About Us

Hope Haven is a special place where individuals with (dis)abilities or unique needs can explore their potential in an encouraging, safe and professional environment.

Our Mission
Hope Haven empowers individuals of all ages with (dis)abilities or unique needs by building self esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through equestrian sport, recreation and therapeutic programs.

Our Vision

To continue to expand our client base and program offerings, utilizing the rich aspects our environment, our facility and our horses have to offer. To provide a community that offers a welcoming, professional and safe haven for our clients to try new experiences, form connections and explore their potential.

Who We Are
Our Hope Haven team consists of specially trained human and equine professionals as well as a robust, dedicated community of volunteers. Together we harness the power of adaptive techniques, equipment and teaching methods to enable individuals with (dis)abilities or unique needs to explore the world of equestrian.

What We Do
We offer equestrian sport, horsemanship and therapy programs. Regardless of your (dis)ability, we adapt our programs and services to your unique needs in a safe and positive learning environment.

We have a passion for results.
We promote teamwork.
We celebrate fun.
We are committed to safety.
We are committed to the well-being of our horses.
We are accountable to our participants, families, and donors.
We strive to help and improve the communities where we work and live.
We promote accessibility.


Land Acknowledgment
Hope Haven Therapeutic Riding Centre acknowledges we are located on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabek Nations:Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi, Wendake-Nionwentsio and Petun nations.

We also acknowledge we are located on the land of the Saugeen Treaty 45 1/2, 1836 and recognize the Saugeen Ojibway Nation as the traditional keepers of the land.
We are grateful for the opportunity to operate our facility, learn, train and compete on these traditional lands.

Meet the Team

Benoit Dube | Executive Director

Benoit’s love of horses and a desire to give back lead him to join Hope Haven as a volunteer in the Spring of 2017. Seeing firsthand the benefits of Hope Haven’s Therapeutic Riding Program he was driven to contribute further by joining the Board of Directors in November 2017.

In May 2018, he was honoured to be named Executive Director where his abilities honed over 25 years in the corporate world leading initiatives through project management & strategic planning supported by solid financial acumen will help grow and sustain the success of Hope Haven. Benoit lives with his wife Michelle, Indy their Great Dane and cat in the wonderful town of Meaford.





Kim Reain | Development Officer

Kim has been visiting Hope Haven since 2019 with her youngest daughter who has benefitted enormously from Hippotherapy with Robyn and Camp Hope with Shannon. She recently joined the Hope Haven team as Development Officer. Kim has in-depth experience in fostering community relationships, business development and has a strong passion for all people and things in the ‘Special Needs’ world. Kim moved to The Blue Mountains from Toronto in 2019 with her husband, 3 daughters and her dog, Bailey. You will find Kim and her
family on the ski hill in the winter, on Georgian Bay in the summer and local hiking trails all year long. She and her family strive to discover accessible outdoor activities to enjoy as a family all over Simcoe and Grey-Bruce counties.







Robyn Allen | Program Manager & Physiotherapist

Originally from London, Robyn grew up riding horses competitively in Hunter-Jumper until she attended McMaster University, obtaining degrees in both Kinesiology and Physiotherapy. Robyn currently resides in the Georgian Bay area with her husband and three boys and enjoys an active outdoor lifestyle with her 2 dogs Rosko and Ruby.

Robyn started at Hope Haven as a volunteer and consulting Physiotherapist. She went on to receive her certificate in Hippotherapy and then proceeded to come on board as our Program Manager. She is enjoying being able to wear both her Physiotherapist and Program Manager hats as she helps to Make Hope Happen! Outside of Hope Haven, Robyn is a National and FEI Para Equestrian Classifier in the disciplines of Para Dressage and Para Driving.






Emma Houser | Program Administrator & Instructor (PATH Intl. CTRI)

Growing up in Lion's Head, Emma had a passion for horses from a young age. After graduating with a degree in Equine Management from the University of Guelph, Emma went on to an administrative role at a local tractor dealership where she continued to increase her knowledge of the agricultural industry.

Emma has always had a passion for working with people (and animals)! She has previously worked at African Lion Safari as a tour guide and has volunteered her time in adaptive riding in the past.

Emma currently lives near Markdale on a farm with her husband, 2 horses and a mini pony.
Michelle Lemire | Volunteer Coordinator
Michelle has been a friendly face to Hope Haven for the last 5 years and she is over the moon her career path led her to work for us. She comes to us with a background in sales, management, recruitment and recently as a healthcare worker. She loves being on the water & in nature, nuzzling Sam and any horse for that matter, snowboarding and getting zoomies out with her Dane Indie. She enjoys meeting and getting to know all of the amazing Hope Haven volunteers, expanding our volunteer base; and, being open and flexible to the needs of her team and all of our volunteers. 
Shannon Speer | Recreation Therapist & Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach (EAPD)
Shannon began her Hope Haven adventures as a camp counselor in summer 2019 and continued as a
volunteer until her school's placement with us in winter 2020. After graduating from her Therapeutic
Recreation program December 2020 she was quickly hired on to the Hope Haven Team.
Shannon also enjoys all kinds of outdoor recreation activities such as hiking, kayaking and hunting. She
has always loved working with individuals and animals ever since she was younger. When she is not at
Hope snuggling with her horse Roy and engaging with staff and volunteers you can find her with her millions
of rabbits, chickens, turkeys, dogs and cats at her home in the Hopeville area.

Gillian MacNeill | CanTRA Intermediate Instructor (CTRII) & PATH Intl. CTRI

Gillian an Intermediate Instructor, certified through the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association was raised in Scotland where she learned to ride and develop her skill. Following high school, she completed her British Horse Instructor /Masters Program and worked at an Eventing/Hunter facility in Scotland before moving to the London, Ontario area.

Gillian attributes her current riding style and ability to her long-time mentor and coach Rennie Zimmer, who passed on his skills from the well-known Spanish Riding School of Vienna. Under Rennie’s tutelage, Gillian learned to train and school horse to compete at a basic Dressage level. After raising her three children with her husband, she started                                                               volunteering at a Therapeutic riding facility and in 2011 achieved her CTR Intermediate                                                         Instructor certificate.







Danielle Rose | Equine Manager, Horse Trainer, & Instructor (PATH Intl. CTRI & Equestrian Canada Licensed Competition Coach)

Danielle has been involved in the equine industry since 2010 and has enjoyed every minute of it! She started out at pony camp but quickly realized her passion for horses and that the barn was where she belonged. She has spent many years working as a stable hand, working student, and has even started her own equine grooming and exercising business. As a 2021 graduate of the BBRM Equine Management program at the University of Guelph, Danielle is now focusing on training horses and helping others enjoy them as much as she does through coaching. 







Gretel Stanish | Instructor (PATH Intl. CTRI) & Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach (EAPD)

In 2018 Gretel and family made the trip back to the Beaver Valley area after living in PEI for 5 years and moved directly into the caretakers home at Hope Haven. The entire Drake family including 3 mature, machine loving boys and numerous dogs, selflessly have volunteered a lot of extra time to keep the Hope Haven property looking amazing and the horses safe, clean and happy.

Gretel has now moved into a full time Property and Barn Manager position and if that hasn't kept her busy enough, she has started the process of instructor certification. In her spare time you may see her walking or skiing with her dogs in the back fields or hacking with her boy Otis.







Alexis Murray | Instructor (EC Instructor of Beginner in training)
Alexis began riding horses when she was a kid and fell in love with the sport immediately. Since then she has competed in jumping and dressage, even representing Canada twice at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.
She started volunteering at Hope Haven in the summer of 2017 and continued to volunteer every summer while she finished her undergraduate and graduate degree at McMaster University. Now that she's back living up north, she's excited to have the opportunity to help participants enjoy riding as much as she does. When she's not working, Alexis enjoys spending time at her family's farm with her two horses and two cats.
Laikyn West | Property Manager
Laikyn attended the University of Guelph, Ridgetown Campus in 2018. She has owned horses for 10+ years and competes in Xtreme Cowboy competitions regularly as well as cattle sorting. Laikyn has had a love of horses all her life and is very proud that she gets to turn that love into a career. 

Our volunteers are the driving force of Hope Haven's many programs, we couldn't Make Hope Happen without you!

Shelley Brown | Chair

Shelley came to Hope Haven through the volunteer program, bringing her retired dressage horse Fly Boy to join the school program at Hope. She has served on the board of the Toronto Musicians Association, as Orchestra Board Representative for the National Ballet and Canadian Opera Company and as chair of the Orchestra Negotiating Committee for both companies. A professional flautist, Shelley has a Bachelor degree from the University of Toronto in Music Performance and is currently a member of both the National Ballet and Canadian Opera Company orchestras. She competes nationally with her dressage horse Santiago and owns a converted school house in Walters falls that she shares with her hole digging, ball playing, relentless hunt terrier Ruby.








Pam Kinzie | Past Chair

Pam answered a small ad in a local paper soliciting volunteers for Hope Haven about four years ago and has never looked back.  She joined the Board of Directors at Hope Haven in 2013.

Pam has extensive experience on volunteer boards, serving on the Collingwood General Marine Hospital where she chaired the Governance and Quality Committee and Georgian College, as Chair of the Board. She also served on the Boards of Georgian College Foundation, the Muskoka Lakes Golf and Country Club and the Bent River Road Land Corporation.

Currently, Pam is the Principal of Firstbrook Strategies; a consulting firm that specializes in organizational evaluation, project management and consumer service in community health and social service organizations. She resides in the Pretty River Valley, Grey Highlands with her husband, a black labrador and a barn cat.





Ian Hayes | Director

Ian has over 15 years of experience working with nonprofits around the world, across a wide range of vertical segments. Throughout his career he has always been passionate about using technology to support the missions and goals of nonprofits. Ian has developed a deep understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities that these organizations face.

Recently, Ian has been helping program-based nonprofits implement technology solutions built on no-code/low-code platforms in order to help automate repetitive tasks, streamline workflows, and improve data management.







Kevin Wright | Director

Kevin grew up on a retired apple farm in Burlington Ontario at the foot of the escarpment. At an early age, his experiences of country living provided a strong appreciation for the therapeutic effects of being surrounded by nature. His sister was a horse enthusiast and over time their father built a small barn to provide shelter for her horse. In addition to cats and dogs, the experience of being around horses provided insight to the strong bond between human and animal and the joy brought by their interdependence.

While living in Toronto, Kevin volunteered as a high school girl’s rowing coach. During his 14 years acting as a coach and head coach he learned the importance of contributing time, energy, and experience in the community. Kevin has extensive experience on various Boards and Committees. Kevin was on the Board of Directors of the Argonaut Rowing Club, CoreNet Canada and the co-chair of the Parents Committee of Branksome Hall. As a new member of the Hope Haven Board, Kevin is eager to contribute by bringing awareness of the important services available to individuals and their families. Building a sustainable and accessible Hope Haven is not only important to all members of the Hope Haven community in the short term but also long term. Kevin invites you to contribute what you can when you can and enjoy this vitally supportive community. Kevin now lives in Thornbury and continues his career in sales leadership in the contract furniture business.





Peter Heinke | Director

Currently with Heinke Consulting Inc, Peter has served as a consultant, advisor and C-level executive for a myriad of businesses, in the start-up phase through to maturation in both the tech and non-tech sectors. With his diverse experience in industries ranging from finance, healthcare, aviation and technology, Peter is esteemed for his strategical approach to business development and leadership. He has successfully aided numerous companies in the transformation of raw entrepreneurial ideas into strategic business plans - all the way from inception to execution through project development, financing and finally successful implementation with his most recent initiative reaching unicorn status.

Peter holds an HBA from Wilfred Laurier University in Finance and Business and obtained his CA with KPMG. He just recently completed an online program in the Said Business School at the University of Oxford for Strategic Frameworks for the Blockchain.

Peter has a farm in the Blue Mountains and his daughter is an equestrian competing in the 1.3m jumper division.





Peter Fullerton | Director

Peter is a CPA/CA and a retired audit partner of Grant Thornton LLP. During his years of practice, he had a diverse range of clients that included public and private corporations and not-for-profit organizations.

Peter has had several volunteer Board roles, including with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab, Toronto Cricket, Skating & Curling Club, Huron University College Foundation, Anglican Foundation of Canada, and Georgian Triangle Lifelong Learning Institute.

He has lived in Collingwood for the past four years and enjoys golf, biking and hiking.









Kerry Connelly | Director

Kerry comes to the Hope Haven Board from over 35 years as a medical practitioner in the Grey-
Bruce community.

She has previous board experience with The Women’s Centre Grey Bruce and as an adjunct
consultant with the Southern Ontario Regional Freestyle Ski Board.
Kerry was drawn to Hope Haven through her experiences as a Family Physician and Medical
Director of the Sexual Health program at the Grey Bruce Public Health Unit. There were many
young children and teens who would have benefited greatly by the programs offered at Hope
Kerry has two daughters who rode competitively for years in the hunter/jumper circuit and has
seen firsthand the relationship that can develop between horse and rider.
She is delighted to be a member of the Hope Haven Board.

Our Horses



BORN: 2008


BREED: Norwegian Fjord

HEIGHT: 14.2hh

GENDER: Gelding

PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding, Hippotherapy 

IMG_2817 (1)


BORN: 2002


BREED: Quarter Horse 

HEIGHT: 15.2hh


PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding, Recreational Therapy, SUFS



BORN: 2014


BREED: Quarter Horse

HEIGHT: 14.3hh

GENDER:  Gelding

PROGRAM: Horsemanship, Recreational Therapy, SUFS



BORN: 2007


BREED: Appaloosa X Quarter Horse

HEIGHT: 15.3hh


PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding


Fly Boy

BORN: 1999


BREED: Rheinlander

HEIGHT: 15.3hh

GENDER: Gelding

PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding, SUFS



BORN: 1993


BREED: Norwegian Fjord

HEIGHT: 14.3hh

GENDER: Gelding

PROGRAM: Horsemanship, Recreational Therapy, SUFS



BORN: 2010


BREED: Norwegian Fjord

HEIGHT: 14.2hh

GENDER: Gelding

PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding, Dressage Team, Hippotherapy,



BORN: 1997


BREED: Canadian 

HEIGHT: 15hh


PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding



BORN: 2018


BREED: Palomino X Haflinger

HEIGHT: 14.1hh


PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding



BORN: 2019


BREED: Miniature Horse

HEIGHT: 9.1hh


PROGRAM: Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)



BORN: 2010


BREED: Norwegian Fjord

HEIGHT: 14.2hh


PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding, Hippotherapy


Viento (Vinnie)

BORN: 2017


BREED: Miniature Horse

HEIGHT: 9.1hh


PROGRAM: Equine Assisted Learning (EAL)



BORN: 2007


BREED: Percheron x Thoroughbred

HEIGHT: 16.2hh

GENDER: Gelding 

PROGRAM: Adaptive Riding, Dressage Team



Red is our therapy cat at Hope Haven. We call him "the boss" and you can usually find him socializing with clients and supervising the staff.

Our Facility

Located on 142 acres of beautiful farmland, Hope Haven is situated on the top of Beaver Valley, just northeast of Markdale Ontario.

Hope Haven includes two barns containing eighteen box stalls and thirteen paddocks for our fabulous herd of horses. We have an indoor riding arena with a fully accessible bathroom that permits our programs to occur year round.  Our beautiful outdoor dressage ring as well as our extensive trails through our fields and forests are enjoyed in the warmer months and allow participants to take in the picturesque surroundings of Hope Haven. Our office and spacious activity centre are located in an adjacent building which houses our second fully accessible bathroom.


545747 Sideroad 4A, RR #2
Markdale, ON N0C 1H0

(t) 519-986-1247


Located on Sideroad 4a between
7th Line and 9th Line.

View Map

Benoit Dube - Executive Director

Kim Reain - Development Officer

Robyn Allen - Program Manager & Physiotherapist

Michelle Lemire - Volunteer Coordinator

Emma Houser - Program Administrator & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Instructor of Beginners)

Danielle Caswell - Equine Manager & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Competition Coach)

Gillian MacNeill - Instructor (CanTRA CTRII, PATH Int. CTRI)

Shannon Speer - Recreational Therapist & Equine Assisted Personal Development Coach

Gretel Stanish - Instructor (Path Int. CTRI, EAPDC)

Alexis Murray - Instructor (EC Instructor of Beginners in Training)

Laikyn West - Property Manager