About Us

Hope Haven is a special place where individuals with intellectual, physical or emotional challenges can explore their potential in an environment that encourages them to try new experiences while enjoying the learning process.

Mission Statement
We connect horses and individuals with challenges to improve physical, emotional and cognitive health in a positive and safe learning environment.

Vision Statement
Our equine and therapeutic programs enrich the lives of our participants, their families and our volunteers in a community of hope and healing.


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 wheelchair accessibility.

Meet the Team

Board Members

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, 2 dogs, 3 chickens and a barn cat on a farm in Markdale where he hopes to soon add a couple of horses and maybe a donkey to his homestead.





Barb Sheperd | Development Officer

Barb was delighted to join the Hope Haven Board in April 2016 and has now stepped into the role of Development Officer. After 16 years of leading the charge as Chief Marketing Officer for law firms, Barb now combines her decades of business, marketing and coaching experience with her lifelong passion for horses and equine therapy to help enrich the lives of people with challenges.

When she’s not building fund raising campaigns, Barb can be found riding the trails with her handsome Tennessee Walkers, Archer and Kit.





Robyn Allen | Program Development Manager

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.

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 one of 6 National Para Equestrian Classifiers in the disciplines of Para Dressage and Para Driving.





Emma Houser | Volunteer Coordinator

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.

ann-ida-beck-staff-300pxAnn-Ida Beck | CanTRA Senior Instructor (CTRSI)

Ann-Ida Beck is a certified Canadian Therapeutic Riding Senior Instructor and brings her amazing experience and attention to detail to her role. Her love of horses and equine activity guided her to therapeutic riding in the early 90’s. Her commitment to the riders and nurturing their development and success is what keeps her coming back.

Ann-Ida also enjoys cross-country skiing and hiking the picturesque trails of our community, but she is best known for her amazing artistic abilities and a keen eye for colour. She and her husband Richard are an amazing team at Hope Haven on Saturdays, but when not grooming and navigating horses together, they can be found gliding gracefully in one another’s arms on the ballroom floor.





gillian-macneillGillian MacNeill | CanTRA Intermediate Instructor (CTRII)

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.





Leona Roach | CanTRA Intermediate Instructor (CTRII)

Leona was born in Brandon Manitoba and grew up at Shilo, an Army Base located in Manitoba. She then moved to Ancaster Ontario where she graduated from highschool. Leona joined the Canadian Armed Forces where she spent 20 years serving, then after retirement began a second career in therapeutic riding instruction. She has trained in several therapeutic riding centres around around before settling here to instruct at Hope Haven.

Leona also spends her time as a volunteer instructor with the VON SMART Program for seniors as well as delivering frozen meals for the Meals on Wheels Program provided by the Home and Community Support Services of Grey Bruce.

Leona lives on a small hobby fram with her own menagerie of horses and miniature donkeys as well as feathered friends, cats and dogs!





jessica-ross-staff-300pxJessica Ross | Property and Barn Manager

Jessica has been with Hope Haven from the beginning, starting as a faithful volunteer in 2009. She has continued her studies in Equine Health and Management through the University of Guelph and has earned her current position based on her knowledge and experience with horses.

Like our Fjords, Jess is part of the foundation of Hope Haven and she rarely has a negative thing to say about her equine friends and likewise, they would never bite the hand that feeds. A true Grey County girl, Jess enjoys everything about the outdoors especially her annual camping trip with her father.





anita-m-300pxAnita Moldovanyi | Barn & Property Assistant

Anita grew up in and around the GTA but has always known one day she’d be a country girl. Anita started volunteering at Hope Haven in 2014 which evolved into a part-time job as a Barn and Property Assistant.

Anita inherited her love for horses from her father who was a horse trainer in the Canadian Military. He encouraged and supported Anita in all her equine adventures. She started riding at a young age, stopped for a few years when life in general interrupted and now is getting back into the swing of things. She began studying wild horses in Nevada with equine biologist Craig Downer and continued her equine studies under Dr. Leonard Blach in New Mexico before returning to Canada.

When not at Hope Haven, Anita can be found on her own farm pampering her own horses including one of Hope Haven’s retired equine friend, Cutter. He is in good hands.


margaret-300pxMargaret Knuff

Margaret grew up on a farm in the Collingwood area. She shared how her involvement with horses began at the age of 12 and how fortunate she was to have wonderful mentors and supporters who helped develop her equestrian skills.

Margaret graduated from the University of Waterloo with a biology degree and went on to do her Masters Degree in Animal Health Sciences at the University of Guelph. She worked for many years in the Agricultural Industry until she joined Skretting Fish Feed Manufacturers out west. She continues to work for this company remotely since returning to Ontario in 2012.

In her spare time, Margaret can be found walking her dogs, reading, gardening, spinning wool and knitting that is of course when she is not at Hope Haven.

chris-galbraithChris Galbraith

Chris grew up on a farm north of Toronto, and as one of nine children, she learned first hand how to work hard from a young age. She moved out west to work on a dairy farm in her 30’s and just recently returned to Ontario.

In her youth, Chris learned to ride western style and when living out west she could be found at local rodeos helping to open gates for those feisty bull calves. In her spare time now, she creates her own gift cards, enjoys reading and sibling dog visits with her sister Cindy and her dog. In the new year, Chris hopes to expand her volunteer work with the elderly in Long Term Care facilities.

glenda-hewtonGlenda Hewton

Glenda grew up in the Bolton area and moved to Markdale in the mid 80’s where she ran a commercial painting business for many years until retiring. Since her retirement, Glenda could be found pruning and separating her own garden and those of her close friends a true joy and passion for her. Currently, she lives near Durham.

When not gardening, Glenda spends much of her time reading and hanging out at Hope, she keeps coming back because she “loves the horses, loves the riders and the people here, it’s a big team that runs smoothly.”

cindy-ledwithCindy Ledwith

Cindy grew up in the Milton area on a hobby farm. Cindy is one of nine children and she recalls how their family “always had ponies and horses around, which encouraged her to join the Esquesing Pony Club. Cindy recalls what a great foundation it offered her in her equine journey.

Cindy graduated from Seneca College and worked at the Royal Ontario Agricultural Museum where she met her husband the then curator. She has two sons and spends her time working hard for the Canadian Cancer Society, Terry Fox Run and is a staple for us here at Hope Haven.

In her spare- time she enjoys gardening, reading, hiking and cuddling up with her two dogs and cats.

carl-scott-300pxCarl Scott

Carl joined our team of volunteers at Hope Haven in the fall of 2016. He grew up in the Etobicoke area and went on to complete his Honors degree in Physical Education and a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Toronto.

He later joined the Peel District School Board teaching elementary grades until his recent retirement. He spent the last 30 living in Oakville before moving to the beautiful Lora Bay community near Thornbury. In his spare time, Carl is a professional volunteer, he has spent decades riding the pine pony as a hockey coach with the Humber Valley and Oakville Minor Hockey Associations. Carl has also been known to pitch-in at his local food bank when needed but has a strong connection to the special needs community. He came to Hope Haven with no horse experience and attributes his successful training to the “professional staff” who he felt did an excellent job of showing him the reins. In his free time, Carl enjoys staying physically active and especially enjoys cycling, walking and hiking.

Board Members

Pam Kinzie | 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.





Ann Jackson CFA, MBA | Director

Ann is a University of Western Ontario graduate and the Founding Partner of Jackson/Martin Reimagine Investments. She worked in the investment management business for 30 years as a financial analyst and sales professional and as a portfolio manager at Phillips, Hager & North Investment Management. As a portfolio manager, she specialized in providing a unique client service model to non-profit/charitable clients.

Ann has served on several Boards and advisory and investment committees. She is a graduate of the Institute of Corporate Director’s Governance Essentials Program for Not-for-profit Organizations in Rotman.

In her spare time, Ann enjoys traveling and the odd round of golf.




Cathy Wentworth-Stanley | Director

Cathy is a graduate of the University of Guelph (Honours B.Sc.) and the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at the University of Edinburgh (M.Sc. with Distinction in Equine Science).  A part-time assistant instructor in Equine Guelph’s Equine Functional Anatomy course, she is currently also completing her Equitation Science International Diploma.  A member of ISES (the International Society for Equitation Science), she continues to do research in the area of equine learning and training in an effort to improve equine welfare and rider safety.  Occasionally, Cathy shares her Equitation Science knowledge with our staff and volunteers at Hope Haven through seminars and demonstrations.

Cathy has previous Board experience with the Collingwood Family Y and is currently on the local organizing committee for the ISES Conference in Guelph in 2019.

A horse owner for 50+ years, horses continue to play a huge part in her life and her family’s life.  When not busy with her own work, you can find Cathy supporting her younger daughter, Olivia, at dressage shows in Canada and the US.




 Anne Shenstone | Director

Anne has had a life long love of horses, art and working with children. At Hope Haven, she feels she has found the perfect blend of all passions. As a former Special Education teacher, Anne brings many years of experience developing learning goals for individual needs and creating community. She is a former small business owner, loves to make art  and is always on the go with her large and busy family of humans and furry friends!








Mary Thomas | Director

After having grown up on a farm and riding as a youth, Mary was thrilled to become a volunteer with Hope Haven.  Initially engaged with the riders and horses, and more recently as a member of the board.

After early success in the technology sector, she decided to follow her heart and employ her sales and management skills in the charitable sector. Now, with more than a decade of volunteering and work experience at some of Ontario’s largest public and non-profit organizations.  Mary enjoys traveling and spending as much time as possible in nature. 







Rosemary Henry | Director

Rosemary joined the Board of Directors at Hope Haven in November 2018. After many years of holding financial and accounting positions in both industry and
public accounting and having served on volunteer boards in the past in a financial capacity, Rosemary was a natural fit for the Hope Haven board with her background,
work history and education. Although she came to Hope Haven with no previous horse experience she is very excited to be a part of the team. Currently living in Meaford, Rosemary enjoys spending time at the lake and with her two four legged friends, her dogs.








Dawn McConnell | Director

Dawn has recently retired from her law practice in Toronto where she specialized in the fields of civil litigation and employment law for over 35 years.  She was a Partner with the law firm of Day, Wilson Campbell and later started her own law practice in association with other employment law specialists.

Riding has been a special pastime, as well as her involvement over the years with her daughter’s show jumping events and the family horses.  She also enjoyed competing in the Adult Hunter class in Palgrave.  As a new Board member, Dawn looks forward to supporting the Centre’s inspiring work.

Our Horses



Solo is our newest addition. He is a 5 year old registered paint horse. He has a heart of gold with the patience and wisdom of an older horse. He was originally trained to event but has since adapted to his new job as an adaptive riding horse.

IMG_2860 (1)

Fly Boy

Fly Boy (FB) is 20 year old Rhinelander. He was born in Germany in 1999 and moved to Canada a short time after. FB is a Prix St. George dressage horse and has attended horse shows all over Canada throughout his life. He is owned by Shelley Brown but is here to help in our para dressage and adaptive riding programs.

bonnie and arwin (3)


Arwen is a 16 year old quarter horse who used to be a drill riding horse. She competed at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in her younger years. She arrived at HH the summer of 2017 and quickly proved to be an amazing teacher and reliable school horse.



Dawson is a 21 year old quarter horse gelding with years of schooling. It's hard not to immediately fall in love with his adorable face and lovely personality.

Bon Bon


Bonnie came the summer of 2017 and is a percheron thoroughbred cross in her mid 20s. She is extremely kind, gentle and has quickly become a favourite for many of our riders.


Gaben & Taylor

There is nothing that this dynamic duo can't do! Gaben and Taylor are often the stars of the show here at Hope. They are so loved for their fun personalities.



Lilly is a beautiful and sociable bay quarter horse with a calm disposition, making her very popular with our riders and school groups.



Abe is an 11 year old Norwegian Fjord and social butterfly! He is eager to learn and has a sweet disposition.



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. He also sleeps a lot.



Our wonderful, steadfast Fred is a Norwegian Fjord, stands 14.3 hh and is in his mid 20s. Due to his age, he has retired from our riding programs and is used primarily for our horsemanship programs.



Gigi came to us in the Spring of 2015 and is a beautiful, copper-coloured Haflinger/ Draft cross with a white mane and tail. Approximately 13 years old.



Princess is our princess! Like her brother Fred, she is also a Norwegian Fjord.  She has a lovely gait making her ideal for our hippo therapy and adaptive programs.

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 feilds 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.

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Benoit Dube, Executive Director

Barb Sheperd, Development Officer

Robyn Allen, Program Manager

Emma Houser, Volunteer Coordinator

Ann-Ida Beck, CanTRA Senior Instructor (CTRSI)

Gillian MacNeill, Horse Trainer