About CanTRA

Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association

CanTRA was 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. CanTRA also provides education and instructor certification.

There are now 80 plus member centres across Canada providing high quality therapeutic, recreation, life skills and sport programs. CanTRA is a member of Horses in Education and Therapy International (HETI) and is recognized as the only governing body for therapeutic riding Canada. Each member 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). The majority of centres focus on therapeutic riding to provide socialization. recreation, interaction of clients and horses, and the care of the horse. In addition several of the centres provide life skills training, rehabilitation and employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

CanTRA's Aims and Objectives

CanTRA's Aims and Objectives

  • To promote therapeutic riding for persons with disabilities throughout Canada
  • To establish and maintain standards of horseback riding as a therapeutic, recreational and sports activity in collaboration with the medical profession
  • To provide coaching and horses for riders to experience competitive sport opportunities offered by the Canadian Para Equestrian Committee, a sport discipline of Equine Canada
  • To maintain the highest standards for registered Canadian Therapeutic Riding Instructors
  • To develop standards of program excellence
  • To promote research in all aspects of therapeutic riding
  • To provide mentoring support for student instructors
  • To provide a continuing educational program of seminars and conferences
Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

Benefits of Therapeutic Riding

  • Development of mobility, balance and co-ordination
  • Improvement of muscle tone and strength
  • Increased concentration and improved learning skills
  • A challenging recreational activity
  • Independence, integration and a sense of achievement
  • Development of self confidence and motivation
Member services

Member services

  • A National Insurance Policy
  • Annual CanTRA Awards program
  • Equine -Facilitated Wellness program
  • Hippotherapy program
  • Instructor Certification
  • Support Services for candidate instructors
  • Centre Accreditation program
  • Resource Manual for new and established therapeutic riding programs
  • CanTRA Caller and CanTRA Communiqué semi-annual newsletters
  • Information through eBulletins
  • Conferences, Workshops and Seminars

Who We Are

Directors, Officers and Administrators

  • HRH Princess Anne, Patron

    HRH Princess Anne, Patron

    CanTRA's Patron since 1986, Princess Anne combines her passion for children, as President of Save the Children since 1970, with her standing as an Olympic equestrian athlete, to benefit the field of therapeutic riding in Britain and abroad.

  • Ian Millar Honourary Director

    Ian Millar Honourary Director

    Ian Millar is an icon in international show jumping. The most decorated equestrian in Canadian history, his record-breaking career has set the bar for its numerous achievements and unparalleled longevity.
  • Eliane Trempe, President

    Eliane Trempe, President

    Eliane is a CanTRA Instructor and founder/director of CanTRA accredited centre Les Amis de Joey for the past 15 years.  Eliane is also executive director of La Fédération Québécoise d'Équitation Thérapeutique (FQET), Quebec's therapeutic riding association, for which she has beeen volunteering since its creation in 2000.

    Businiess owner, school counselor, event coordinator, Eliane has always been very active in many different fields.  Her studies in psychology and her passion for horses has driven her to dedicate her professional life to therapeutic riding on a full time basis, for the past five years.

    Eliane is also mother of two daughters, and five grandchildren with whom she enjoys spending time as often as her busy schedule allows her to do so.

  • Daphne Davey, Past President

    Daphne Davey, Past President

    Daphne Davey lives in Prince Edward Island. Originally from England, she obtained her British Horse Society Horsemaster's certificate before emigrating to Canada. After exploring the possibilities of therapeutic riding while living in Québec and Ontario, she moved to the Island and co-founded The Joyriders Therapeutic Riding Association of PEI in 1979. She has been a CanTRA Basic Instructor (CTRBI) since 1990.
  • Jane James, Treasurer

    Jane James, Treasurer

    Jane has been involved in therapeutic riding for over 29 years. She was founder of Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association in Duncan, BC and, is currently teaching for Salt Spring Island TRA. Jane is a CanTRA Coach and Examiner and has been a member of the CanTRA Board holding the position of President for 6 years and Treasurer at the present time.
  • Shelene Williams 1st Vice-President

    Shelene Williams 1st Vice-President

    Shelene is a long-standing member and CanTRA Intermediate Instructor (CTRII) at Mount View Special Riding Association, a seasonal CanTRA-accredited centre in Olds, AB, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2014. Shelene also served as Secretary-Treasurer of the former Alberta Therapeutic Riding Association.

    She has worked in the school system with special needs children, included FASD and severe behavior issues. In past and current jobs she has worked at a registered charity as Office Manager and now at an accounting practice as bookkeeper for a variety of businesses. She and her husband operate a cow calf operation in central Alberta. They raised 4 children all married now and providing her with 12 cute grandchildren!

  • JoAnn Thompson Franklin, 2nd Vice-President

    JoAnn Thompson Franklin, 2nd Vice-President

    Since graduating from Dalhousie University School of Physiotherapy in 1981, JoAnn has built up extensive experience in her chosen profession, accumulating post-graduate training in a wide field of related disciplines. Since 1999, she has continued as a practicing physiotherapist in her own business, Tidewater Physiotherapy Inc, in Lower Coverdale, NB. JoAnn is a founding member of Cavalier Riding Club, a CanTRAaccredited centre serving the greater Moncton area, NB, and has periodically served on the board of directors.
  • Sonia Koczekan, Secretary

    Sonia Koczekan, Secretary

  • Margaret Tibbo, Director

    Margaret Tibbo, Director

    Margaret "Muggs" is co-founder of Rainbow Riders in St. John's, one of the oldest therapeutic riding centres in Canada, and still serves on their board. She recently retired from the The Janeway Children's Health and Rehabilitation Centre where she was a Recreation Specialist/Clinical Leader in the Rehab Division. Rainbow Riders has a very close relationship wiht the Janeway, with riders coming from all corners of the Province...often tied in with Medical appointments. Margaret has been deeply involved in a number of para-sports, including boccia, para skiing, athletics, wheelchair basketball and swimming. She also served as Manager of the Canadian Para Nordic Ski Team at Paralympic and Para-World games.
  • Jo-Anne Billington, Director

    Jo-Anne Billington, Director

    Jo-Anne has been a volunteer with Little Bits Therapeutic Riding Association (Edmonton) for 30 years. In 1990, she qualified as CanTRA Basic Instructor (CTRBI), and is also a NARHA-certified Instructor. She assists with enrolling new riders in the program, evaluation prospective therapy horses, volunteer training, and managing documentation for the riders. She also helped in the development of the Adult program and provides support to the Program Administrator. Jo-Anne is an active member of the Edmonton Area Alberta Dressage Association, assisting with fund-raising and roving lectures. She enjoys owning her own Morgan gelding.
  • Kathleen Murphy, Director

    Kathleen Murphy, Director

    Originally from Nova Scotia, where she was executive director of Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association, Kathleen is currently in Ontario working towards her master's in social work. She holds Arts and Education degrees, as well as an elementary school teacher licence. Through her employment and volunteer work, Kathleen has accumulated extensive experience in a variety of settings, including working with children and youth, administration, fundraising, program and staff development, and event organization. She has also volunteered with the Canadian Pony Club and as co-director of Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship's Global Partners in Jamaica and Guatemala.
  • Christine Ross, Director

    Christine Ross, Director

    Christine Ross Since 2009, Christine has been head instructor at Creston & District Society for Community Living (CDSCL) in Creston, BC. She qualified as an Equestrian Coach Canada English Instructor of Beginners in 2016 and a CanTRA Coach (the highest instructor qualification) in 2017. Her responsibilites at CDSCL include teaching, mentoring, education, and overseeing the development of the therapeutic riding horses. She also serves in a volunteer capacity as CanTRA's Zone Representative for Zone 1 (BC and Yukon). Christine has been an equestrian for many years, both in England where she started riding at a very young age, and in Canada. She is an architect by profession.
  • HRH Princess Anne, Patron
  • Ian Millar Honourary Director
  • Eliane Trempe, President
  • Daphne Davey, Past President
  • Jane James, Treasurer
  • Shelene Williams 1st Vice-President
  • JoAnn Thompson Franklin, 2nd Vice-President
  • Sonia Koczekan, Secretary
  • Margaret Tibbo, Director
  • Jo-Anne Billington, Director
  • Kathleen Murphy, Director
  • Christine Ross, Director

Sponsors and Donors

Our sincere appreciation to these supporters and to those donors who wish to remain anonymous and to all other donors not posted here who have supported us financially. We also extend our thanks to those individuals who have generously assisted CanTRA with their volunteer time and expertise. More information on sponsorships is available here.

  • Canadian Horse
    We will support and promote Canada’s horse industry, and serve as a communication vehicle among the various sectors of the horse community.
  • DT Network
    The Disability Today Network is a community of internet and social media users. An online village like no other; we’re the disability community’s social media network.
  • Saddle Up
    "Dedicated to promoting and supporting western Canada's equine world through horse people, clubs, associations, shows, events and any other horseplay activity."
  • Dr de Demeter
  • Manning Equine Vet Services
    Manning Equine Veterinary Services specializes in performance horse lameness and medicine, pre-purchase examinations, reproduction, and dentistry.
  • Daphne Davey
  • Christine Oren Birch
  • Donna And John Davies
  • Dr Robert And Arlene Wright Ont
  • Gay Wood
  • Lelie Sponsel
  • Elna & Kenneth Strand
  • Linda Rault
  • Shelene Williams
  • Sandra Mudry
  • Tide Water Physiotherapy Inc.
  • Hannah Morrison
  • Leg Up Foundation