Two nonprofits recently joined together to make a wish come true for a woman whose love for horses stretches back decades.
A retired nurse practitioner who worked at the Canandaigua VA Medical Center, Renate Schwope once owned a horse named Gala and loved spending her weekends going on trail rides and camping with family and friends.
Schwope also rode her horse in parades in the Middlesex and Gorham area, so when her name was randomly drawn during a quarterly ceremony held by the Sharon M. Pepper Wish Upon a Star Program at the M.M. Ewing Continuing Care Center, horses immediately came to mind.
The program’s committee reached out the Heritage Christian Stables in Webster. The therapeutic riding program — which is part of Heritage Christian Services — is accredited by PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) and its staff was happy to help make the wish come true.
Joined by her family, Schwope visited the stables on Sept. 27, 2018, and was all smiles as she spent time with and rode a 25-year-old mare named Peaches. Photographer Bob Ward, of Canandaigua, who volunteered his services, captured several images for the family and the wish program, both during the visit to the stables and afterward as Schwope and family enjoyed lunch at Castaways in Webster.
This month marks the eighth anniversary of the wish program at M.M. Ewing. Supported by a fund created through community donations, the program holds quarterly ceremonies. Four names are randomly drawn by the program’s “genie” at each ceremony, and then the committee sets about fulfilling the wishes. To date, approximately 160 wishes have been fulfilled. They have included everything from one-on-one painting lessons, to fishing outings and visits from favorite regional performers. One recent wish fulfillment involved a show at M.M. Ewing by country artist Josie Waverly.