By Bren Pickel

The beauty of a community, working together, is an extraordinary thing. The CanTRA Awards tap into our most valuable as-sets and showcase the key people without whom our programs would fail to exist!

2020 CANTRA AWARDS

Congratulations to our award winners!

Andrea Gillies Award for Outstanding Instructor

Kerry Houlding, The Equestrian Association for the Disabled (TEAD), ON

“Kerry is a pretty special lady. To know her is to love and admire her!” — Hilary Webb, CanTRA Coach and Examiner.

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Photo courtesy of TEAD

In 2001, Kerry Houlding started at TEAD as a volunteer. With a Masters in Behavioural Science and her work in intensive be-havioural intervention helping children with autism, she was an asset to the program. After completing more than 100 volun-teer hours, it was inevitable for her to step into the study and process to achieve her CanTRA instructor certification.

In 2019, Kerry decided to continue building upon her skill set and experience. Contacting the CanTRA Equine-Facilitated Well-ness (EFW) Committee, she set about acquiring all of the qual-ifications needed to become a certified EFW Mental Health Pro-fessional. While working towards her qualification, she de-signed, marketed, and implemented the Equine-Assisted Social and Relational Skills Building Unmounted Program at TEAD. Pro-grams such as this are paramount in alternative therapies, meeting a variety of special needs.

“An open mind and fluidity are other beautiful qualities that Kerry demonstrates, and it sets her apart from other instruc-tors. She finds that certain connection point, and she compas-sionately understands that abilities are not a static thing. She realizes that what people can tolerate fluctuates from day to day, and one lesson to the next. Kerry has this unique ability to ensure as much benefit and joy is gained from each experience as possible.” — Amelia Kowalyshyn, Mom to three riders.

Marion Chartley Award for Outstanding Administrator

Roberta Landry, Cavalier Therapeutic Riding Club, NB

“This lady goes above and beyond for the club every single day; you could say she’s ‘the backbone’… truly.” — Debbie Wilson, Instructor.

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Photo courtesy of Cavalier Riding Club

In 1998, Roberta Landry and her husband, Jim, bought a farm in Riverview, NB, that housed the Cavalier Riding Club. They both wanted to see the program continue, and Roberta immediately became immersed in the club.

Attending lessons each night, first as a representative of the farm, she quickly joined in as a horse handler and side walk-er, helping with whatever was needed. She always made sure that the ring was clean and ready for the club, and helped out around the barn with grooming, tacking, and organizing volunteers.

As time passed, Roberta became a member of the Board of Direc-tors, instrumental with fundraising and administration. To this day, she takes on the vital task of coordinating the rid-er schedules, which is not an easy job. With many phone calls and a lot of discussions, she sets each rider in the right lesson that works with everyone’s schedule.

Over the past few years, Roberta held the position of Vice President and stepped into the President’s seat when it became necessary. In that role, Roberta managed and oversaw the relo-cation of the club to another property, their current home in Irishtown, NB.

“With her years of experience and knowledge in all aspects of the program, Roberta has proved to be a huge asset to the club. Without her, I don’t think the club would still be go-ing.” — Patricia Carter, Treasurer and Lesson Volunteer at Cavalier.

Rhonda Davies Award for Outstanding Volunteer(s)

Wayne & Brenda Singbeil, Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association (VTEA), BC

“They are our ‘Dynamic Duo,’ and to nominate one without the other would be like trying to separate the yin from the yang – it is simply not possible.” — Lynn Moseley, Director, VTEA.

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Photo courtesy of VTEA

Eleven years ago, the VTEA relocated to its current location across the street from the Singbeils. What started as a simple act of kindness, helping a neighbour during a snowstorm, blos-somed into one of the most dedicated relationships in VTEA’s history.

As Board Secretary, Brenda is very involved behind the scenes at VTEA. She works diligently on policy and procedure proto-cols, keeps track of volunteers’ hours, and is a key organizer with fundraisers and events.

Wayne wears many hats around VTEA. Ever the handyman, from building paddocks, to installing sprinkler systems, and har-rowing the arena, he also volunteers his time leading and side walking in therapeutic lessons. And then he sits down on the Board of Directors.

Brenda and Wayne’s investment in VTEA has even rubbed off on their grandchildren, who are now helping out around the prop-erty!

“I hope that they continue to enjoy all that they do, as that is what keeps them coming back every day, and their spirit is infectious — something that every nonprofit organization needs.” — Jackie van Dassen, CPA, CA Interim President.

CanTRA Outstanding Therapy Horse

Rusty’s Moon, Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association (VTEA), BC

“The sweetest mare you will ever meet. Rosie has the kindest temperament and the heart of an angel. Always ready to work, always ready to please. She loves her job, and it shows.” — Lynn Moseley, Director, VTEA.

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Photo: Lindy Mayer

This striking red roan splash-overo Paint mare, Rusty’s Moon (aka Rosie), has “been there, done that.” Rosie had worked as a lesson horse throughout her career, and landed at VTEA when her current owner began volunteering with them over five years ago. When used for hippotherapy, Rosie is relied upon to pro-vide steady and robust movement. Her personality shines when she is working with some of VTEA’s more timid riders. Rosie touched the heart and soul of one rider in particular: that of Fran McGuckin.

Rosie and Fran became partners in VTEA’s Senior’s Hippotherapy pilot project. At age 69, with severe chronic obstructive pul-monary disease, and as a brain injury survivor, Fran suffers many residual effects, including anxiety and depression. The confidence, joy, and peace of mind restored in Fran through her interactions with Rosie became the impetus to write again. Their story is now part of the popular collected series Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive, Live Happy.

“While the job of a therapy horse is not an easy one, Rosie does it with such grace and willingness; she is one of the cornerstones of Valley.” — Kristin Griffin, Director, VTEA.

Follow us on Facebook @CanTRA_ACET and visit www.CanTRA.ca.

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