OTTAWA – Canada’s Para Equestrian For All Clinics got underway last week in Halifax and will continue through October at three other venues in Eastern Canada.
Each of these clinics are designed to educate attendees on topics associated with coaching athletes with a disability and to encourage Equestrian Canada certified coaches to include more riders with impairments in their training and competitive programs.
The Paralympic Sport Development Fund, delivered by the Canadian Paralympic Committee and supported by the Paralympic Foundation of Canada, provided a $10,000 grant to Equestrian Ontario to assist with the operation of these clinics. Ottawa and Markdale are hosting two of the last three clinics.
‘’The funding has been supported on the budget to alleviate the travel expense,’’ said Jamie-Ann Goodfellow, Program Coordinator, Para-Dressage for Equestrian Canada.
‘’We’ve found in the last couple of years it's been very difficult within the travel expenses for running events. So the funding has been able to support us to bring in Clive Milkins (Technical Advisor of Para-Dressage for Equestrian Canada) and it helps us as well with the venue, supporting setting up the clinics with expense and registration fees.
‘’It's been very valuable for us to be able to run these events.”
The first clinic was held September 21-22 in Halifax. The Therapeutic Riding Association of Ottawa-Carleton (TROtt) in Greely, Ont., near Ottawa, hosts a clinic October 6-7 followed by another in St-Justine-de-Newton, Que. October 14-15, and at Hope Haven Therapeutic in Markdale, Ont. October 19-20.
Each clinic will include rider demonstrations with simulated lessons, where participants will be encouraged to engage and expand their knowledge. It is anticipated that attendees will be able to use knowledge acquired to introduce more people with physical impairments to equestrian sport and to identify and encourage potential athletes to strive for the podium.
These clinics build on the success of four Para coaching clinics held this past March in Langley, Kamloops, Duncan and Victoria, British Columbia, which also received a grant from the PSDF.
The feedback on the B.C. events was positive.
“The clinic exceeded my expectations in terms of the breadth and depth of content with a wonderful mix of videos, photos, personal anecdotes and discussion within the group,” said participant Tamara Taylor, in feedback obtained by Equestrian Canada.
‘’The riders and demos displayed a wide variety of horses and riders. Clive was an excellent clinician who treated each rider with humour, compassion, support, and dignity.
“I was quite emotional after my first lesson as it isn't often that I feel like an effective rider and celebrated for my abilities. It was a fantastic experience and I hope many others get the joy of feeling empowered on horseback.”