Carolyn Collicutt’s message to the third Hinchinbrook Farm Society annual general membership meeting. February 23, 2014.
Bridgewater High School partnered up for a Co–op Student to come for experiential learning.
There were a total of 3 co-op students from BHS this year, each of them earning a full credit through working at the farm.
The bi-monthly system to train volunteers began in January and there were a total of 6 orientations and trainings lasting a full day throughout the year.
On a sad note Silver Bell had her first bout of Laminitis in 26 years. It later proved to be Cushing’s which is successfully treated daily, but it was summer before it was diagnosed.
The Society’s second Annual General Members Meeting was held in February.
An equestrian and teacher from Hammonds Plains, Nikki Ali came on the board. For 6 weeks in the summer Nikki went onto Texas to certify in Horse Boy Methods & camps. The annual applications for Summer Student and grant from United Way were made. Discussions with neighbours and the local councilor to refurbish play ground equipment at the Blockhouse School started. (So far only pea gravel was added under the swings by the farm volunteer René LaFrance using the tractor in October.)
In March a concern came up when C & D Halifax Recycling applied to set up demolition and construction debris processing less than a km away. It threatened the existence of the programs in Blockhouse. The issue was only solved when the NS Utility Review Board dismissed the owners appeal this year January 26, 2014.
During March the farm volunteers met with Sport Nova Scotia reps, the farm was looking for grants for parents as well as for the farm. It took until December before the first family was sponsored through NS Sport.
The Farm did not apply for NS Sport grants. There wasn’t enough time as the Fisherman’s Foundation, Autism Speaks Canada, PC Children’s Charities, Canada Post Foundation and Mental Health Association applications were also being prepared for the same deadlines.
Five months later David Friendly offered to write grants which will reduce the lost opportunities and allow more time spent on delivery of program to families.
On the last day of March, the 7th annual Easter Egg hunt for our riders, the farm neighbours and families of volunteers joyously hunted for over 250 eggs hidden along the trails.
The third annual Autism Awareness (6th) day was recognized with an open stable event. We were overwhelmed with over 45 visitors in just two hours. The volunteers were amazing and were able to serve the deluge of kids and parents and keep everything fun, safe and educational.
Good news from United Way. They granted the request to help fund Volunteer training. More good news as PC Children’s Charities added Children with autism on their list of qualifying applicants for funding.
Silver Bell had her 2nd bout of laminitis during April, so Dandy had all the work for weeks.
The first of two T Touch trainings were given at the Farm by Olga Comeau.
In May requests from suppliers came back with offers of gifts towards the renovation of the riding ring and the first PC Children’s Application was completed.
Jessie King came to do an internship for 90 hours at the farm which cleared a fair backlog of work.
Pediatrician Dr. Laurie McNeill visited the farm and later sent a testimony about the farm.
Buddy had his spring bout of laminitis but it was his last (so far).
Several new families and riders came to the farm for assessments in May and the Summer Student grant was approved.
During the 10th anniversary of the United Way of Lunenburg County’s Reception Hinchinbrook Farm was recognized (with other community groups) and a video of the farm was screened to about 200 attendees.
The Project 50 program was initiated for one rider, by year end three riders were doing Project 50 at Hinchinbrook Farm (work skills at $2.00 per hour).
Chelsea Crawford was hired for the 10 weeks Summer Student grant. Terence Hanlon, a ships carpenter, returned to make a stall out of the Utility Room for a new pony coming to help take up the extra work load.
The fund raising car wash was cancelled as it poured rain that day.
One of the applications for volunteer expenses was approved but the organization asked to remain anonymous ($3776).
New Board Member Greg Welsh came on the board because Nikki was gong to be away all summer training at Horse Boy in Texas, and she would be less available when she went to study psychology at Acadian University after that.
PC Children’s Charities awarded grant to renovate riding ring ($6,688.)
A Newfoundland pony Casanova was brought in for 6 week assessment. It didn’t work out, but Silver Bell’s Cushings medication was working so Casanova was returned to his owners with very good training and a purple trousseau. Shapiro Family donated $25,000 and our instructor went on salary 30 hours/week.
Preparations for the Annual Pirate Booty Auction and dinner were well started and parents and volunteers collected a substantial amount of booty.
Shocking news the Farm web site was hacked in July and it took 4 months to rebuild it but the web site could not be used during the upcoming fund raiser.
Hinchinbrook Farm registered with the Labour Market Program Support Service and applied for an administrative assistant from Employment NS.
The amazing farrier Peter Churchill retired completely in July which led to a giant rise in the farrier expense for the society from now on.
The seventh annual picnic for First Steps Early Intervention was held at the farm.
The Second Annual Pirate Booty Auction and Dinner saw less people but realized more profit as the parents and volunteers made up the meal instead of paying for it.
The Dell Computer mother board fizzed and another Dell Computer and iPad were donated to the society by the Shapiros, so that problem was quickly solved. Five of the best ever Volunteers packed up and left for University but many have returned on vacations to still help out.
Halifax Association for Community Living brought a busload of members out for a picnic and horse back riding initiating a new collaboration for the farm that continues.
Hinchinbrook Farm families participated in a study by a Mount Saint Vincent University Masters Student on the perceptions of children taking equine assisted therapy.
The entire fall and winter & spring supply of hay arrived and for the first time the farm was able to pay for it and get it stored all in the same day.
The NS Employment START application was approved and Jessie King was hired for 26 weeks at 40 hours a week and the back log of paper work and organizing started getting done.
It took 5 days to build the new Riding Ring and 2 days before strangers started coming up the driveway asking about it as it is clearly visible from the road.
The St. Johns Ambulance 2 day certification for Standard Aid was given to 12 volunteers who had over 100 hours of volunteer service. All participants passed.
Hinchinbrook farm was invited by NSCC Lunenburg Campus to present and display at their Community Connections event. Carolyn Collicut and Jess King attended. One parent Katherine Barrett took on a very successful fund raising with Vesey Bulbs and the funds raised bought new equipment for the farm including a child’s western saddle which was modified to fit kids from 5 to 11 years old.
By October it was obvious that bi-monthly volunteer training & ongoing active recruitment was shoring up therapeutic riding lessons and Horse Boy Play dates with the needed volunteers.
New farriers were brought to the farm but it was January this year and $910 dollars spent before Helena Larocque became the new official farrier for HFS.
The farm’s annual Horses and Halloween Party was held for families and volunteers to a packed stable. Costumes were spectacular and Horse Bones were painted on.
In November the lessons did not slow down for the first time since 2007 instead a record 44 lessons were given.
HFS helped with the promotion and ticket sales for Pro‐Kids First Pancake Supper and got a recognition for most tickets sold.
Two new directors came onto the board: Meagan Smith Landry and Katherine Barrett Song.
On December 5th our instructor was recognized by the Autism Society of Nova Scotia for service to autistic families.
Collaboration with the Bridgewater Mall gave parents an autism friendly visit with Santa after closing on December 8th with Snoopie, Kelly and 5 farm volunteers helping.
Linda Jensen (Lunenburg Community Services) visited the farm during December to verify on certifications and safety regulations for the programs, she would possibly be sending more children through Child services.
Christmas Eve in the Stable was a busy evening and Reverend Carol Nixon came and blessed the critters. 13 Children used the new coasting hill.
Jess took over the book keeping function having been trained by Scotia Business Center and for the first time ever the Farm had master data lists on riders and volunteers. This work was completed in January.
In addition to the special happenings and events noted above:
This year program expenses were easier met because only one family was sponsored by Hinchinbrook Farm instead of a dozen. The programs offered by Hinchinbrook Farm increased because the volunteers were recruited and trained to handle it.
For the first time funding was found through Pro‐Kids, Sport NS, private donors, the Mahone Bay Lion’s Club and extended family members. In this initiative the Society helped one family obtain Kids Sport Nova Scotia funding, 9 children and 4 families get Pro-Kids funding.
The Society ran 49 Horse Boy play dates and 463 therapeutic riding in 2013 for 41 kids/families with special needs.
Totals by month: Therapeutic Riding-‐Horse Boy:
J/19-‐3, F/32-‐4, M/34-‐2, A/28-‐5, M/46-‐6, J/41-‐4, J/47-‐6, A/48-‐4, S/40-‐
4. O/39-‐5, N/44-‐4, D/35-‐2