About Us


Sunnyside Farm is our family homestead located in the quaint town of Vermilion, Ohio. We offer over 5 acres of peaceful agri-tranquility. Our family feels called to share our land and its four-legged inhabitants to assist others to be their very best and reach beyond their limits.

Our farm has acres of pasture, natural flowing Brownhelm Creek passing through, Riding Arena, Picnic Pavilion and other amenities to make your retreat experience productively peaceful.

We host immersive half-day (approx. 5 hours) experiences for individuals and groups in leadership roles in all facets of life. We welcome anyone interested in learning more about themselves through equine interaction.  The following is just a sample list of the many retreat experiences we offer at Sunnyside Farm, LLC.

  • Leadership Development and Training

  • Board Leadership Development

  • Team-Building

  • Improving Communication

  • Building/Strengthening Relationships

  • Spiritual and Renewal

Other services available include: Fundraising and Campaign Consultation, Strategic Planning Facilitation, Enrollment and Recruitment Strategies, Public Speaking Engagements.

Our program caters to those without previous horse experience.  We are not a riding program.  The work we do within our herd is all on on the ground.  Horses are amazing animals and there is a great deal of science and research that has proven the many benefits of equine-assisted learning programs and therapies.  We are not a mental health agency or offer therapeutic services/counseling.  We welcome anyone interested in learning more and would happily put you in touch with organizations that do that type of work.

Philosophy & Mission

Leadership is too often synonymous and interchangeable with personal ambition. Without understanding how we communicate, we are unable to truly inspire others in a unified purpose.

It is our mission to provide a unique and meaningful retreat experience for all our guests. Horses are mirrors and can help us see deep inside ourselves. During all of our retreats they are the instructors.

We consider interacting with  1,000 pound animals and earning their trust to be a privilege.  It is a profound experience that we wish to share with others.

Purpose is defined many ways.  Over my life and professional career the men and women who lived a life of purpose and those I most admire all have common characteristics.  They have what is often referred to as an “it” factor.  It tends to be difficult to define and articulate.  Over time, I have learned that the “It” these people had is quite simply purpose.  These individuals of purpose live their lives in the service to others and their communities.  Their “It” can be best identified by these four traits/characteristics:

They recognize that All in life is a GIFT

They share their gifts GENEROUSLY with others

They understand their INFLUENCE and the importance of RELATIONSHIPS

Above all, they are GRATEFUL

Living a life of purpose is an intentional choice we make in the daily decisions of our lives.  Our decisions with the words we speak, our attitudes, and ultimately our behaviors define our purpose.  Living a life of purpose, requires giving all to this moment.  Only when we are fully engaged can we build the trust required to lead others effectively.   A horse does not care what your title is, how much money you make or accolades you have received.  A horse does not communicate using words.  Just like leading humans, to lead a horse requires intention, authenticity, and most especially trust.  There is a saying, “Horses can teach you a lot, little has to do with horses.”  Our retreat experiences create an environment where individuals and teams can go deeper with themselves and each other creating opportunities of reflection and relaxation.  Our retreat guests use the lessons they learn from working with our 1,000 lbs. free spirits and apply them to their personal and professional lives.   It all starts by embracing the moment we are in right now.   Make the choice.  Be Present.  Live It!

Services & Goals

Using my personal Unexpected Path to Sunnyside Farm as a guide, we use equine interaction, reflection, discussion, and journaling to inspire a deeper understanding of ourselves.

Our goals are to improve our relationships with others, identify our unique gifts and strengths, and improve our interpersonal communication skills. Together, we will learn how to nurture a deep relationship of trust within ourselves and with our peers (Human and Equine alike).

Our ideal group size is between 4-8 individuals, but we are able to accommodate larger groups as needed. We provide refreshments and will work with you and/or your group on meal options depending on the time of day your retreat is scheduled.

Each retreat experience is as unique as the participants.  We work directly with all of our guests to create a meaningful experience that lasts long after their time on the farm.  This is our family farm and are blessed to share it with others.  We take what we do very seriously and personally work with our guests to create an experience of meaning and impact. Every retreat is customized to fit the individual or group in attendance, so that each experience is personal and unique.  On the farm, “it’s all about the stories,” and we look forward to you adding your own chapter to the farm’s story soon.

Instructors – Our Horses


We adopted Dude from a program in Erie, Pennsylvania. Dude is in his mid 20’s. He spent most of his time as a pleasure riding horse at a Christian Camp in the Alleghany Mountains. Dude is kind of a been there, done that horse. Don’t let his laid-back style fool you, the Dude abides on his own terms.


Oreo was our first mare  to join the herd.  She came from Klymers, New York. She is our largest horse in terms of stature and is also in her mid to late 20’s. Oreo often needs time to warm up to strangers and requests. Her boyfriends protect her very well and she loves their attention.

Thunder (Chocolate Thunder)

Thunder is  just starting his 20’s. He’s the alpha male of the herd. He came to us via Beach City, Ohio. Thunder would be enjoying a successful career on the show circuit but unfortunately, he has a bone chip in his front knee. He is the ideal trail riding horse and has many great years ahead of him. He’s always thinking and you would be surprised the many locks, latches, and doors he can open on his own.


Bentley is the youngest member of our herd.  She is a teenage Palomino.  Her personality is as unique as her color.  She is always eager to please but just like regular teenagers, earning her trust can be a challenge.


Meet our newest addition to the herd! Cheerio is our sassy, red haired mare. She’s a retired show jumper that doesn’t mind showing you what she’s thinking.  Cheerio is smooth, athletic, and smart.

Contact Us

Hello! My name is Mike Gocsik.

I am a purpose-driven leadership development and fundraising consultant who specializes in unique, equine-assisted retreats on our family farm .

I have over two decades of experience working for non-profit organizations and schools.  I have facilitated many retreats; I am also a writer, storyteller, and public speaker.

Let my Unexpected Path to Purpose & the natural beauty of Sunnyside Farm inspire your leadership journey!  Since moving to our farm in 2014 I have grown fascinated by the power and intelligence of horses.  The trust developed and earned between horses and humans is a dynamic relationship that has been a tremendous gift to me.  It is a gift I want to share with others.

We live in a fast-paced world and we all have so much going on in our business and personal lives.  I am offering you and your team a break.  A break from your office environment, your home life, to spend a few hours with me on the farm.  There is something special that takes place when guests visit our farm and interact with our incredible equine teachers.  Our farm has an incredible story and I look forward to you adding your own personal chapter to our story soon!

Please feel free to contact me at the email below. We can discuss your goals and start planning your Unexpected Path to Purpose


(419) 239-1460