2014 Anita Tozer Memorial Award Recipient
Arion Therapeutic Farm
It’s long been documented, the positive effect being around animals has on the overall well-being of a person, and the bond between horse and rider is one that is unique. For some with disabilities, however, riding has not always been possible. But thanks to Arion Therapeutic Farm, more and more people are able to view life from the seat of a saddle.
Founded in 2009 by Heather Henderson, Arion Therapeutic Farm began with a small therapeutic riding pilot project advertised through the City of Kelowna’s recreation guide on a rental property with a couple of donated horses. In one short year, Heather was cutting the ribbon on the newly formed non-profit society’s very own farm.
These days, there are some 22 employees who work on the property assisted by more than 100 volunteers. Together, they help some 300 or more people with various disabilities or desires to climb onto a horse and experience the freedom and trust of horseback riding. There are 13 different programs offered, ranging from the Behaviour Intervention Program for individuals with physical, social and mental challenges, to the Silver Saddle Club for senior clients looking for some peace and serenity on the farm. Because a horse’s gait is similar to a humans, it allows those with mobility issues a chance to build the exact muscles they’d use to walk or run without actually doing so.
Located on Saucier Road, the 12 acre farm is equipped to be totally wheelchair friendly, providing much-needed support services and a safe haven for those who need healing on every level.