Santa Elves Workshop

On December 09, 2018 We will be attending the Santa Elves Workshop Sale. It is Sunday December 09, 2018 from 10am – 3pm.

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I am really excited, first to share information on what we do AND to do some fundraising. (Mostly because our wonderful President, Mr. Sheppard has frozen all spending until we start making some money back, but I managed to get three harnesses bought before he arrested my credit cards).

Please come out to the sale, drop by, say Hi! We will have Christmas gifts for sale, from $5 – $20. Something for everyone!

Christmas Fundraising

In order for us to do what we do, we have to fund raise. I have purchased these canvases before and I know they are always super popular! They are $15 each and all of the profits go towards the care of the horses, farrier, vetting, trailering.

Canvas A – 9.75”x 7.75” Skates in Snow

Canvas B – 11.75” x 15.5” Skates against Barnboard

Canvas C – 11.75” x 15.5” Front Facing Barn

Canvas D – 11.75” x 15.5” Side Facing Barn

 

Please email us to reserve your picture(s). Once ordered we ask for 10 days to deliver the picture to you. I will be hand delivering them and sometimes schedules get a wee bit wonky!

The Devil is in the Details

Sometimes businesses work forwards and backwards, this has been the case with Small Hooves, Big Hearts. We got the horses without having the business plan in place. Now I am a huge proponent of learning being life long and evolutionary. Last year I returned to Wilfrid Laurier on a grant to take part in a Social Enterprise program. While there, I learned something new. I have always created traditional business plans, pages and pages of statistics, forecasting, analysis, I learned to use a lean business model. Now I know, lean business models have been around since 2008, but I never really used one, because I think I really like paperwork. Letting go and venturing into a bootstrap unknown was both thrilling and struck me with anxiety.

In the business model is a section for unfair advantage. Now at the risk of sounding like I am drinking our own koolaid, this seems like an easy thing to write. We have the horses, Red is really well trained, the others are coming, we have the contacts, but as I ventured further into this enterprise and one reason we decided to hold off on moving forward until next spring, we need policies in place. We are bringing 250lb animals into nursing homes and day centres, these animals can kick, they can bite, they can carry diseases and the whole world is waking up to the concept of liability. How do we protect everyone?

The devil is in the details and it is our unique and unfair advantage.

  • We are fully insured – this is no mean feat and it is very expensive. There is one company we could find willing to take us on.
  • All of our personnel over the age of 18 have up to date vulnerable sector clearance
  • Our animals are fully vaccinated and Coggins tested, they are up to date on worming and parasite control
  • Our horses have been worked with thoroughly and tested to be safe
  • Policies, we have policies on bio-security, privacy for our volunteers, for our website, mutual NDAs and general business policies. We have photo releases, contracts and liability forms.
  • We are Federally Incorporated, this is so, should we choose to expand the program, we can do so. This also requires a unique set of reporting  procedures.
  • Compliance, we have researched every aspect of the business and it’s need for compliance. Our trailer is safe, it is safetied annually, our truck and trailer is driven by someone with a Class A license. The animals are fit and healthy, hand washing, bio-security, accounting for nonprofits, business practices, we have researched everything. This is not just for us, it is to protect you, the general public.
  • Channel partners, we are very careful who we align ourselves with. Equine Facilitated Wellness Canada, we can attend seminars, to further our work and develop deeper bonds with our horses. Miniature Horse Association of Ontario, they promote responsible breeding, sanction shows, both of which are wonderful opportunities for our young handlers to learn more.

We are leaving nothing to chance. We want our board, our patrons and our horses protected and at times it might seem like overkill, but the devil is in the details and I love details.

We Love A Parade

Please join us! Check out our events page. We will have a float in Lindsay, Port Perry and Woodville. Whether we will have the horses with us is up for discussion. While we would love to have all three, we want to ensure they will be comfortable, some parades have 3 hour routes, weather, while they enjoy the cold weather, there is a difference in them hanging out in the field and walking in inclement weather.

Party!

We have been back and forth on this issue. Do we make our horses available for parties. – Well yes and no.

I missed an email from someone who wanted us to do a party and I felt very bad for that, they went with another organisation and I know they will be very happy with that organisation. However, it brings up the question; will we do children’s parties.

Our horses are horses. They are extremely well trained, we know them extremely well. We have loaded one on the trailer, to take him back off, because that day, just wasn’t his day. Last night was going to be a quick grooming and stall clean before feeding. Less than two minutes into standing in cross ties, we had a lunge line hooked on and were out “water skiing” in the mud. Our horses sometimes need to be horses and we are ok with that. Their needs are above and beyond anything else. However we also expect them to adhere to their training when we are out, which sometimes requires a little extra work at the barn.

I have extensively researched companies that do parties, asked questions and had our own experiences out with the public. It makes me hesitant. We know that three hours is about the length of time our horses can handle being with the public. We know in those three hours, they need a couple 10-15 minute breaks. Red for example will not go to the bathroom with people watching. This comes from her training long before us, where she was a lead horse in a six-horse miniature horse hitch team. At one event she ate 2lbs of carrots – she needed a couple breaks! Horses by nature are grazing animals, so while there might be plenty of grass, and they will graze, we want and they want to go visit that trusty hay bag we travel with and have a drink of water. At times, this has been met with disdain from members of the public. Our responsibility is to these horses, we take their care very seriously. If you have ever mucked a miniature horse’s stall, you know they have the metabolism of bunnies! They need their breaks and so do our volunteers.

So parties, yes we will do them. However we require at least 3 weeks notice to ensure we have available staff. I will come and meet with you, view your property or the local where you are having the party. There will be a contract and forms to sign – lots of forms. We are fully insured and insurance for this type of program is not cheap, nor is it easy to obtain. We require waivers signed by the parents of all children in attendance. We will gladly photograph the day for you, we are not professionals by any stretch of the imagination, but we are not horrible either. A photo/image release waiver must be signed by each parent of each child attending. This protects you and us. We will provide you by e-mail or on a USB with the images for the party. The children can interact with the horses, groom them, lead them, hug them, play with them. We will do a brief introduction and education presentation with the horses, the horse will even do some tricks! We will arrive with a folding canopy with gates for the horses and a birthday gift for the boy or girl!

We also have a cart for carriage rides!

One Horse: $150/hr, 2 hour minimum, includes 1/2 hour travel time

One Horse and Cart: $175/hr, 2 hour minimum, excludes tack-up time (approx. 10 minutes) and includes 1/2 hour travel time

2 Horses: $200/hr, includes 1/2 hour travel time

We can coordinate mane rolling and tails to reflect your theme! We have unicorn horns, bridle plumes and other costumes.

We want your experience to be positive!