“Pivoting to Virtual” in Education, Accreditation and Certification

By Christine Ross, CanTRA Vice President

Hands-on practical learning continues to be important and promoted by CanTRA as very valuable; however, due to the challenging times presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, CanTRA has had cause to explore and put in place virtual methods of providing education, accreditation, and certification.

During the past two years, CanTRA has been providing the opportunity for continuing education through various webinar series using the ZOOM video conferencing platform. CanTRA has been able to attract top speakers and these have formed a very affordable way for CanTRA instructors to obtain high quality updating hours, and for all other members to increase their knowledge.

In 2020 Virtual Accreditation was initiated with two pilot projects, one in British Columbia and one in New Brunswick. Following the success of this pilot, the CanTRA Board of Directors approved a further two-year project across the country. Several CanTRA programs from BC, Quebec, and Ontario are presently preparing for this process and we expect others to follow.

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Newly qualified CanTRA BI-2 Pamela Young (left) with Abbi riding Lena at Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre, ON. Photo: Suzy Bender

Programs that have successfully completed Virtual Accreditation:

  • CDSCL Therapeutic Riding Program, Creston, BC
  • Shining Horizons Therapeutic Riding Association, Saint John, NB
  • Rainbow Riders Therapeutic Riding Centre, St John’s, NL (began with in person accreditation and completed virtually) 

Through the summer of 2021, CanTRA began to hold virtual exams. Due to the pandemic these have been limited to the BI (Basic Instructor) and BI-2 exams. It is very difficult during the pandemic restrictions to have class lessons of four riders due to the numbers of people gathering. When added up in total, the numbers required for a lesson of four riders with leaders and side-walkers would be 16 persons all coming from different places and working in close proximity. Virtual Certification is done for one or two candidates at one time over a time period of two weeks, unlike “in person” certification, which is held for six candidates over a weekend. Since June, we have successfully examined six candidates and have several more exams currently in progress.

Candidates who have passed their exam this year are:

  • Lauren MacIsaac CTRBI-2 — The Joyriders Therapeutic Riding Association of PEI
  • Gilles Richard CTRBI-2 — The Joyriders Therapeutic Riding Association of PEI
  • Rebecca Hibbs CTRBI-2 — Rainbow Riders Therapeutic Riding Centre, NL
  • Morgan Janes CTRBI-2 — Rainbow Riders Therapeutic Riding Centre, NL
  • Pamela Young CTRBI-2 — Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre, ON
  • Samantha MacDonald CTRBI-2 — THRIL Therapeutic Horse Riding, ON

Modern technology has allowed CanTRA education, accreditation, and certification to continue despite the COVID 19 pandemic. Many people have worked very hard to continue with the presentation of these activities and CanTRA thanks them sincerely. 

There is still much to do and the hard work will continue in 2022. 

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Main Photo: Gilles Richard (left) and Lauren MacIsaac (right) from the Joyriders Therapeutic Riding Association of PEI show their CanTRA BI-2 certificates. Daphne Davey, Joyriders president, presented the certificates on behalf of CanTRA. Photo: The Joyriders Therapeutic Riding Association of PEI



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