Group offers classes for post-traumatic-stress victims

ONE OF THE veterans program clients puts one of the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society horses back out to pasture. The group offers classes for post-traumatic-stress victims of Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf.

In 1985, the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society was first located at Norwood Equestrian Centre as the Pacific Riding for the Disabled.

The Society started with a couple of rented horses, a couple of riders and a few volunteers.

In 1989 the Society relocated to the Courtenay Exhibition Grounds, across from Vanier High School on Headquarters Road. It was another start with two horses but quickly grew to 30 riders, per week. The name was changed and the organization constituted as the Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society.

CVTRS has exploded into a very large and in-demand program with up to 15 horses, 125 riders and 150 volunteers per week. For horses there are many different breeds but the preference is for them to be quiet, sound and healthy.

Riders are physically, mentally or emotionally challenged. Volunteers walk with each horse and rider for support and safety.

There are four instructors, a program director, a volunteer director, a barn manager, a stable manager, a social worker, a bookkeeper and a caretaker.

There are also many consultants and professionals involved, for which the program is extremely grateful. They include physiotherapists, councillors, psychotherapists, social workers, nurses, teachers, teacher aides, doctors and psychiatrists. The society is eager to build a bigger facility to accommodate all the demand.

It is a very busy schedule each day.

There are the horses to feed and water, groom, tack up and finally saddles, bits and bridles to put on. Each hour the horse and/or tack is changed to suite each participant.

The instructors arrive first, then the volunteers and then the riders.  There is great excitement as everyone is eager to get going with their class.

There are eight programs.

The latest one to evolve is the vets’ program, which has been developed to accommodate our returned veterans who have seen and had to do the most horrendous things.

To quote, “A few of us have been in some very serious places and have witnessed and done things that would give the normal person nightmares for life.”

Riders need a medical signed by a doctor, the horses are checked by our local veterinarians for good health, the volunteers have a criminal record check, the employees are trained by the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association and all have their First aid. Safety is a priority.

Workshops are ongoing for volunteers so you can also learn all about the horses and helping the riders feel safe and cared for.  The program receives gaming grants, is supported by the United Way and many clubs on the North Island. All donations are tax-deductible.

Call 250-338-1968 or visit to become familiar with this vibrant and heartfelt program.

— Comox Valley Therapeutic Riding Society

Just Posted

Comox Valley medical cannabis business growing despite impending legalization

With nearly a month to go until new cannabis legalization laws come… Continue reading

Humpback whales visit Cape Lazo

Peter Hamilton with Lifeforce Ocean Friends snapped these photos of some humpback… Continue reading

Valley Father-daughter duo share a special bond over a kidney

Annual kidney walk is set for Sept. 23 at Simms Park

Stolen Victoria vehicle crashes in Black Creek

On Sept. 15, 2018 at approximately 10:45 p.m., the Comox Valley RCMP… Continue reading

Courtenay getting a tool library

New facility allows do-it-yourselfers to borrow tools

VIDEO: Messages of hope, encouragement line bars of B.C. bridge

WARNING: This story contains references to suicide and may not be appropriate for all audiences.

Scheer pushes Trudeau to re-start Energy East pipeline talks

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer questioned the Prime Minister over Trans Mountain project

Mistaken identity: Missing dog claimed in Moose Jaw belongs to another family

Brennen Duncan was reunited with a white Kuvasz that was found in Saskatchewan

Abandoned kitten safe and sound thanks to B.C. homeless man

‘Jay’ found little black-and-white kitten in a carrier next to a dumpster by a Chilliwack pet store

Police chief defends controversial marijuana seizure

Advocates said cannabis was part of an opioid-substitution program in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside

VIDEO: B.C. deer struggles with life-preserver caught in antlers

Campbell River resident captures entangled deer on camera

Trans Mountain completes Burrard Inlet spill exercise

Training required, some work continues on pipeline expansion

Supporters of B.C. man accused of murdering Belgian tourist pack courtoom

Family and friends of Sean McKenzie, 27, filled the gallery for brief court appearance in Chilliwack

Most Read