Hooves for Hospice – a “horsey” fundraiser

Lynn Smillie and her husband Peter Creighton have a passion for horses and a real talent for fundraising.  For the fourth consecutive year, Lynn and her team of hard-working volunteers are hosting Hooves for Hospice, a horsey fundraiser in support of Hospice Wellington.  This event was established in 2018 to commemorate her father James Smillie, who had passed away the previous year.  Mr. Smillie had always loved horses and helped Lynn build the paddocks at their farm and to find her current horse. During their first year out of the gate, Hooves for Hospice raised $1,800. and now after just four years their target is $10,000.

Hospice Wellington is located in Guelph.  For over thirty years, this 10-bed residence has been providing a range of services including palliative care and bereavement support to Guelph and Wellington County. Hospice Wellington is a registered charity operated by health care professionals, administrators, and committed volunteers offer care in a welcome and peaceful setting during the last stages of life.

Pat Stuart, executive director of Hospice Wellington offered this statement:

“Lynn and her group have done a great job fundraising for Hospice Wellington.  The money they raise is used for our community programs that help assist people and their loved ones who are going through the challenges of life-limiting illness. We greatly appreciate the effort and energy they put into doing this spectacular and well-loved event.  We rely on approximately 38% of funding from the government, with the remainder coming from donation and event contributions to operate our facility.  Third party events like Hooves for Hospice make all the difference and mean we can continue to supply programs for grief and bereavement support, palliative programs and integrated wellness at no cost to anyone in the community.”

Hooves for Hospice takes place the first Saturday after Thanksgiving and this year’s event is Saturday October 17.  The ride starts at 11am, leaving from Smillie’s farm just outside of Fergus, and takes about two hours to complete.  There are two groups; the ‘keeners’ who like to go a fast are lead by Smillie and her horse Noah.  The second group, the ‘amblers’ like a more leisurely ride and are wrangled by volunteer Janet Veldhuis.  The course includes a pre-marked trail that crosses over neighbouring farms and through pretty woodlands.  At the end of the ride, Smillie’s  husband Peter serves up his famous chili for lunch.  Prizes donated by local sponsors are awarded to the top pledge fundraisers and there is a minimum $75 pledge to enter.  Lynn Smillie credits the event’s success to her great volunteers and neighbours for their generosity allowing the ride to take place on their land.  This year’s ride will travel across nine properties and is supported by the Ontario Special Skills mounted unit.  For more information or to register for the ride, email hoovesforhospice@gmail.com.

Bridget Ryan