Wellgreen Farm ~ Downs, Illinois
My husband and I along with our two children acquired this property in June of 1992. Both of us coming from farm backgrounds were anxious
to get a farm of our own. With God's help, we stumbled on this farm purely by accident. After two years of negotiations with the previous owner, we were
thrilled with being able to buy it! This 27.5 acres of beautiful pasture paradise with mature oak trees and a stream that ran through the middle of it was perfect
for us and our plans to not only live in the country but to have livestock!
We began with one horse at a time which lead up to several more horses. I have been around horses since age 9 with a 20 year stent
inbetween having them and so the journey began getting back to what we loved, ultimately being around horses and helping others to enjoy them as well!
Whether riding or not, horses have some intrinsict therapeutic benefits, just by being around them and often times that was enough for me.
I attended several clinics, shows, and educational seminars to quickly get up to speed on working with and caring for horses in addition to becoming
a certified instructor with North American Riding for the Handicapped Assocation (NARHA). In 2000, I founded Well Child Association (a 501c3)
a non-profit to help children with disabilities who therapeutically would come out to ride a horse and perform hippotherapy with a license physical therapist.
I was the founder and executive director of that program with an awesome board of directors who met monthly at a centralized location.
Unfortunately, in 2005, we had to close that non-profit due to financial solvency issues and not enough funds to hire much needed staff.
In the meantime, Wellgreen Farm continued to grow as we shared our farm with the community who either boarded horses here, took riding lessons,
leased horses, and/or attended one of our many horse clinics and/or Christian camps.
One young girl, in paticular, who at age 5, began taking lessons at our farm, and who is now age 20, has been instrumental with the horse operation and is very special to me.
Her name is Casey Engelhorn and she has now been with me for 15 years! Many people consider me to be her horse mom and truly she is like a daughter to me!. :)
Then in May of 2012, I lost my husband of 34 years of marriage, Richard, who now resides in heaven.
This significant loss forced the closing of Wellgreen Farm to the public. I could not forsee myself operating this farm alone as the partnership we shared took both our time
and effort on a daily basis. The task of running it alone, was daunting to say the least and next to impossible to run a farm without him here, as the division of labor was perfect;
and so reluctantly I placed this beautiful farm up for sale, something I never dreamed I would do.
Several people were interested in it but it wasn't meant to be and so in July of this year, I took it off the market and decided to keep it.
The memories we had of our two sons showing some of the best Hereford cattle from their Grandpa Riddell's purebred Hereford farm, our family
home in the country, our own horses and dogs that are like family to us, along with sharing it with horse people and their horses, was and is irreplaceable. To this day, when out in public, it isn't hard to run into someone who has benefited by being at our farm in one capacity or another as they tell me with such excitement of their experiences there in days gone by.
This makes me smile and happy, that we made such a difference in the lives of people in this, our community!
Recently, we acquired some more horses on the farm which consists of 7, three of which I rescued from being sent to the kill pen and/or euthanized this year. A few of the other well bred
horses that we raised from foals, I sold reluctantly, after Richard passed on. Still, I knew God had a plan. I just had to find out what it was he wanted me to do.
I have not been on this, my own website, for the past five years (since Richard's passing) until today, October 30, 2017. There was some outdated contact information on here (an old email that has not been in service for some time) and for that I apologize but it has now been corrected.
In May of this year, our oldest son, Ryan, was married on this farm, at his request. I have to say, gaining a daughter in the family was met with the most wonderful of additions as we welcomed Stacey Reed Gilmore into our family! :) What a grand ceremony it was after months and months of planning!
But worth it all, as we embarked on yet another beautiful memory at Wellgreen Farm!
In summary, I am rooted in deep faith provided for by my upbringing; and I am back at the farm every day now with plans to use horses to help people therapeutically.
I am in deep prayer about this daily. I know God will guide me through this process if he believes this is something I should do.
One thing I have never stopped doing at the farm was to overnighting horses for people who are traveling. This service is not a big money maker,
but rather a service we provide to rest the drivers of the horse transport vehicles and their horses themselves. It is greatly appreciated by our clients who after
a long drive find they need to stop and rest. They refer others and therefore advertising is kept to a minimum.
We are happy to help them out thus ensuring their safety and the safety of their horse(s).
I remain grateful to God for the opportunity to live in the Downs community in McLean County, Illinois!
I am also eternally grateful for my parents, the farm I grew up on (Riddell Polled Herefords, Sparland, IL) , my wonderful siblings, my dedicated husband, our two sons
(Ryan Richard Gilmore, Adam James Gilmore) and to Casey Engelhorn who are now our gifts to the world as they go about finding their way, with hard working ethics and good moral values and who are making a difference in the lives of others.
I was blessed to get to perform a job that I loved! And now for the next chapter of my life at Wellgreen Farm as the journey continues......
Stay tuned as there is more to come. May you be richly blessed and make every second count as we never know when we will depart.