BrickAlley: Providing Special Opportunities – on Horseback!
By Mary Relkov

"Thank you, Gem…" "You're welcome, Emma…"
Photo by Jasmine Ona McPherson

The BrickAlley Therapeutic Riding Association, in the Boundary country, near Greenwood, British Columbia, Canada, is looking forward to a busy and productive year, offering horseback riding as a means of therapy and recreation for people with physical, developmental and emotional challenges.

The concept of using horses in therapy originated in Europe and has been helping people since the 1950’s. Therapeutic riding, also known as Equine Assisted Therapy and Equine Facilitated Therapy, is a unique and holistic approach to therapy, rehabilitation and recreation, widely recognized by the medical, psychiatric and social service professions world wide.

Horseback riding and equine related activities, such as grooming and close bonding with the horse, are used to help achieve various therapeutic goals including physical, emotional, cognitive, educational, social and behavioural goals.

Some benefits include improved posture, muscle tone, balance, coordination, flexibility, increased attention span, self-confidence and trust through the special effects of the human/ animal bond. Therapeutic riding helps to build self-esteem, through challenge that is success oriented. The big smiles on the riders are an added bonus!

Children and adults of all ages, with disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Paraplegia, quadriplegia, hearing and sight deficits, autism, and mental challenges can participate.

BrickAlley’s facility is situated on 60 rolling acres, on Anaconda Road, west of Greenwood, in the southern interior of British Columbia and is a CanTRA (Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association) member centre. An active Board of Directors is in place. Program Facilitators are Michael and Wendy Price.

Head Instructor Wendy Price is fully certified with CanTRA, receiving extensive training through The Cowichin Therapeutic Riding Association, in Duncan, B.C. Wendy is also a Level I Western Instructor with Equine Canada and is employed as a Paramedic with B.C. Ambulance.

Community Futures, in Greenwood, B.C., recently awarded The Community Impact Award 2002, to BrickAlley.

A newly installed 70' by 100’ riding arena is ready for use, with the start up date for lessons being April 15. Crown land and many miles of riding trails surround the property. Development of the facility is ongoing, with more additions planned.

The hand-picked lesson horses are gentle and trained to the specifics of the program. In addition to our riding program, we are planning to include a driving program for those unable to sit on a horse. All lessons are designed to safely meet the needs of the individual rider, while being an enjoyable experience.

Winston Churchill once said, “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man.” Watching a student interact with our horses, one would be quick to agree.

Some of the goals of BrickAlley, for this year, include sending a student to The B.C. Disability Games, July 9-13, in Kelowna, B.C. We are seeking a student who would be interested in training toward participating in these games. This is an exciting opportunity.

BrickAlley is a registered charity and non-profit association. We rely on our volunteers, fundraising, community support, and the generosity of donations to keep our program active. Volunteers and donors are the backbones of the centre. Volunteering as little as one hour a week would be a great help and is very rewarding.

There will be a volunteer training program offered in early April, for those interested in helping out.
Donations are also gratefully accepted. As we are a registered charity, all cash donations are tax-deductible and will be used in part to purchase some of the special equipment needed. We also appreciate donations of tack, English saddles that will be modified for special needs, grooming supplies, vet supplies, first aid supplies and more.

For more information about BrickAlley Therapeutic Riding Association and therapeutic riding, please visit our website: www.brickalleytherapeuticriding.com or contact us personally at:

BrickAlley Therapeutic Riding Association
Michael and Wendy Price, Program Facilitators
1680 Anaconda Road
PO Box 552
Greenwood, BC, V0H 1J0
(250) 445-2273

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