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 ability, or (dis)ability, we adapt our programs and services to your unique needs in a safe and positive learning environment.

Values
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.

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.

 

 

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 or hiking with her Great Dane Oliver.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Emma Houser | Volunteer Coordinator & 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 | Interim Volunteer Coordinator
 
Michelle joins our Team as Interim Volunteer Coordinator while Emma Houser enjoys first time motherhood. 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 looks forward to meeting and getting to know all of the amazing Hope Haven volunteers, to expanding our volunteer base; and, being open and flexible to the needs of her team and all of our volunteers. 
 
 
 
Shannon Speer | Recreation Therapist
 
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 the horses 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.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ann-ida-beck-staff-300pxAnn-Ida Beck | CanTRA Senior Instructor (CTRSI) & PATH Intl. CTRI

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 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 | Horse Manager & Instructor (PATH Intl. CTRI)

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. 

When she isn’t riding and teaching at Hope Haven, Danielle can be found riding her own horse, O’Malley, who she is currently training 3rd level dressage and hopes to take to the Grand Prix level!

 

Gretel Stanish | Property and Barn Manager

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 starting 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 Ottis.

 

 

 

Anita 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.

Hope Haven has over 70 amazing volunteers that help keep our programs running smoothly. Each volunteer brings their unique background and talents which contributes to our team. Our volunteers help groom the horses, prepare them for lessons, lead and side-walk during lessons, and exercise our herd. They also help with assisted activities and general maintenance around Hope Haven. Hope Haven is very thankful to have such amazing volunteers. 

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

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 go

Our Horses

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Abe

BORN: 2008

BREED: Norwegian Fjord

COLOUR: Dun

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2018

GET TO KNOW: 

Abe, short for Abraham, was originally from Hanover where he was a family horse receiving lots of attention from his past owners' grandchildren. He was trained to pull carriages but it was not quite for him and he was ready for a change. In our Adaptive Riding program he quickly became a rider favourite for his cuddly and loving disposition.

bonnie and arwin (3)

Arwen

BORN: 2002

BREED: Quarter Horse 

COLOUR: Flea-Bitten Grey

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2017

GET TO KNOW: 

Before coming to Hope, Arwen had quite an eventful past. She performed as a member of a drill team where the horses and riders performed a choreographed routine to music. She even performed many times at the Royal Winter Fair. In her new career at Hope Haven she is the perfect horse for teaching our beginner riders in our Adaptive Riding programs.

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Blizzard

BORN: 2007

BREED: Quarter Horse

COLOUR: Flea-Bitten Grey

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2019

GET TO KNOW: 

Blizzard prior to Hope Haven was a hunter/ jumper lesson horse at the same riding facility as George. When it came time to lighten her work load she became the perfect horse to teach our intermediate/ advanced riders to do cross rails and cantering (which she loves). She also helped Emma do her rider level 6 to get her equestrian canada instructor certification!

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Bob

BORN: 2014

BREED: Clydesdale

COLOUR: Bay 

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2020

GET TO KNOW: 

"Bob The Builder" was graciously donated by the Thornbury Builders and Trades Association and before Hope, Bob was a true family man enjoying open field hacks bareback with his jack russell buddy not by his side but on his back! At Hope Haven he specializes in teaching his riders low level dressage and partaking in the occasional trail ride.

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Flyboy

BORN: 1999

BREED: Rheinlander 

COLOUR: Bay

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2022

GET TO KNOW:

Fly Boy was a breeding stallion until he was gelded at 6 years old. He was born in Germany and he is knowledgeable in all things dressage with national shows and even competing in the FEI Dressage Prix ST. George, which is the beginning of the international levels of dressage with his show name Sir Lancelot Fly!

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Fred

BORN: 1993

BREED: Norwegian Fjord

COLOUR: Dun

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2014

GET TO KNOW: 

Fred is the wise man of the herd. He was one of our first members introduced when the facility opened in 2014. Before his retirement into our horsemanship program he used to pull carts and enjoy adaptive riding with many of our riders. Now he teaches our participants ground skills and communication from the ground.

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Gaben

BORN: 2010

BREED: Norwegian Fjord

COLOUR: Dun

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2015

GET TO KNOW: 

Gaben came to Hope Haven in July of 2015 with his sister Taylor.

Gaben is the perfect fit for our newest riders and will also strut his stuff in Para-dressage video competitions for some of our more advanced riders.

Gigi

Gigi

BORN: 2006

BREED: Haflinger

COLOUR: Flaxen Chestnut 

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2015

GET TO KNOW: 

Gigi came to Hope Haven in the fall of 2015 and instantly caught the eye of many for her beautiful colouring and gentle personality. Although her breed is categorized as a work horse she was a perfect fit in our Adaptive Riding and Hippotherapy Programs.

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George

BORN: 2007

BREED: Hackney X

COLOUR: Bay

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2021

GET TO KNOW: 

Before arriving at Hope Haven George was seen as a spunky cart horse and then found his calling in both Collingwood and Shelburne as a lesson horse. Coming from the same riding facility as Blizzard, with many beginner lessons under his girth before us he was well prepared to take on his roles here at Hope and work with many of our smaller riders.

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Maizy

BORN: 2009

BREED: Paint X Draft 

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2022

COLOUR PATTERN: 

Tobiano- Black and white

GET TO KNOW: 

Before arriving at Hope she was a perfect family horse working with younger and older ages enjoying many trail rides. However, she is ready to learn and be involved in a little more with her new start here at Hope. Maizy is currently working to add to her skill set towards our adaptive riding program and also has her eyes on the prize to be seen as ‘Lady May” within some of our future shows with some of our participants

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Paris

BORN: 2007

BREED: Thoroughbred X Hanovarian

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2019

COLOUR: Bay

GET TO KNOW: 

Paris or more formally known as "Midnight in Paris" teaches our more advanced riders to canter, jump, and perform low level dressage. Prior to coming to Hope Haven she competed as a jumper with her previous owner and has since has stepped in her role as a lesson horse with her spunky personality.

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Solo

BORN: 2014

BREED: Paint

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2019

COLOUR: Red Dun

GET TO KNOW: 

Registered as “The Hot Sensation” with the American Paint Horse Association (APHA). This name came from combining both of the registered names of his grandsire’s, “Hot Scotch Man” and “Zippos Sensation”. Solo was originally trained as an event horse but has transformed into a new career where he is a perfect fit for his adaptive riding roles.

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Taylor

BORN: 2010

BREED: Norwegian Fjord

COLOUR: Dun

ARRIVAL AT HOPE: 2015

GET TO KNOW:

Taylor came to Hope Haven in July of 2015 with her brother Gaben. In the past she enjoyed pulling carts and sleighs and now she is the perfect fit for our beginner/ intermediate riders and participating in our SUFS school programs.

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Red

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.

Contact

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

(t) 519-986-1247

Directions

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

View Map

Benoit Dube - Executive Director
execdir@hopehavencentre.org

Barb Sheperd - Development Officer
partnerships@hopehavencentre.org

Robyn Allen - Program Manager & Physiotherapist
program@hopehavencentre.org

Michelle Lemire - Volunteer Coordinator (Interim)
volunteer@hopehavencentre.org

Emma Houser - Volunteer Coordinator & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Instructor of Beginners)
ehouser@hopehavencentre.org

Danielle Rose - Equine Manager & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI, EC Competition Coach)
drose@hopehavencentre.org

Ann-Ida Beck - Instructor (CanTRA CTRSI, PATH Int. CTRI, EC Instructor of Beginners)
abeck@hopehavencentre.org

Gillian MacNeill - Instructor (CanTRA CTRII, PATH Int. CTRI)
gmacneill@hopehavencentre.org

Shannon Speer - Recreation Therapist
sspeer@hopehavencentre.org

Gretel Stanish - Property & Barn Manager
gstanish@hopehavencentre.org