© Guardian photo by Mitch MacDonald
Trinity Barnes, left, and Katie Gallant, right, help four-year-old Callie Robison ride quarter horse Ginger during the third annual pony ride event at the Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals in Cornwall on Saturday. Robison has participated in the event every year.
CORNWALL – The passion for riding horses and a compassion for others proved to be a successful mix here Saturday.
The Hughes-Jones Centre for People and Animals hosted its third annual pony ride event for Anderson House on Saturday.
Ellen Jones, owner of the centre, said the aim was to support those who have been touched by family violence during what can be a difficult time of the year.
“Christmas is not a very happy time of year for everyone. We like this cause and there is no shortage of people who want to help out,” said Jones.
The day saw the facility’s students and staff give free pony rides to anyone who wanted to stop in, while also collecting donations for Anderson House.
“We don’t ask people to pay anything for the rides. The idea is that anybody, no matter what their income, can enjoy a happy moment around Christmas,” said Jones.
Children also got to get their picture taken with DewyClaus, the facility’s resident Santa pony, as well as enjoy some cider and cookies.
Callie Robison was one of many who didn’t want to pass up the annual opportunity for a pony ride.
In fact, it was the four-year-old’s third time participating in the event.
“The horse would tire out before she would. She’ll be up there for a long time, “ said father JP, who was also at the event with his wife Janice and two-year-old son Max.
With Max going for his first ride on Saturday, Janice said the event has given both of her children the chance to connect with the animals.
“It’s a great opportunity for children who are not usually around horses to introduce them and see if they like it,” she said.
Jones said the event raised more than $700 dollars for Anderson House last year.
Money and items were also collected this year to go to the provincial emergency shelter for abused women and children, with an individual from the shelter picking them up late Saturday afternoon.
Jones said while the event is for a serious cause, it also gives the facility’s students and associates the opportunity to gather together and give back to the community.
“So it kind of turns into our Christmas party,” said Jones. “It’s fun for us because we get to share the love of horses with the kids and the students volunteer doing something they love.”