More good news for special Olympics riders at Hope Haven

·1 min read

A therapeutic riding centre near Markdale is among those receiving support from Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart funding.

The company announced an $8 million sport relief fund to help sports and recreation organizations earlier this year. The riding centre received $10,000, and was one of about 670 groups nationally that received grants.

“Hope Haven experienced the impact of the pandemic first-hand during our three-month shutdown from March to June,” the organization said in a press release.

“We are beyond grateful to receive this news and know how positive an impact it will have for sport and kids, and for our Hope Have riders with special needs.”

The money is used to pay coaches, who bring not just equestrian skills but knowledge of the different approaches that will make riding a positive and confidence-boosting activity for the Special Olympians.

Events include trail, dressage, horsemanship and freestyle showmanship. There are special events which showcase working with the horses from the ground for those unable to be seated on the horse.

Hope Haven has 27 Special Olympics athletes, six years and up, and five instructor coaches: Ann-Ida Beck, Gillian Macneill, Robin Rich, Danielle Rose and Emma Houser. The centre is also fortunate to have 20 Volunteer Assistant Coaches that are registered with Special Olympics Ontario.

The centre has hosted two events, which you can see online at the website under “Videos.”

Barb Sheperd, development director, said that people at the centre can hardly wait for people to be able to attend the events in person.

Hope Haven also received a Trillium grant of about $43,000 in August to help develop its equestrian Special Olympics team.

M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald