Horses and riders at the Kamloops Therapeutic Riding Association (KTRA) now have a safer, more reliable outdoor riding arena, thanks to a collaboration led by FortisBC. Over the weekend, several organizations donated the time, equipment and materials needed to resurface an outdoor arena at the KTRA, which provides therapeutic horseback riding programs to individuals with medically-diagnosed disabilities.
“We’ve wanted to extend our program into this arena for a long time, but we first had to make it safer for both horse and rider,” said Ashley Sudds, executive director, KTRA. “It would have cost us over $50,000 to do on our own, so I reached out to the community for help and was amazed at the positive response.”
KTRA’s riding facility is located along the Thompson River and its primary arena is subject to flooding which can disrupt programs and events. A second outdoor arena was built as a temporary emergency solution in 2012 but with recycled street sand that was uneven and could contain harmful debris. It needed to be properly resurfaced to be safe and appropriate for regular riding use. Sudds made the project a priority this year and put out the call for help.
FortisBC’s Kamloops staff took notice and suggested it as a Community Giving Day, a unique program where employees volunteer their time and energy to help a local non-profit organization complete a project that benefits the well-being of the local community. Matt Mason, community and Indigenous relations manager, FortisBC, coordinated the four-day project.
“Given that the KTRA provides such a valuable service to those in need, we saw this project as a clear opportunity to make a positive difference in the community,” said Mason. “This was such a great fit for us. As an energy provider, we had the skills and expertise for this type of construction, and also access to a network of like-minded companies who we knew would want to help.”
The project involved removing the old surface materials and laying a base before carefully placing arena-quality sand. It was all done under the guidance of Randy Mills, an expert in horse riding arenas. Metro Reload donated sand and equipment as well as removed the old surface materials. MarWest and Warner Rentals provided equipment, and FortisBC staff members volunteered their time. FortisBC also provided funds for any additional resources that were needed.
“It’s been really gratifying to see this all come together and have so many people want to help us out,” said Sudds. “We really appreciate the community spirit. It’s going to mean a lot to the people who we help every day.”
KTRA will start using the new permanent arena as part of their programs this fall. For more information, visit, ktra.ca.
Each year, FortisBC organizes a number of community giving days throughout the province, which are often brought forward by employees. Employees freely offer their time and effort to these worthy causes. Learn more about these initiatives at fortisbc.com/community-investment.
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