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FSTRA vying for online votes to win $125,000

Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association rider Hannah Cliche feels right at home with therapy horse Stella. Pictured practicing in the indoor riding ring at Rohan Wood Stables Oct. 31, the duo is dressed as pirates for Halloween.
Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association rider Hannah Cliche feels right at home with therapy horse Stella. Pictured practicing in the indoor riding ring at Rohan Wood Stables Oct. 31, the duo is dressed as pirates for Halloween.

AYLESFORD - Hannah Cliche’s face instantly lights up after therapy horse Stella successfully carries her over a cavaletti in the indoor riding ring at Rohan Wood Stables.

“I did the jump,” the 24-year-old gleefully proclaims.

“Good jumping position there, Hannah,” shouts head coach Alissa Cue, a certified therapeutic riding instructor.

“That was awesome.”
Cliche has been frequenting the Aylesford-based riding facility for a number of years to take part in the programs offered by the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association (FSTRA).

“I like the way that horses like to trot,” she says.

Cliche enjoys interacting with the horses, working in the stables two days a week, training in the indoor riding ring and getting a leg up on her competition.

In the spring, Cliche placed first in the Class 4 obstacle course competition hosted as part of the Equestrian Canada’s Coast-to-Coast Para-Dressage Video Competition. Cliche’s class was open to riders completing the course with a leader and one side walker.

“I did a good job by steering the horses, and the way I trotted was really awesome,” recalls Cliche, a resident of Nictaux Falls.

“I’m a pro and I’m very brave.”

FSTRA is a registered charity that has experienced steady growth since it was founded in 2012. The non-profit organization offers therapeutic riding and equine assisted learning programs for people of all ages and abilities.

Participating in Coast-to-Coast video competitions gives therapeutic riders a chance to showcase their balance, steering, obstacle, equitation, reining and jumping skills.

“The Coast-to-Coast competition is super exciting for our riders. There aren’t really horse shows throughout the summer that therapeutic riders are able to access, so Coast-to-Coast is a competition that allows these riders to compete against their peers all across Canada,” says Brittany Pulsifer, FSTRA’s executive director.

“We were very pleased that the FSTRA riders did overwhelmingly well. They all placed in the Top 10 across Canada”

Zachary Kalpachiev finished second in the class 1 balance pattern class, Aiden Hunt and Anna MacDonald claimed first and second in a steering competition, and Amy Phinney, Zane McDonald-Ansara, Amy Patey, Kelsey Wilband and Hannah Corkum claimed the second to sixth place positions in the obstacle class won by Cliche.

FSTRA’s riders are now anxiously awaiting the results of the latest competition hosted by Coast-to-Coast.

“It’s great to see their peers succeeding and encourages them to do the same types of competitions,” says Pulsifer, who describes Cliche as both a talented rider and great helper with FSTRA.

“Hannah carried her ribbon around for quite awhile showing everyone after she had won it.”

Help FSTRA win $125,000

FSTRA is one of ten organizations in Canada vying for votes in an online contest that will award the victor $125,000.

iA Financial Group is hosting the contest as part of its 125th anniversary. Voters can back the charitable organization of their choosing by voting at https://125.ia.ca/community.

The organization with the most votes accrued throughout the month of November will receive the grand prize.

FSTRA would use the money for a Freedom to Grow project centered around the construction of a new indoor riding arena. The addition of this building would make it possible for FSTRA to take on more riders, thus reducing waitlists and creating more opportunities for sustainability and growth.

The contest winner will be announced Dec. 11.

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