It’s time to cast your vote for your favourite Hero of the Horse. You may vote once a day, from now until September 15th. Please spread the word and help recognize the efforts of these exceptional horse people.
The winner’s story will be featured in the November/December issue of Horse Canada and they will receive a trophy, along with $2,000 to continue their work. PLUS, Canadian Saddlery will donate 12 blankets of any size (234 Goliath Regular Neck Turnout or 235 Mid Neck Turnouts) – a $2,100 value!
Ann Caine is the founder and Board president of Sunrise Therapeutic Learning and Riding Centre in Puslinch, Ontario, which offers a wide a variety of therapeutic riding programs for young people with special needs.
A lifelong horsewoman, Ann was inspired to establish Sunrise after the death of her husband at just 39 years old. She watched her four children develop tight bonds with the horses on their family farm, which she describes as a lifeline during the tragedy. She knew she wanted to share this restorative connection with others.
A registered nurse with experience teaching veterinary students in surgery, Ann modeled the concept for Sunrise after therapeutic riding programs she had seen in the UK, where she had previously lived and worked with horses. A founding board member of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association in 1980, Ann established Sunrise in 1982, with the help of Nicola Harman and Dr. James McLaughlin, and just three horses. Now a registered charity, Sunrise has a staff of certified instructors and stable workers, plus nearly 300 volunteers who help run the programs, maintain the facility, and care for the horses – the stars of Sunrise. While they accept general donations, people and organizations can also opt to sponsor Sunrise horses.
Ann said they require 21 horses at the height of their season, with 120 students in lessons each week, and they are still looking to fill spaces on their roster. Most of the horses come to Sunrise through word of mouth – and what lucky horses they are to find a home in this community of loving and giving people. They look for strong, sound horses with a good disposition, ideally in their teen years. Their line up currently includes a variety of breeds, plus a pair of minis and a donkey – Sunrise’s ‘babysitter’ for new horses, and matriarch of the farm. Ann said some horses remain at Sunrise until it’s time to say goodbye, still comfortable in their jobs, while others go to approved retirement homes after years spent helping humans discover the joy of horses.