Charities being supported this year are the Y Women’s Emergency Shelter, Kamloops Brain Injury Association, Chris Rose Therapy Centre for Autism and Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association. To donate, go online to bcicf.ca/kamloops-this-week-christmas-cheer-fund. Donations are accepted online thanks to a partnership with the BC Interior Foundation. Donations can also be dropped off at the KTW office, at 1365B Dalhousie Dr. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. Cheques should be made out to the BC Interior Community Foundation.
The Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association is a not-for-profit registered charity that provides therapeutic riding lessons to children and adults with diverse abilities. This is the second year the association is one of four organizations being helped by the KTW Christmas Cheer Fund.
The association, which works with riders from across the Thompson-Nicola region, saw their numbers increase this past spring, as those riders who needed assistance returned — with the help of their designated helper from inside their own “core [COVID-19] bubble.”
It marked a change from 2020, when only independent riders who didn’t need assistance were allowed, to due pandemic safety restrictions. With easing of COVID-19 restrictions, more riders are finding their way back to KTRA programs.
“If they needed a leader or a side-walker in their lesson with a horse, then they were to provide that,” said Ashley Sudds, executive director of the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association. “Whether that was their support worker or their family that they live with.”
The association’s recent purchase of a four-year-old Haflinger mare named Nala, has brought much excitement to the program.
It will allow the horse to be trained specifically for the therapy program — a training project, that is a first for the association. “It’s one of the side effects of the pandemic,” Sudds said, affording trainers to have the time to take on such a project.
In the coming year, Sudds says, she is hopeful that the KTW Christmas Cheer Fund money will help improve their financial situation.
Some of those funds will be earmarked toward covering a recent lease increase for the property, which they lease from the Kamloops Airport. It was a big surprise for the association this year. “It will be going up over the next five years,” Sudds said.
“We know that costs have gone up for everybody. For us, because it’s a commercial lease, there’s no scale. T
hat doesn’t exist in the commercial world.” The 10-acre property at the airport has been meeting their needs in many ways over the past years.
However, Sudds shared a long-term goal of Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association, that they might one day see themselves occupying in a different location.
“We do love the airport, but it’s getting busier and there is the dog park next door.”
She says, at times the property experiences flooding that forces animals to be moved, which in turn, greatly impacts the program.
If someone had a property that would work for them, Sudds says, to either donate or allow the association to work out of, it would help with the future growth of the program.
Their recent Halloween fund-raiser brought visitors to experience their open-air haunted barn, some, for the first time. “A lot of people that came said, ‘We never knew you were out here.’”
“That’s also what’s cool with the Christmas Cheer Fund,” Sudds said. “How it really builds awareness, sharing with the community this service that not all communities have access to.”
Those interested in following Nala’s journey to becoming a full-time therapeutic riding horse can check her out on Instagram at #nalasjourney, Facebook or, the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association website at ktra.ca.
THANK YOU, DONORS!
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