Therapeutic Recreation

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Photo 2018-04-19, 2 13 18 PM

We can all use some guidance to improve our quality of life and find optimal physical and mental health through recreation, leisure and socialization opportunities. 

What is Therapeutic Recreation?

Therapeutic Recreation is a process that utilizes functional intervention, education and recreation participation to enable persons with physical, cognitive, emotional and/or social limitations to acquire and/or maintain the skills, knowledge and behaviours that will allow them to enjoy their leisure optimally, function independently with the least amount of assistance and participate as fully as possible in society.

Recreation Therapists use recreation and leisure to help individulas to:

  • Improve physical and cognitive abilities
  • Increase confidence and self-esteem
  • Strengthen interpersonal skills and relationships
  • Improve coping and adaptation skills
  • Enhance wellbeing
  • Encourage a greater sense of accomplishment
  • Realize the benefits of a healthy leisure lifestyle
  • Foster greater involvement in the community

Therapeutic Recreation at Hope Haven

Therapeutic Recreation is offered by a Recreation Therapist (RT) who is specially trained in assessment and intervention planning towards goals that are recreation, leisure and/or life skills based for individuals with unique needs. This program does not involve any mounted equestrian sessions, it is an extension of our specialized equestrian programs utilizing everything our farm environment has to offer.

The unique spin with Hope Haven's Therapeutic Recreation program is that any intervention or activity chosen is connected with our equines and their farm environment. For example, if an individual has a goal of increased independence with daily self care including areas of nutrition, hygiene and fitness, interventions could include learning how to care for a horse in these areas then relating them back to their own self care.

Private Sessions (In Person & Virtual)

What to expect:

Assessment  - A Recreation Therapist assesses an individual's unique needs through an application and initial meeting. Assessments are usually 30-60 minutes in length and will measure thoughts, feelings and attitudes as well as recreational interests and participation patterns. Together with the client, the RT will develop 2-4 goals and objectives to achieve based on the assessment findings and discusssions.

Intervention Plan - The RT then creates an appropriate intervention plan/program related to the goals that have been set and may involve activities such as arts and crafts, fitness, life skills, animal care, horticulture, and health and wellness as well as environmental education.

How does a virtual session work?

Virtual programs are still interactive in nature and unique to individual needs. After registering with our Program Manager, you will be scheduled into a regular weekly timeslot where you will connect with our Recreation Therapist through a virtual meeting space. As outlined above, an initial assessment is completed during the first session to determine individual needs and desires, goals will be discussed and then an intervention program will be outlined and carried out via computer or even phone (for those without internet access).

Successful virtual programming is a matter of creativity and having topics that individuals can relate to and therefore engage with, which of course our amazing horse herd does a wonderful job with providing us these tools!

How often and how long are the sessions?

Frequency of sessions with the RT is generally 1x per week for 1 hour (frequency and duration of sessions can be adapted as required). A consistent weekly timeslot is secured for a complete session as they would be for our equestian programs. They can be scheduled prior to or following a riding lesson (for in person sessions), or can occur on a completely different day of the week.

TR Group Sessions

Promoting socialization, exploration, team building and the overall love of outdoor farm life, these group Therapeutic Recreation sessions are a great way to get these kids and adolescents active and engaged with their peers who have similar interests. Below are the two age groups available for Fall 2021:


Ages: 6-13
When: Tuesdays, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Start date: Sept 14th, 2021
Last date: Dec 14th, 2021
Cost: Fall session total $130 (13 weeks @ $10 per session)
Max Number of Participants: 5


Ages: 14-18
When: Thursdays, 4:30pm - 6:00pm
Start date: Sept 16th, 2021
Last date: Dec 16th, 2021
Cost: Fall session total $130 (13 weeks @ $10 per session)
Max Number of Participants: 5

Note: If participants need hands on assistance with one or more of the following, they must be accompanied by a support person:

  • toiletting
  • eating/food prep
  • basic dressing
  • mobility on even or uneven terrain
  • following 1-2 step instructions

Outdoor Recreation - Adult Day Program

Are you 18 years of age and over and would love to spend the day exploring the outdoors on an equestrian farm? Hope Haven's Outdoor Recreation program is for you! Click here to see all of the details!

Who can register?

ANYONE and EVERYONE!  We can all use some guidance to improve our quality of life and find optimal physical and mental health through recreation, leisure and socialization opportunities.

You do not need to be part of our equestrian programs to take part in Therapeutic Recreation however, it may create the desire to take part in both! For those already involved in our equestrian programs, Therapeutic Recreation is a great way to take your equine interests one step further and apply them to your other recreation, leisure and/or life skills goals.

For our virtual programs, individuals must be able to engage and communicate (can be with assistance) through a virtual meeting format.



Program registration will follow our regular seasonal session format that our equestrian programs follow, however an individual may begin at any point as long as there is space remaining.

Please complete the following:

  1. Contact Robyn our Program Manager to schedule your TR session times.
  2.  Please complete the Online Participant Application .

For more information, please call 519-986-1247 and ask for Robyn, or email


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 & Physiotherapist

Brooke North - Interim Volunteer Coordinator

Emma Houser - Volunteer Coordinator & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI)

Danielle Rose - Equine Manager & Instructor (PATH Int. CTRI)

Ann-Ida Beck - Instructor (CanTRA CTRSI, PATH Int. CTRI)

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

Shannon Speer - Recreation Therapist

Gretel Stanish - Property & Barn Manager