Emily Southwood –
On Saturday September 22, Ormstown’s Taverne de la Ferme hosted Cowboy Day in an effort to raise funds for Lucky Harvest—Hinchinbrooke’s esteemed therapeutic riding centre.
The afternoon and evening of good cheer featured $5 pints of Moosehead (with proceeds donated to the non-profit) and an appearance from Lucky Harvest’s Adonaii the Appaloosa who hung out in the parking lot, neighing, eating treats and welcoming guests.
Many passionate volunteers were in attendance, all of whom worked to make the evening come together. The clear bond between the passionate group is that each member has witnessed first-hand the benefits of therapeutic riding. Volunteer and mom Josée Bonnier spoke with enthusiasm about the experience her daughter Amy Bonnier- Koussaya has had learning to ride. Amy suffers from Autism and Epilepsy and has been taking lessons for three years at Lucky Harvest on a horse named Fire. “I don’t come from a background of horses, so at first I was terrified but I put my trust in Louise and it’s absolutely incredible what Amy has learned. She can even lunge a horse now and has gained trust and confidence,” she explained while showing pictures and videos. She has also started her own campaign at ShopPal.ca/helpthehorses to raise funds.
Debbie Hanney organized the event and spoke to the non-profit’s constant need for both funding and volunteers. Each lesson is run by a certified instructor and requires two walkers (one in front and behind) to accompany one student. The organization always needs help with the general maintenance of the farm and care of the horses, but more importantly, they need help with administrative duties like bookkeeping, event planning and fundraising. “Those things are harder to find,” explains Hanney who currently fills many roles. President of the non-profit Scott Barr, also in attendance, encouraged anyone interested to come out and watch a lesson. “It’s an incredible experience; something you don’t forget.”
Taverne owner Summer Eastwood spoke to her motivation for hosting the evening, which she initially suggested as an idea to the charity. “From my perspective as a business owner we can’t only be serving food and drinks, we want to give back to the community wherever we can. I have people in my life affected by disability and I understand how much money a place like Lucky Harvest takes to run.”
Organizer Debbie Hanney was very grateful to the Taverne and to Chris Carey of Caraway Connemaras who transported Adonaii to the event. The on-site horse belongs to volunteer Malyssa Houle who rescued the talented trick horse from Cavalia after an injury. He is now being trained as a therapeutic riding horse. Malyssa explains his aptitude for the job when she says, “Having a rider hanging under his belly in the Big Top well prepared him to stay calm in any circumstance!”
For more information on upcoming events like the Ride-O-Thon, see luckyharvestproject.wordpress.ca and join in on their continued campaign at: www.gofundme.com/Lucky-Harvest-Equine-Therapy