New program at TJ Stables offers learning experience on Indigenous culture and history

A transformative change is taking place at a Chatham-Kent horse farm where a unique experience to “awake your spirit” is now available.

The program at TJ Stables is the first of its kind and offers people a place to learn and experience authentic Indigenous culture and history.

“We always considered our farm a healing place,” says TJ Stables co-owner John Basden.

Earlier this month, the recreational and therapeutic horse farm started offering three hour Indigenous experiences with a chance to surround yourself with gentle wild spirit horses welcomed to the farm two years ago.

“The horses are just our common denominator between all of us. The Métis, the First Nations people and all of Canadians,” Basden says.

“Our ultimate goal is to get them back to their people and in order to do that we’ve got to up their numbers,” says TJ Stables co-owner Terry Jenkins.

An authentic Métis camp is also set up so people can see first-hand how things were. Overnight stays are available.

“We let the people that know what they’re doing, do what they’re doing and so we’re just a small cog in this awesome wheel of education and awareness,” Jenkins says.

“I love this! I love this for the fact that it’s going to introduce people to something that is dear to my heart this is my culture,” says David Wilson, a knowledge keeper for Indigenous people in the area.

Wilson shares generational wisdom and insight, and now wants to share his culture with others.

“For somebody to come here and have a taste of that culture and experience that culture, that’s going to generate allies,” Wilson says. “That’s going to generate understanding and peace and kindness and what comes out of all those things? A lot of love.”

Basden says the program is for those who need to experience the tranquility of nature

“Anyone that needs to experience peace,” he says. “Anyone that needs to come and just experience nature, of course these horses are the epitome of nature.”

“These horses need to do their work and their work is that healing work,” Wilson adds.