Our Staff

Our program staff consists of our Program Director, Head Instructor, Driver/Assistant Instructor and lesson Instructor, making it a strong team with each member having the capacity to step into leadership roles. Urban Stable currently has two Intermediate CanTRA certified instructors working towards their Senior level and one instructor working towards her Intermediate CanTRA instructor level. Once Senior level certification is completed by any one of our instructors, Urban Stable will have the capacity to mentor instructors/CanTRA candidates of all levels right here in Manitoba.

Board of Directors

Lana Stevenson – President
Michelle Kowalchuk - Vice President
Melissa Klimack– Secretary
Karla Petri - Treasurer
Heather Clements – Director
Val Holloway – Director

Staff

Wendy – Executive Director

Wendy MacDonald is Executive Director and Co-Founder of Urban Stable in 2001. Wendy has put 18 plus years of hard work and endless passion into co-founding and running Urban Stable’s equine facilitated learning programs.

Working in social services Wendy saw the need for a program that would take students out of the classroom and focus on lifelong transferable skills acquired through interaction with horses. Urban Stable started in 2001 with just one horse and a couple of students and has grown to now having helped over 550 students in 4 unique programs and looking forward to more growth in the future.

Wendy MacDonald has been awarded the honor of being named a Manitoba Hero. It is Wendy’s compassion, dedication and tenacity that has made Urban Stable what it is today and we are excited that the woman who is a hero to so many at Urban Stable is getting this well deserved recognition.

We are so proud that Wendy is being recognized and honored for her achievements helping youth unbridle their potential!

Hayley – Program Director

I have been working with Urban Stable since 2014 as Program Director and I am part of the instructor team. I am a certified Senior Instructor with the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) and have been instructing therapeutic riding since 2009. I am an Equestrian Canada Western Instructor of Beginners.

Being an instructor working with horses and youth I believe there is always more to learn about horsemanship and instructing. I am therefore regularly building upon my skills and continuing to develop my equine and coaching education.  I have been riding for pleasure in a variety of disciplines since I was a child on and off over the years and continue to learn more in the saddle.

From childhood I have always been fascinated in horses. I remember pretending to canter around the playground on imaginary horses at school with my friends during recess. We would have amazing adventures! My mother loved horses as a youth too and I think she saw the same passion growing in me. Those warm memories have stayed with me and helped me on of my journey to share my love of horses with others. It is such an honour to able to work with these incredible animals today.

What do you like about working for Urban Stable?

Urban Stable is a wonderful place to come to work! The volunteers and staff bring an amazing energy to the program. Urban Stable brings people together to network.

I am always amazed in the healing power of horses and the smile the horses bring to the students’ faces each day of programming. Urban Stable is a safe haven for the youth in the program to heal, grow in confidence and make new friends where they may not have been able to do before.

What is your favourite Urban Stable memory?

There have been some fantastic times with the volunteers, students and instructors at Urban Stable. I especially enjoy watching the students learn something about themselves from their horse which has enabled them to grow.

But my favourite memory would be when a student we had in the program, that struggled to communicate, made a bee-line to me one day and said he had been waiting all week to talk to me. He was usually a young man of very little words, but that day he wanted to talk! He asked many questions about the horse he was riding, what his horse liked to eat, if there were horses in England, and where did they live etc.? He was so chatty! I happily answered his questions. It made my day that he wanted to share with me and I also learned what a cracking sense of humor he has. The deep thought, feeling, planning and courage that he must have put into asking me his questions was marvelous to witness – a proud moment!

Carla – Head Instructor

I have been working with Urban Stable since 2014 as Head Instructor. I am a Basic Instructor with the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA), a certified Equestrian Canada Western Instructor of Beginners and Western and English instructor through the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). I am currently working towards my CanTRA Senior Instructor. I have been teaching riding lessons since 2009.

Like many who work with horses my love for them started as a young kid and it was my greatest joy when I was able to start riding as a teenager. Horses and horsemanship is a life long journey and I am passionate about continuing growing in my horsemanship and riding skills as well as my skills as an instructor through clinics, workshops and lessons. I believe this commitment to continued professional development insures my students and the horses always get top quality lessons and care.

I have ridden in a variety of disciplines and worked in many areas of the equine industry, from being a barn hand to a barn manager, a trail guide, a horsemanship instructor, and an instructor of equine assisted learning here at Urban Stable. I love building the skills and confidence of kids and adults who are new to riding and helping them connect with a horse. The horse has so much to teach and it is my privilege to facilitate that experience for our students.

What do you like about working for Urban Stable?

I cannot say enough good things about the Urban Stable programs. The staff and volunteers (both horse and human) make everyday at work a good day. The staff and volunteers are everyday heroes working tirelessly and enthusiastically to change the lives of the youth they work with; they are an inspiration.

Though the staff and volunteers are amazing, my favourite thing about working for Urban Stable is watching the magic of the relationship between the students and horses; the way the students learn to connect with and care for their horse, the growth that is begun in the students and the positive changes we see in them through the program. The horse can teach us things about ourselves that no one else can.

What is your favourite Urban Stable memory?

This is a tough question. I think my favourite memories are of our celebration days. At the end of the year each group of students invites their families to the barn for a mini-show and celebration where the students get to ride for their families and show them all they have accomplished. Watching the students’ pride and enthusiasm in sharing their achievements, that have come through hard work and determination, is so rewarding.

“Horses change lives. They give our young people confidence and self-esteem. They provide peace and tranquility to troubled souls – they give us hope!” – Unknown

Tavia – Assistant Instructor and Driver

My story with horses began over 15 years ago. As a child, I pestered my parents for riding lessons and was fortunate to have parents who could (and eventually did) say yes to my request. Throughout my childhood and adolescence, horses not only helped me grow in confidence and compassion, but provided me a refuge through the ups and downs of life and gave me something to be proud of all along the way.

As my passion for horses progressed, I gained experience in horse training and barn management and began coaching riding lessons. I am currently an Equestrian Canada Instructor of Beginners, working towards my CanTRA certification, and am also a social work graduate from the Université de Saint-Boniface.

For me, Urban Stable opens the door to horses for young people facing barriers in other parts of their lives, and who might otherwise never have the chance to spend time with a horse. It is so rewarding to see our students progress in skills, ease and confidence as they return each week, and to see the joy they experience so fully with the horses in our program. I am honoured to join the Urban Stable team in 2017 as driver and assistant instructor!