RCMP members partnered with the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association to do some horse handling. (submitted)

RCMP members partnered with the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association to do some horse handling. (submitted)

RCMP saddle up for CTRA horse handling

Members from “A” Watch ditched their duty belts and uniforms and participated in the training

On July 10, North Cowichan/Duncan RCMP partnered with the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association with several police officers volunteering to take horse handling training.

Members from “A” Watch ditched their duty belts and uniforms and participated in the training that is provided to volunteers at CTRA. This training provided them with the tools required to be an onsite volunteer horse handler at their facilities located on the Providence Farm grounds.

CTRA provides an invaluable service to kids and adults in the Cowichan Valley community through equine therapy. They are more than welcoming to new volunteers, and this might help get a few more volunteers in that riding ring, said Sgt. Chris Swain in a press release.

Some officers such as Swain, have already been volunteering for a few years and see firsthand the benefits the riders and handlers experience.

“This could turn out to be a great partnership,” Swain said. “Not only will some of our officers come back to be volunteers with CTRA, but the horses are providing stress relief and therapy to our members as they manoeuvre through their high stress profession. Horses played an integral role in the history of the Mounted Police and are a Canadian icon to this day. Getting back to our roots in this fashion benefits everyone.”

“Volunteers with CTRA are not just horse-handlers or side-walkers,” said Jenn Barnes van Elk of the CTRA. “They are important members of our therapy teams and act as critical role models for our younger participants. The relationships that develop between participants, families, volunteers, and staff members are instrumental to therapeutic outcomes. As such, we are so excited to welcome local RCMP members to our organization. We are also honoured to play a part in the RCMP’s long-standing tradition of horses in service.”

If you would like more information about CTRA, volunteering, or the programs they offer to the Cowichan Valley, please visit their website at www.ctra.ca