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 Senior Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) certified instructors and one Intermediate CanTRA certified instructor who is working towards her Senior level. Our Senior level instructors have the capacity to mentor instructors/CanTRA candidates of all levels of instructor certification right here in Manitoba. Urban Stable is the first CanTRA Accredited Exam Centre for Basic One and Basic Two Instructor level examinations in the province.
Board of Directors
Lana Stevenson – President
Chamaine Walsh - Secretary
Kate Simes - Treasurer
Melissa Klimack - Director
Heather Clements - Director
Val Holloway - Director
Dawna Atamanchuk - Director
Wendy – Executive Director
Wendy MacDonald is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Urban Stable. The growing need for youth to get engaged in their education and communities sparks a flame in Wendy that drives a huge passion to encourage youth to achieve personal success and self-discovery. Wendy is an outstanding leader with her infectious passion and tenacity for the mission, the youth we serve, and the horse facilitators.
Working in social services, Wendy saw the challenges youth in her community were facing daily at school and at home. She saw the need for a program that would allow students to focus on developing lifelong transferable skills, away from a traditional classroom setting. Wendy had experienced the powerful, positive impact that horses made on the life of one of the youth she worked with as a social worker and knew she had to find a way to offer this life changing opportunity to more youth, so Urban Stable was born.
Recognized as a Manitoba Hero in 2017 for her incredible work in building an organization that has already touched the lives of over 650 youth and their families, Wendy continues to work to better the lives of those around her. She is dedicated, passionate and is always coming up with innovative ways to encourage students, improve the program, provide services to more youth in our communities, grow the organization and be sustainable, ensuring Urban Stable continues for the future.
Hayley – Program Director
Hayley Edwards is Program Director for Urban Stable, who specializes in assisting teams and individuals to overcome barriers, build confidence and strengthen connections to their education, organizations, and community through working with horses.
Hayley is a certified Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) Senior Instructor, Equestrian Canada Instructor of Beginners and CanTRA instructor mentor. Hayley joined the Urban Stable team in 2014 and has over eleven years’ experience in the therapeutic riding and equine facilitated learning industry,
Growing up in a village in leafy Surrey, UK, Hayley took horse riding lessons in her youth and quickly discovered the strategic and life-changing benefits interacting with horses can bring. It is from this experience, Hayley believes in the growth, trust, connection, and personal discovery that individuals can gain from equine experiential learning activities.
Now living under the vast and spectacular prairie skies in Winnipeg, Hayley helps teams, peers, and individuals to recognize their unique capabilities through mentorship and leadership development. Hayley enjoys watching the connection participants make with their horses and enjoys celebrating in their growth and success. It is her continuous enthusiasm and passionate belief in people that inspires them to become prouder, stronger, and more valuable contributors to their school, organizations, and community.
Carla – Head Instructor
Carla Bergen, our Head Instructor, is a certified Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) Senior Instructor and Equestrian Canada Instructor of Beginners who is dedicated to helping people make meaningful connections with horses. Whether she is coaching students through work on the ground or in the saddle, building a partnership with the horse based on trust is her main focus. From this trusting partnership, Carla helps students understand the lessons their 4-legged teachers are offering, from lessons that are personal, social and emotional to lessons that are technical skills in riding and horsemanship.
With a diverse background in the horse industry Carla began working at Urban Stable in 2014 and loves watching the magic of the connection between participants and their horses, the growth participants demonstrate through their time in our programs, and the pride and confidence participants show when they share their growth and skills with their families, communities and team members.
Carla believes that the horse can teach us things about ourselves that no one else can and feels privileged to be able to create space for this learning.
“Horses teach us to ask without aggression, how to love without condition, and how to avoid the destructive side of perfection.” – Dominique Barbier
Jessica – Instructor and Driver
Jessica Lawford is part of the Urban Stable Instructor team; she also has the important role of transporting the students to and from the program and is Urban Stable’s social media coordinator. Jessica started Instructing at Urban Stable in 2016.
Jessica is a certified Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) Intermediate Instructor, working towards her Senior Instructor level. Working as a caregiver with individuals that require extra assistance, Jessica has gained many years’ experience to help others develop equilibrium and balance both in the saddle and in life.
Jessica has had the opportunity to work with many amazing individuals in mental health and life skill development. She sees value and importance in finding balance in physical and mental health.
From a young age Jessica has been working with horses and she knows the life changing experiences that can occur when we interact with them, whether riding them or working with them on the ground. Jessica, with her son, and family, live on a beautiful farm east of Winnipeg. She has always owned horses and in recent years has rescued several horses that needed a peaceful, safe place to call home.
Being a mother gives Jessica understanding and patience for children and youth to empower them, helping them to grow and learn. Jessica is passionate about therapeutic riding; she loves watching how the students overcome challenges and discover their potential.
Taysa – Assistant Instructor and Driver
Taysa joined Urban Stable in 2019 as Program Driver and Instructor Assistant. Taysa is passionate about working with horses and engaging youth to grow in confidence and develop pride in their accomplishments. She is dedicated to assisting others and enjoys passing on her knowledge and passion to her students in our equine facilitated learning activities. Taysa has knowledge and experience in working with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities and makes sure everyone she encounters is an equal.