child’s safety. Horse training aims for perfection. To Kim Levy, watching this program unfold was perfection.
The second year the program ran, she got a call from an organization committed to drug rehabilitation, who wanted to use her arena for one week. Her first thought was No, but she changed her mind and agreed to rent the arena. To her surprise the program was comprised of youth who were no longer on drugs and who were on a step by step program. The therapeutic riding was one of the last stages before the youth returned to the real world and to their families.
Being able to understand a horse’s personality based on its roughly 15 natural instincts requires a competence that comes with intense learning; learning that can only be spurred by an individual’s true passion for horsemanship. The capability to manipulate those behaviours to human advantage makes for an excellent horse trainer. During the programs at her arena, Kim used her aptitude to pair the right horse with the right youth for optimum riding therapy.
Kim and her husband made the decision to sell their farm in Ontario and look for a location to build their dream. After careful consideration, the couple purchased a 100 year
old saltwater farm in Lockport, Nova Scotia. Where once there was pasture, the land was now scrubby and wild again.
The challenges, there were many. They had cedar logs trucked in from Ontario for the fences. They used native hemlock when they could because it has natural protection against rot. They even purchased a lumber mill to mill the pine for the horse barns. Despite the challenges, “We went for it,” Kim says.
At Dancing with Horses by the Sea, you’ll find Kim, her husband David, and their incredible son Jacob, who Kim contends is her greatest achievement. At 10, Jacob, who is home schooled by Kim, is being considered for the University of PEI’s Summer Vet Camp.
Come witness for yourself the power of horse therapy at Dancing with the Horses by the Sea, where it is clear, some destinies are not chosen, they just are.
Written by Joy Goodwin
Edited by Lucinda Atwood