In 2002, Nanci Beyerl was experiencing grief, loss and trauma after a divorce. She was fragile, frightened and needed healing. Panic attacks and hopelessness plagued her. As she struggled to move forward, she relocated herself and her 4 horses to a dilapidated old farm near Pattersonville, NY. She intended to heal her soul and perhaps help others. She didn’t plan to rescue horses.
Over time, however, her farm and her mission grew. She took in horses from abusive homes. She rescued horses from kill pens, and adopted off track thoroughbreds. She made room for donkeys and ponies, and even brought home a few goats. As the herd grew, she saw how the animals could help to heal people. An abused child connected to an abused horse, and the presence of a horse’s velvet muzzle and soulful eyes calmed a cancer patient. She went back to school and got her master’s degree in social work to further her ability to help others. She was joined by volunteers who shared her vision for horses and healing.
Today, Peaceful Acres hosts workshops and retreats for foster children, veterans, couples in crisis, cancer survivors and others who need the healing power of community and connection. The farm is now 154 acres and home to 65 rescued horses, ponies and donkeys. It costs over $4000 to feed and care for each horse. Fundraising and sponsorships have become as big a part of Nanci’s job as counseling and healing.
As the farm grew, they needed innovative and affordable space for workshops. In 2010, Nanci and a friend stopped by Colorado Yurt Company in Montrose, CO after vacationing in nearby Ridgway and seeing the yurts at Orvis Hot Springs. They toured our facility and fell in love with the space inside a yurt. With the help of a grant from the Charles Wood Foundation, Peaceful Acres added their first yurt in 2011. Last year, they added a second.
The yurts are used for workshops, retreats, dinners and spaces for reflection and meditation. Peaceful Acres rents the yurts to groups and individuals, raising needed funds to feed horses and promote their work. Nanci says, “Offering the amazing space of a 30 foot yurt from The Colorado Yurt company has given Peaceful Acres Horses an opportunity to invite guests and donors to the rescue sanctuary to enjoy events, lunches and meetings in a very unique setting. Most people who live in The Capital Region of NY State have never been in a yurt. Because of our yurts, they now can get a true feel for the space and all it has to offer. We hope to add 4-6 more on the property for accommodations and wellness retreat programs. “
Looking forward, Nanci sees yurts, tipis and tents used for sleeping spaces for the farm. Also, she would like to add a smaller yurt for yoga, and a coffee house yurt. Her fundraising continues, as the vision and need for Peaceful Acres work with horses and people grows.