Equestrian @ Hope Haven Therapeutic Riding Centre

In the Spring of 2020 Ontario's first Special Olympics (SO) Equestrian team, Hope Haven Pegasus was approved. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic we were put on hold however as of mid August we received the go ahead for our 2020 training and competition season to resume.

We are excited to be laying the groundwork for other equestrian centres across Ontario and even Canada to apply for their own teams, creating a national pool of competitors. Thank you to Special Olympics Ontario for supporting our endeavour and the Owen Sound community for welcoming our sport within their organization.

Who can participate on the team?

All individuals ages 6 years and up with intellectual disabilities are welcome to join Hope Haven Pegasus. There are opportunities for both mounted riders and unmounted horsemanship participants to both train and compete (180 lbs is currently our weight limit for mounted).

What is the "regular" season format?

Our Hope Haven Pegasus team has the opportunity to train year around. However, the bulk of our training and competitions happens between April and November. You can join at any time thoughout the season that works for you! And yes, if you need to miss some training dates due to vacations that's just fine. Here's what's involved in the SO Equestrian season:

Weekly Lesson(s) - Once per week individuals will be scheduled into a private or group lesson depending on ability, skill and competition goals.

Full Team Training - One Saturday per month there will be a 2 hour group session involving horsemanship skills such as health, nutrition, communication, barn etiquette, fitness and other fun group activities. **Due to Covid-19, we have been participating in virtual meetings and activities in place of the large group             face to face gatherings.

Competitions - There will be 3 invitational competitions held throughout the season. This will be the format until other SO equestrian teams form throughtout Ontario. **Due to Covid-19 we held 2 virtual in house competitions this season.

Why should I join Special Olympics Equestrian?

Special Olympics is a very special community that fosters inclusivity and health promotion for all abilities. It's an organization that is governed from an international level therefore any sport being offered under their umbrella has to follow very high standards and expectations for their coaches, training programs, facilities and competitions. They also provide health screenings such as dental, vision, feet, and hearing which are areas that research has proven to be overlooked for individuals with intellectual disabilities and can lead to secondary health problems.

Being part of a team encourages socialization, commitment, independence, and grows self confidence. Our Saturday full team sessions will be a chance to expand your knowledge of horse care, general fitness for riding as well as creating life-long friendships. In your weekly lessons and seasonal competitions, you will be able to learn a variety of equestrian disciplines and then be able to show them off to your families, friends and other teammates!

What is the cost?

To provide program accessibility for those with intellectual disabilities who wish to participate, the Special Olympics weekly lesson fee is $45.00. There is no cost to our Saturday sessions or competitions at this time as Hope Haven will be seeking donors to offset the extra costs in order to make this an accessible program.

If you require assistance with funding, contact Hope Haven directly for further assistance.

How do I register?

Step 1 - Register as a Special Olympics Ontario athlete.

Step 2 - Complete the Hope Haven Application form which will go directly into your file at Hope Haven.  Visit the Hope Haven website's Applications page and scroll down to find "Online Participant Application".

For more information visit Hope Haven's website, call 519-986-1247, or email program@hopehavencentre.org.