Celebrating the 2021 CanTRA Awards
By Christine Ross, CanTRA Vice President
Therapeutic riding programs thrive because of the wonderful and generous humans and horses who come together to provide a variety of equestrian programs for those with challenges and disabilities. The emphasis is on teamwork, with each person’s or horse’s contribution adding together to make a unique experience for the client.
Each year CanTRA presents an award to a volunteer, an administrator, an instructor, and a horse as an acknowledgement of their outstanding work. This year’s winners are:
Rhonda Davies Award: Outstanding Volunteer
Sponsor: John and Donna Davies
AMBER CATERER WALSH - The Community Association for Riders with Disabilities (CARD), Toronto, ON.
Photo: Randi Weiner/CARD
“Amber started her volunteer work with CARD in April 1988, more than 33 consecutive years ago, working as a leader/sidewalker on Saturday mornings each week. This also included grooming and tacking up the horses before classes began. In 1999, Amber obtained her Assistant Instructor certification and began teaching on Wednesday evenings. Amber now is the Volunteer Instructor for the Monday and/or Wednesday afternoon classes each week.” — Judy Wanless, Director of Volunteer Services, CARD.
Andrea Gillies Award: Outstanding Instructor
Sponsor: Gay Wood
HELGI SANGRET — Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association, Duncan, BC.
Photo: Bren Pickel
“Helgi approaches everything she does with great thought, careful planning, research, and wisdom. She is constantly looking for opportunities to educate herself and those around her, placing high value on acquiring knowledge and skills of the industry and beyond. She is an accomplished horsewoman, a natural mentor, and a skilled instructor, but she also has intuition and sensitivity towards her equine and human partners that bolsters her holistic approach to everything she does.” — Susan Lake, Interim Executive Director, Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association.
Marian Chartley Award: Outstanding Administrator
Sponsor: JoAnn Thompson Franklin
ANDY ROBB — The Joyriders Therapeutic Riding Association of PEI.
Photo: Michael Lewis
Andy passed away on September 4, 2020 and this is a posthumous award.
“Andy Robb served as a volunteer board member at the Joyriders for the past 20-odd years. During that time, he took on various roles within the organization, including serving for several years as president. When he stepped down from the presidency, Andy was honoured by the board for his work as a transformational president by being named Director Emeritus, a position held until his recent passing.” — Mel Gallant, Treasurer, The Joyriders Therapeutic Riding Association of PEI.
CanTRA Therapy Horse
Sponsor: Manning Equine Vet Services
WOODY — Pegasus Riding Association Nurturing Challenged Equestrians (PRANCE), Port Elgin, ON.
Photo: Kaitlyn Murdoch/PRANCE
“Woody is a rare find! Quiet enough to come on board as a full-time therapy horse at the young age of six and still an active team member 19 years later. Standing 15.1 hands with a medium build and kind temperament, this handsome solid chestnut boy could be described as a therapy horse unicorn. Throughout his years with PRANCE, Woody has carried many riders of all ages and needs. Woody has shown patience to those first learning and those whose methods are adapted to allow as much independence as possible.” — Jenny Sanderson, CanTRA Intermediate Instructor, PRANCE.