In the 1970's, a lot of parents and teachers had never heard of dyslexia. Brian Hatfield is an adult with dyslexia and he remembers, very well, what it was like back then. Elementary school was a continual struggle and he endured years of frustration. He was told to 'pay attention, sharpen up and fly right'. He remembers whispered remarks like, 'someone's going to have a little difficulty here'."
The biggest insult was being called lazy despite all his efforts. 'I don't think I was lazy. I got my feet on the floor early in the morning and I got up. Ever since I was young, around my grandfather, I always wanted to work. I wanted to do things.'
Eventually, his mother took him to the children's hospital for a brain scan and a battery of intelligence tests. There they discovered that the academic problems Brian was encountering were a result of his dyslexia.
Brian was 11 years old when he came to Landmark East in 1979. He was sturdy and energetic; an extremely outgoing kid, according to Glen Currie, Director of Students. 'Brian got frustrated at times but he didn't give up. Whenever he encountered a problem, he eventually found a way to deal with it.' Glen Currie also remembers Brian's enthusiasm for working on his grandfather's farm and his big love of horses.
Brian's grandfather, who died in 1996, was his biggest champion when it came to pursuing his childhood dreams. He believed, as Brian did, that if he worked hard enough every day, that he'd make a go of it.
Today, Brian is the owner of Hatfield Farm Cowboy Adventures - a thriving business on the outskirts of Halifax, offering trail rides, a petting zoo, playgrounds, campfire pits, a main lodge, a fun house, a bunkhouse and a variety of imaginative seasonal events. There are assorted daytime, evening and overnight activities combining relaxed social gatherings and the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors. Each 'adventure' is uniquely designed to appeal to specific age groups and they can accommodate up to 300 people. The farm employs 16 people and houses an exotic menagerie of animals including 35 horses, as well as ponies, goats, pigs, llamas, ostriches and an alpaca.
Brian describes his success as a combination of hard work and plenty of support from family and friends. 'A lot of people who have dyslexia become doctors, lawyers, rocket scientists? You can still do whatever you want. You just have to work harder than anyone else.'
You can find out more about Hatfield Farms Cowboy Adventures at his website -