The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association is offering a limited number of classes for those without special needs as a fundraiser. (submitted)

The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association is offering a limited number of classes for those without special needs as a fundraiser. (submitted)

Coming up in Cowichan: Libraries look for ‘silver lining’; riding classes

Libraries banding together to find ‘silver lining’ in October

The Cowichan Valley libraries are banding together in October for what they’ve dubbed their “silver lining” membership drive.

The idea is that any new members 55-plus who sign up in the month of October, and anyone who refers a new member will be eligible to win “sterling prizes”.

On offer are Chemainus Theatre tickets, passes to the Met Opera Live in HD, HUB Film Club passes, free books and more.

So library lovers in the Valley are encouraged to get their friends to sign up in Duncan, Lake Cowichan or Mill Bay this month.

Therapeutic Riding opening up spaces for non-special needs

Starting Oct. 30, the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association will be offering community riding lessons for those without special needs to get a taste of the program and to help the CTRA fundraise.

The Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association is a Duncan-based charity that provides therapeutic riding and equine-based therapeutic services for persons with special needs. In addition to the Association’s core therapeutic riding program, CTRA offers therapeutic horsemanship, para-equestrian sport, and adapted equestrian vaulting. Stable management vocational training is also available for adults and youth with disabilities or persistent barriers to employment.

CTRA relies on community support to provide life-enhancing programs for individuals and families in the Cowichan region. Fundraising is one of the primary ways that CTRA offsets operational costs in order to ensure that therapeutic services remain accessible for people with special needs.

Through the community riding lesson program, CTRA will make a limited number of riding lessons available each session for clients without a referral (i.e. riders without special needs). These lessons will be taught by Equine Canada certified coaches using CTRA’s extremely safe and extensively-trained therapy horses — making this opportunity a great fit for new or nervous riders.

“Not only are community lessons a great opportunity for local riders, they provide much-needed mental and physical cross-training experiences for our therapy horses, helping them to stay fit and happy in their important service roles,” said Jennifer Barnes van Elk, development officer with the CTRA.

Community lessons will be held at CTRA’s facility but will take place outside of CTRA’s therapeutic programming. Registrants will enroll by the session (typically a six-week block of lessons, attending once per week), but mid-session intake may be possible with available spaces.

All of the money raised by CTRA’s community riding lessons will support the organization’s services for persons with special needs.

“This kind of social enterprise is a critical step towards predictable, self-directed funding and all of the wonderful possibilities that this kind of financial security brings to a charity,” said Barnes van Elk. “Through this initiative, local riders receive top-quality riding lessons while supporting a great cause. In turn, their patronage ensures the future of our services for persons with special needs. It’s a win-win-win situation.”

Lessons are limited, and space availability subject to program capacity. To register for CTRA’s community lessons or to learn more about CTRA’s therapeutic services please visit or contact or 250-746-1028.