Friday, December 4, 2015

Hope Haven Farm

I've been helping the folks at Hope Haven Farm expand their walking trail through the farm woodlot.  Hope Haven is a therapeutic riding centre about a mile north of us, whose clients are disabled in various ways, and I was intrigued with the idea of a trail through the woods for horseback riders at the farm - real and practical 'forest therapy'.

Today I'm just going to share some pictures of the horses themselves with you, and the next couple of days I'll tell you about my walks in the woods, helping to lay out the trail.

These are Gigi (left) and Goldi (right).  Horses chosen for therapeutic riding have to be exceptionally easy to get along with, patient, gentle and reliable.  The horses here are a variety of breeds, and you can learn more about them by checking out the Centre's website here.



Goldi was particularly friendly, maybe hoping I had a treat for here, pushing Gigi out of the way, and reaching out to me over the fence.  Goldi is a Quarter Horse/Belgian.

I did get her to move out of the way enough to get a good picture of Gigi, who is a Haflinger Draft cross, with beautiful colouring.

The Centre has 9 horses altogether, and this is one of four Norwegian Fjord horses.  I look forward to getting to know them over time, since I'm thinking I'll visit regularly.

I like this bigger view of one of the paddocks with all the fences.  You can see these horses in their paddocks as you drive by (Sideroad 4 just west of the 7th Line for anyone local).  I learned from Jess, the Farm Manager, that horses much prefer to be outside, in almost all weather.  She described them as having a slight tendency to be claustrophobic, and much happier outside than in.

The farm has a great riding arena, and I hope to go one day and see the inside.  There is an open house at the farm on Dec. 12th, starting at 10.30 a.m.


This picture was taken earlier this fall on a nice sunny dry day.  I drive by here quite regularly on my tours of the countryside.

You can find the Hope Haven Website here; I encourage you to check it out, if only to meet the other horses.  There's a photo gallery, a newsletter, and a lot of other information about how they operate, including information on volunteering or applying for their programs.

The more I read, the more impressed and intrigued I am.  It turns out I know one of the instructors (though this is a quiet time for lessons at the farm).  Hope Haven operates as a charity, with staff and a Board of Directors, so they are always fund-raising.  The opportunity to support an individual rider who couldn't otherwise afford it, or sponsor an individual horse sounds like an intriguing way of charitable giving!  There are a variety of volunteer opportunities that don't require you to ride, and I think I'll try to find ways I can continue to help out a little - they list photography as a volunteer skill they could use!  More on the 'forest therapy' trails in the next two days.

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Walking time with dog - 1 hour.  No walks in the woods today, 'cause I was busy doing paperwork.  You wouldn't believe the paperwork involved in overseeing the conservation lands that the Bruce Trail Conservancy owns in the valley.

Linking to:



19 comments:

  1. Love those pictures of the horses. They sure look like good guys to me. :-)

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  2. I can see lots of equine events coming up, what a grand way to help those with disabilities. I would be there to help in a flash if I lived nearby, maybe not exactly with the horses, but anything else.Volunteers are so much a necessary part of all our lives, in small or bigger ways. Lovely close-ups today.

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  3. Such beautiful horses! What a great organization.

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  4. Your horses shots are stunningly beautiful. Love the scenery, great organization. We have a Therapeutic Riding center here where we live.

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  5. Makes a lot of horse sense to me.

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  6. These folks are our neighbours, we enjoying walking down to visit the horses! Lots of good people involved in a great cause.The open house was well worth attending last year with informative tours of the facility, local arts and crafts for sale and even some live music!

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  7. Hello, the horses are beautiful. I am sure the disabled people love the chance to be riding these horses. And kudos to the Hope Haven farm and to you for helping out with the trail! Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

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  9. Lovely photos ! The Norwegian Fjord and Haflingers are naturally calm placid animals and are very good for this kind of work as well as beginner riders or just as companions for other horses they tend to keep other horse calm as well !. My Cousin had a few of these breeds years ago . I am sure they all just love being around and riding these wonderful horses ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good weekend

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  10. Beautiful and intelligent creatures! So thankful that places like this exist. Thanks for sharing!

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  11. You know I like horses. : ) What a wonderful thing to be part of. I'm sure lots of people will be helped by these beautiful, intelligent horses. I'm off to check out the link.

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  12. Magnificent shots of those beautiful horses!

    Wishing you a magical weekend,
    artmusedog and carol

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  13. Beautiful horses! Bless you for helping others.

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  14. Wonderful photos of the horses. The Norwegian horses are so cute.

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  15. What a fabulous place! I love the idea of supporting a charity such as this. We have one locally too. The horses are beautiful.

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  16. beautiful horses. I really like the last four images.

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  17. What a great place! The farm and the horses are beautiful.

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