Determination, dedication and hard work by countless volunteers have been realizing this dream for PARD riders for over 35 years.
In the later 1970's, The Rev. Bagot King-Edwards and his wife Hope, themselves avid horse people, heard of programs being offered for the disabled and decided to make it the project of their retirement. An ambitious undertaking for a couple in their late 70's! Rev. King-Edward's parish, St. George's Anglican Church, was the first group to lend financial support through an annual craft show. The program's first home was at the farm of Jack and Ann Guest, using horses generously provided by the Guests. Their daughter, Lee Ann, was one of the first instructors.
As the years passed and the program matured, PARD was fortunate to be guided by a Board of Directors whose talents and determination overcame numerous obstacles. Mr. Tom Lord recruited many of the Board members including Norman and Doris Allan. By this time PARD owned the horses used in the program and each new recruit began their career at the Allen farm - even overwintering there to save expenses. Norman Allen went on to become a very competent President and Chairman, following Rev. King-Edward's example by making PARD his retirement project. Doris Allan was our first physiotherapist. Her expertise and advice assured a safe and therapeutically beneficial experience for the riders. Doris died several years ago leaving PARD a legacy of accurate assessment of horses and riders that continues today. Mrs. June Carpenter was treasurer from the first days until well into the 1990's, producing her reports by computer-long before the birth of PC's. When Kathy Carruthers started volunteering in 1994 no one could have known how much love and dedication she would bring to the program, not to mention the loving support of her husband, family and daughter-in-law Wendy.
Hope King-Edwards passed away in 1990 and is fondly remembered for her energy and organizational skills as chief record keeper. Those with a long history at PARD can still see her, shoe box tucked under her arm, ready with extra information on riders or volunteers. Anita Earnshaw began her career with PARD assisting the Allan’s with the new horses, particularly Rick, a former race horse who gave us many years of service. Anita joined the Board and in her role as President in 1998, guided us through the bureaucratic nightmare of becoming incorporated. She was succeeded by the very able Marilyn Nornabell who, upon her retirement, passed the reins over to Joanna Primavesi who led us for many years with a sure and steady hand. John Eadie was next in line followed by Tracy Magee-Graham. In 2012 co-chairs Angie Muir and Cathy Rae joined the board overseeing the move from Keene to PARD's current home in Warsaw. Angie continues to chair the Board of Director's today.
At PARD, being part of the team who make it possible for the riders to experience the unique form of physiotherapy and the joy of interacting with our marvelous horses is profoundly satisfying-many would say habit forming. Indeed, the Rev, King-Edwards, who had moved to Ottawa to be near his daughter, continued to return to Peterborough each year to visit the horses and riders. Bagot, who passed away well into his 90's, continued to ride horses until a few months before his death.
From its infancy to today; registered charity, member of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) PARD owes its continuing success to a long and distinguished list of volunteers whose time, talents and hard work make it possible. We continue to receive support from the community through fund raising, service clubs, corporate sponsors, our own volunteers and many others, too numerous to mention. And then there are the horses, to which we owe a debt of gratitude for their patience, willingness and gentle nature. We remember Blueberry, Cameo, Jeremy, Sharemy, Dolly, Anna, Sam, Rick, Tucker, Jada, Bodkin, Star, Cody, Mo, Twofers, Jo, Irish St. John, Tonka, Jasper, Rusty, Bear, Redford, Robbie, St. John, Buck, Freedom and Bail. Today, NuBuck, Frank, Bobby, Doc and Stormy are continuing in their hoofprints.
Welcome to our fifth home, Wendon Hills Equestrian Centre in Warsaw. We are appreciative for the strong support and excited about the wonderful care that our horses are provided by Brendon and Wendy Carruthers. We hope that knowing some of the history of PARD, you will find being a member of the PARD team interesting, fun (through sometimes dusty and a little sweaty) but deeply satisfying.
“Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but for greatness, because greatness is determined by service.” Martin Luther King, Jr.