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Hospice Orillia receives support for Youth Equine Therapy Group

'Horses are amazing creatures ... and their healing ways are simply magical,' says Kiwanis Club official of group's $7,500 donation to support program
Hospice Orillia was recently presented with a generous donation from the Kiwanis Club of Orillia. Club President, Heather Breckles, presented Louise Brazier, Bereavement Services Coordinator and Amanda Tevelde, Communications, Fundraising and Community Relations Specialist, (pictured with Heidi Mueller, Owner of Rushmount Equine Sports, and Trooper, Hospice Orillia Facilities Dog) with a cheque for $7,500 for the newly established Youth Equine Therapy Group.

Hospice Orillia was recently presented with a generous donation from the Kiwanis Club of Orillia for their newly established Youth Equine Therapy Group. 

“The financial support received from the Kiwanis Club of Orillia has allowed us to expand Equine Bereavement Support Group by opening it up to youth who have experienced the loss of a loved one,” stated Louise Brazier, bereavement services coordinator at Hospice Orillia.

“It is a welcome addition to our current offerings; often, we will have a client whose children we are unable to serve, but now we may have an option to offer through Hospice Orillia.” 

This six-week course allows the participants a safe and compassionate space to grow through their grief. This peer support group is led by professionally trained Hospice volunteers under the watchful eye of the horse trainer. The therapy happens as the horses work their magic and allow the participants to become empowered as they groom, walk, care and sometimes work up to riding them. 

“The horses seem to have an intuition that we will never fully understand but can be in awe of and appreciate. They seem to know who needs the support and will do their work of lightening the load for whoever needs it. I’ve witnessed this, hence why I use the word magic," Brazier added.

"I can see a definite difference from start to finish when the people show up to when they leave; they have a giant smile on their faces and laugh at the end of their sessions. Some of them have even said that they are going to be happy for an entire week and can't wait to come again," said Heidi Mueller, owner of Rushmount Equine Sports. 

Officials noted that due to the limited number of spaces available, this specialized program would only be offered to clients upon completion of a Bereavement Services intake process where the client is found to be a match for the program.

“The Kiwanis Club is honoured to be a part of such an amazing program. It is fantastic that we have the capability to support this program for youth during one of the hardest times of their lives and to do so locally,” said Heather Breckles, president of Kiwanis Club of Orillia. “Horses are an amazing creature, and as Louise stated, their healing ways are simply magical.” 

Hospice Orillia is extremely grateful for the tremendous donation from the Kiwanis Club of Orillia. For more information on the club, please visit this link. For more information on the Bereavement Services available at Hospice Orillia, please visit this website.

For information on how you can support Hospice Orillia, don't hesitate to get in touch with Amanda Tevelde, communications, fundraising and public relations specialist, at or 705-325-0505 ext 107. 

Background info about Hospice Orillia

Established in 1989, Hospice Orillia offers practical, emotional and spiritual support to those in our community coping with advanced illness, death and bereavement. Our volunteers and staff serve clients and their loved ones of all ages and backgrounds with compassion and respect while honouring their choices and supporting them through their life journeys. Our services are offered to anyone living with a life-limiting illness and/or their friends, family members, and caregivers at the client's home, wherever “home” is, or at our office location in a private space.