HOPE and LongRun

In September and October 2014, LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society partnered with Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) and Halton Regional Police Services to offer a pilot horse therapy program – HOPE (Horses Offering People Encouragement).

Alison brushes Dancing With Frank while Sue holds him.

Alison brushes Dancing With Frank while Sue holds him.

The goal of the program was to provide alternative or additional therapeutic supports to individuals experiencing or suffering from stress, depression, mental health disorders, physical challenges, addictions or anti-social behaviours. through an equine assisted program designed to improve their personal coping skills, to encourage a greater sense of trust, confidence, moral and self-worth.  It also would afford retired racehorses an opportunity to particiapte and interact with program members in a unsolicited manner and in a safe learning environment, thereby providing the horse with a sense of purpose.

Shane plays the "Label Game" to learn parts of the horse while others look on.

Shane plays the “Label Game” to learn parts of the horse while others look on.

Sessions took place at one of LongRun’s foster farms – Emerald Lane, just north of Cookstown, Ontario – with the assistance of Danielle Goncalves, daughter of the owners.  LongRun currently has eight horses in residence there.  During the course of the program, participants learned to work with the horses, understand body language, herd dynamics and picked up skills that might facilitate their future work with horses.

Bonnie leads in Symphony of Fire from the field.

Bonnie leads in Symphony of Fire from the field.

Participant stated that the grooming and handling of the horses gave them more self confidence and helped them reduce their stress levels.  The horses also enjoyed the extra care and attention plus their coats had a healthy glow from all the brushing!

With the 2014 thoroughbred season fast coming to an end, the program was wrapped up but LongRun is interested in pursuing further sessions come the 2015 racing season.

We are very pleased that Jennifer Morrison, a writer, blogger, handicapper and editor based out of Brampton, Ontario wrote an article on HOPE for the Toronto Star.  To view the article, click here