Featured 2013



It was a night to be with friends to celebrate the retirement of the long-time therapy horse, Mac. Macsm

Earlier this year in February, the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association (CTRA) in Duncan, BC, had a Hawaiian-themed party entitled “Mac’s Getting Leid Off.”

Mac received his guests, sporting a yellow and pink lei, which complimented his shiny dun coat.  Even at his retirement party, he demonstrated his love for people with his welcoming nature.

“The party was a hoot!” says Executive Director Jennifer Barnes van Elk. “It was attended by dozens of Mac's closest friends across the years (current and past participants, volunteers old and new, the list goes on) and everyone really got into the swing of things with Hawaiian leis, Hawaiian music, and too many goodies to count.”


The phone call received on May 28th should have been met with loud and ecstatic cheers. Linda Rault with Little Bits snowballTherapeutic Riding Association in Edmonton (LBTRA) spoke to Daphne Davey, President of Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) in Guelph and heard the news: their applicant, Snowball, had won CanTRA Therapy Horse of the Year 2013.

The news was tainted with sadness because Snowball had been euthanized less than three weeks earlier on May 9th.  

“[On] Wednesday evening she carried her two Little Bits riders outside for a trail ride and was then tucked away for the night in her stall,” says Linda, “Thursday AM she was showing signs of colic and was transported to the veterinary clinic. An ultrasound revealed a twist in her hind gut and she was humanely put to sleep with two of her ‘keepers’ from the staff of WELCA at her side.”


It’s something that every horse owner loves – a perfect stranger complimenting their horse. But imagine if that perfect strangerbart jump1 001 was Ian Miller riding Big Ben? It happened to Holly Howard and it is her favorite memory of competing with her horse.

Holly was at Spruce Meadows for the first time as a part of Battle of the Breeds with Performance Standardbreds. She was riding her horse, a Standardbred from the track who had never raced because he was too slow, Bare Essentials.

“My first time in the warm up ring Ian Millar rode beside me on Big Ben,” remembers Holly. “It was his farewell tour and as I am completely speechless he nodded at me and said ‘nice horse.’ I will never forget that moment.”

But that is just one moment in many. “Every day I see him is a new memory,” Holly says, “21 years is a long time, trying everything and everything you can and shouldn’t do with horses, he was always up for it as long as I was.”


The partnership between Suzon Schaal and Genuine Brown Gal has been an undeniable success. However, Suzon wasn’t interested in a new horse in aSuzon-Schaal2007 when her friend Marion Stav, the horse’s breeder, suggested she try the bay Quarter Horse mare affectionately called Ginna.

Genuine Brown Gal was born in 2003 in Turner Valley, Alberta. She is by Listo Pollito Lena and out of Genuine Emerald.

At the time, Suzon was taking cow horse lessons from John Swales on a horse that she already owned and Ginna has recently returned from a trainer who felt that she wouldn’t be able to overcome her fear of cattle to become a competitive show horse.


Erin Lunteigen was looking for a horse. She was already frustrated, having tried at least 30 horses in a two hour radius.aSisha

When she saw an advertisement posted for a mare, she booked an appointment the very next day. Erin and her trainers drove into the Okotoks farm and she remembers seeing Sisha. “There stood before me a beautiful and fiery red chestnut Canadian Warmblood mare,” Erin says. “I could barely take my eyes off of her, she was breathtaking, with a face as kind as an innocent child's. Secretly inside I was jumping up and down and knew she was the one. Within five minutes of the drive home my two trainers and I have decided that we would purchase this lovely mare.”

Erin purchased Sisha, a Canadian Warmblood in May 2010 from Herman Amberger. The last two and a half years have been a roller coaster of highs and lows.


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