Recreational Therapy

Photo 2018-10-30, 11 16 18 AM

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 Recreational Therapy (RT)?

Recreational Therapy 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.

Recreational Therapists use recreation and leisure based activities to help individuals 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

RT at Hope Haven

Recreational Therapy is offered by a Recreational 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 RT 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.

Program Options

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 Recreational Therapy however, it may create the desire to take part in both! For those already involved in our equestrian programs, Recreation Therapy 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.

Registration For all RT Programs

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. Online Participant Application
  2. Online Professional Referral Form

Click here to bring you to the applications page.

For more information, please call 519-986-1247 and ask for Shannon, 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

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

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

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

Heidi Bramson - Instructor (Path Int. CTRI)

Shannon Speer - Recreational Therapist

Gretel Stanish - Property & Barn Manager