“I don’t profess to be a therapist,” Clarke said. “Here we do healing work and experiential learning.”
Clarke’s post-graduate work focused on wellness, stress management and training and development programs. After learning and experimenting with out-of-the-box strategies, Clarke started a life management and wellness center in Charlotte, which later developed into Avalon Farm’s Healing with Horses program.
Healing with Horses aims to improve the health of a person or family unit with experiential learning. Participants learn to communicate respect, feelings, emotion and positivity with their horse and take on farm chores in order to care for the horse. Healing, just like the program itself, is specific to each individual and can take the form of physical, behavioral, mental, spiritual and emotional. Clarke also works with genetic healing, which focuses on healing traumatic events or feelings in someone’s family history.
While working with the horses, the process is about losing control, connecting with the environment and learning from the animal to allow it to be used as a conduit of healing from God, Clarke said.
Healing With Horses: Woman’s farm retreat is a culmination of her love of animals, passion to help people
Kimberly Clarke is a firm believer in the power of horses to heal — emotionally, spiritually, and even to a certain extent, physically.
She has combined her love of animals and her passion for helping people deal with a variety of issues into a retreat called Avalon — A Farm Retreat Center in western Iredell County.
Avalon has several programs, including Healing with Horses, stress management and wellness, breathwork and creativity-art therapy.
Avalon is a longtime dream for Clarke, who started as a paralegal but quickly grew bored with sitting in an office.
“I felt like I was in a cage,” she said.
So, using her psychology degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College (now University), she embarked on a passion rather than a career.
Avalon is a word etched in mystery, describing a place adorned in legend during a time of magic, enchantment and wonder.
In other words, Avalon is what you want or even need it to be.
That is largely why founder Kimberly Clarke and members of her board finally decided on “Avalon” for their retreat farm and stables in Stony Point.
The place had originally been named with a nearly unpronounceable Sanskrit word that roughly translated as “heaven on earth.” But for those it most serves — young people who have walked a troubled path — Avalon was a better fit.