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I was born in Leamington, Ontario and have lived my entire life here and on a farm. Growing up I always loved horses, but didn’t own one until I won a pony in a raffle at a fair. The great part about winning Bimbo was that I actually got to keep him.
By the age of fifteen, I was competing at local youth horses shows in showmanship, western pleasure, barrel racing, and trail. My interest in trail led to winning the 1983 Canadian National Championship and a 1984 US National Top Ten Championship in Half Arabian Trail. I also developed an interest in dressage and reining.
After several years of competing as an amateur, I decided to get serious about coaching and in 1998, I became an Equine Canada Western Certified Coach I, being one of few certified coaches west of London. After undergoing a major expansion to my facility just outside of Leamington, SpEqTRA chose this site as their host facility and I began my certification to become an AI (assistant instructor) through the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association. I am now working towards my I (instructor) certification. I also have achieved all of the necessary prerequisites to take my exam as an Equine Canada Western Certified Coach II.
Along with coaching, I also run my equine facility, which has the capacity to hold 36 horses, offering boarding and training to a variety of horse breeds and disciplines. I am married and have two great kids, both boys.
SpEqTRA has brought a component to my life that is different than anything that I have ever experienced. The joy that is shared amongst clients, their families, and all of the wonderful volunteers that support the program is difficult to put into words. You really have to experience it to understand and I am grateful to have the opportunity to work with SpEqTRA and all those whose lives are touched by it.
I joined the SpEqTRA team as a volunteer and my interest in the therapeutic program drove me to become a certified AI. I committed to the extensive process of becoming an instructor with the support of SpEqTRA and my family.
I live on a hobby farm in Leamington with my husband, daughter and a variety of animals. While working full-time, I squeak out time to instruct, help with fundraising events throughout the year and have made long-lasting friendships with clients and their families.
I am happy to bring to SpEqTRA many years of horse-handling experience, a BSc from the University of Guelph, as well as my Bachelor of Education from the University of Windsor. Through personal experience, my interaction with clients, I have gained valuable insight which allows me to easily adapt to each individual’s special needs.
After a 33 year career with the federal government I retired and moved to Leamington from Manitoba. I wasn't sure what I was going to do with all my free time after working full time and raising three children, but setting up my new home was my first priority.
Once I got a good start on the painting and decorating, it was time to get out and find something to do and a way to contribute to my new community. I heard about SpEqTRA through an acquaintance and called to find out the particulars. This was exactly what I was looking for and starting volunteering and riding lessons that same week.
When I heard SpEqTRA was going to be in need of new instructors, being new to the horse world, I asked if it was something my instructor thought I could learn to do. The response was, absolutely, so I began my studies to prepare for my new career as an Assistant Instructor. I am thoroughly enjoying all of my students, as well as my personal riding time all while expanding my knowledge.
At a very young age, I was a nurturer and truly enjoyed helping people of all ages. The need to nurture, led me to volunteer for many different organizations and I always found enjoyment from learning new things while doing so.
I began my education in London studying Police Foundations, which in turn peeked my interest in the area of psychology. While completing my degree in psychology, at the University of Windsor, I began volunteering at a preschool for children with autism. This volunteer position, led to a full time position as a behavior therapist.
While doing respite for a family, I was introduced to SpEqTRA, through the child I was caring for. As a child myself, I had always loved horses, but like many children wasn’t allowed to have one. Therapeutic riding had also been an interest of mine. I began volunteering for SpEqTRA and openly expressed my interest in becoming an instructor. A very short time later, I found myself following yet another path by enrolling in the CanTRA Assistant Instructor course.
I am blessed that I am able to combine my love for horses with the enjoyment of helping individuals and their families with this special program. Again I get to teach and learn from some extraordinary individuals.