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Directory of Sports Non-Profit Organizations

Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association


Associated Sports: Equestrian
Causes Served: Disability Issues
Age Groups Served: All
Mailing Address: 5420 Hwy. 6 North, Suite 11, R.R. #5
City: Guelph
State/Province: Ontario
Zip/Postal Code: N1H 6J2
Country: Canada
Phone: 519-767-0700
Email: ctra@golden.net
Website: http://www.cantra.ca/home.shtml

Founded in 1980, the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) is a registered charity that promotes challenge, achievement and empowerment for children and adults with disabilities through the use of the horse. There are now approximately 100 member centres across Canada providing high quality therapeutic, recreation, life skills and sport programs. CanTRA has also worked over the past 25 years to ensure an excellent standard of certification and education for therapeutic riding instructors. CanTRA is a member of the Federation of Riding for Disabled International (FRDI) and is recognized by FRDI as the only governing body for therapeutic riding in Canada.

While CanTRA as a national body acts as a resource for its members through certification, education and insurance, its strength lies in its local centres across the country. Each centre offers a program with a slightly different focus and many medical professionals work with CanTRA to ensure excellence in service delivery.

Some centres may offer physical therapy with the therapist using the horse's movements to influence the body of the rider (Hippotherapy). Other centres focus on the mental health benefits of riding (Equine Facilitated Mental Health). The majority of centres focus on therapeutic riding to provide socialization, recreation, interaction of clients and horses, and the care and training of the horse. In addition, many of the centres provide life skills training, rehabilitation and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. At the riding centres, individuals of all ages are exposed to a sense of freedom and achievement. For many students with physical disabilities, riding may be their only experience of this kind of mobility.

Today, CanTRA administers a national insurance policy, manages an internationally recognized instructor certification program, provides consultant services, a video library, conferences, workshops and seminars and communicates with its members through the CanTRA Caller and Communiqué newsletters. CanTRA is now initiating research into the mental health field, and in 2005 officially created a new branch under the CanTRA umbrella: Equine Facilitated Mental Health-Canada (EFMH-Canada).

All not-for-profit organizations survive through generous donations and the dedication of volunteers, and CanTRA and its member centres are no exception. The number of member centres fluctuates depending on the ability to raise the necessary funding to ensure the viability of programs. Our national office is run with two part-time staff with the support of a volunteer Board and committee members across the country.

CanTRA continues to lead the country in equine matters related to therapeutic riding and to play a significant role as a member of the Federation of Riding For the Disabled International (FRDI).