Goat Yoga By Libby Hopkins
Not everyone is brave enough to leave the comforts of their current life to start a whole new one. Shelley Fehrenbacher and her family took a leap of faith about two years ago to move from their home to a farm in Valrico. “Our family moved from a planned community to a property with seven acres in Valrico to give our three daughters, who are all FFA officers and love animals, the opportunity to experience country living,” Fehrenbacker said. “We were blessed to have found this property, which is a hidden gem less than a mile from modern conveniences like Publix and Starbucks. We truly have the best of both worlds. Our property also has a Karst Aquifer that dates back centuries where you can find banana trees, towering oaks and pineapples growing.” They call their new residence, Fallen Oaks Farms.
Fehrenbacker was diagnosed with trigeminal neuroglia six years ago, followed by more diagnoses as the neuropathy spread throughout her body. “I managed the pain with prescription medications and the love and support of my family,” she said. “I don’t like to talk about it much because I don’t want to give it anymore of my time and thought than it has already taken. But it’s an important part of the story of why I’m passionate now about eating healthy and changing the way we view our environment and lifestyle. I’m so thankful to have my health back and neither the countless doctors or myself know the answer as to ‘why.’” Fehrenbacker feels her health improved, possibly, from the serene feeling of the land, the organic eggs and vegetables she and her family grow on the farm or maybe it’s the healing waters of their aquifer. It could very well be a combination of all of these factors. “I will admit I never thought I’d ever know this much about raising chickens or caring for goats,” Fehrenbacker said. “Starting a small farm is
certainly far from glamorous, but it makes us smile and has given me my health, and that is a blessing. Our girls love the farm and I’ve never seen my husband happier using his incredible talent building and designing projects both for our home and our community.” Speaking of goats, I need to mention what Fallen Oaks Farms has become locally known for in the community…goat yoga. Yes, I said, “Goat yoga.” Many people who visited Fallen Oaks Farm told Fehrenbacker how peaceful it is at the farm. “People continually comment about the peacefulness and tranquility of the property,” she said. “It was one of those ‘hmmmm’ moments when a friend shared the idea of doing goat yoga. I’m by no means a yogi but I thought ‘wow maybe that’s a great way to welcome our community to experience our farm and property.’ It has been fun and a great success, classes are always filled.” Channel 10 WTSP news anchors even joined her for a class and talked about the tranquility on air. “We have a wide variety of farm yoga guests; grandparents with their grandchildren, mothers and daughters to male school teachers and bus drivers,” Fehrenbacker said. “Many of them return each week to relax and reconnect. It’s not unusual that guests travel over an hour to join a class. It’s perfect for trying yoga for the first time since there isn’t anything intimidating about dwarf goats, heritage chickens and snowy white Pekin ducks wandering past your mat.” After class guests gather in their garden for complimentary fresh baked scones or oatmeal cookies and to take home their fresh farm eggs that Fehrenbacker’s daughters sell. “It’s been a great learning experience for them,” she said. “They’ve now expanded their fresh egg business and have added additional hens to the flock.” There are many health benefits to goat yoga. AccordWWW.INTHEFIELDMAGAZINE.COM
Agriculture magazine covering Hillsborough County in Florida