WANTED: Western and Recreational Riders!

Acera Insurance, Capri Insurance, Equestrian PTSO's Canada, HCBC, OEF, MHC, AEF, NSEF, NBEA, EAY, Equine Provincial Sport Organizations


“From an insurance perspective, it doesn’t matter whether you’re riding a 15-hand Quarter Horse out in the back country or off a 17-hand Warmblood in the show ring,” says Mike King, National Practice Leader and Partner at Acera Insurance (formerly CapriCMW). “The potential for injury to yourself or damage to property is still there. There’s always some risk associated with being in proximity of, or managing, a 500-kilogram animal.” 

That’s why many Western and recreational riders recognize the importance of an approximately $60 annual provincial/territorial sport organization (PTSO) membership — the built-in liability insurance and accident insurancecan save thousands of dollars when your horse damages something or someone or you suffer an injury from the equine experience. Most of the time people and their horses are at home — not at a rodeo or in the back country — and if they’re a PTSO member, they’re still insured. But membership isn’t just about insurance, it also raises your voice, helps advocate for horse use on trails, offers funding to individuals (like you!), and provides free education. Here’s how: 

1. Raise Your Voice 

None of us want our right to ride, play around with horses, or pursue professional equestrian activities taken away. However, not everyone supports rodeo, horse racing, horse sports, or the everyday jobs that horses do. As societal values change, the social license — acceptability — of using horses for entertainment and work is under pressure. The future of horse activities is at risk. PTSOs advocate for horse people to be able to continue doing their horsey things. The unified voice of horse people — via PTSO membership — is required to ensure that horsey activities remain part of Canadian society. 

Regardless of what you do with your horse, your needs and concerns matter. PTSOs have the ear of their provincial government and regulatory bodies. They advocate for continued horse and rider access to public lands and trails, and promote the interests of equestrian users. As a PTSO member, your voice will be heard and you can effect change. 

“The PTSO’s job is to represent the entire equine community in their respective province and there’s no question that they do an incredible job,” says King. 

2. $5 Million Liability Insurance 

Let’s face it — horses have minds of their own and get themselves into all sorts of trouble. They also damage things: pens, trailers, each other, and their riders and handlers. That’s why the personal liability insurance you get with your PTSO membership is so valuable. If your horse damages something or someone, you’re covered for up to $5 million ($8 million in Quebec). That covers any number of owned horses, used for almost anything (except commercial use) and covers you anywhere in the world. 

3. Free Money!  

Fortunately, grants and bursaries are available to help PTSO members participate in horse events. For example, Ontario Equestrian offers five $1,000 youth bursaries annually. Equestrian Nova Scotia offers six $500 educational bursaries annually. Alberta Equestrian Federation offers grants for trail and corral building projects that benefit PTSO members and the larger horse community. Cheval Quebec subsidizes internships for future veterinarians interested in equine work. 

4. Education and More 

Many PTSOs provide free educational webinars. It’s likely that your PTSO has partnered with Equine Guelph to offer discounted rates on dozens of online courses about horse health and welfare, trailering, horse management practices, and environmental care and stewardship. Others, such as Horse Council BC, created “travelling roadshows” which offered live speakers and workshops in different communities, and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic these have been replaced by webinars. PTSOs offer practical services, too. Cheval Quebec provides contract wording for selling horses, boarding, and accessing land. They’re also developing an equestrian route through Quebec complete with resources of where to stay overnight with your horse.

5. Embrace the Horse Community 

Membership benefits all equine owners, lovers, and enthusiasts, regardless of discipline or interest. Western and recreational riders make up the bulk of Canada’s horse industry. A 2021 equestrian survey in Alberta found that over 80 percent of respondents identified as being recreational equine enthusiasts. Approximately 54 percent of Cheval Quebec members are involved in Western and recreational activities. During wildfires, floods, a pandemic and other emergencies, PTSOs and members assist those that need emergency hay, animal care, and funding.  

“As an Alberta Equestrian Federation member, you’re not only protected against basic horse-related liabilities [via insurance] but you belong to an amazing network of people and organizations that source, create, and share resources and services,” says Kenda Lubeck of Alberta Equestrian Federation. “Don’t join for us, join for you.” 

Your PTSOs: 

CapriCMW is now Acera Insurance. Same great people, stronger than ever.

Mike King, Acera/Capri Insurance 

Main Photo: Canstock/HightowerNRW

Acera Insurance (formerly CapriCMW)