Volunteers Needed

Volunteer and horse

Urban Stable empowers youth to engage in their education and community and achieve personal success through hands-on learning with horses.

Horse Handler Volunteers

Be part of a fun, positive environment working with youth and horses helping youth unbridle their potential. We are looking for adult volunteer horse handlers, who have horse experience, to join our team leading students on their horses as they learn to ride. 

Horse Handler Requirements:

  • Horse experience required
  • Available during the day on a weekday (Tues., Wed. or Thurs.) starting October 2023
  • Able to transport self to program (located 15 minutes North of the perimeter)
  • Able to attend Orientation on Sept. 12, 10:00am-11:00am and Training Sept. 27, 1:00pm-3:30pm and Sept. 28, 10:00am-12:30pm
  • Volunteer hours: 2 hour class per week, for 10 weeks Oct.-Dec. & 14 weeks Feb.-June

We are a Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) accredited centre and provide full training and support to all volunteers from advanced beginners to experienced. To learn more about this opportunity or to apply contact info@urbanstable.ca

Program Volunteer Photographer

We are looking for 2-3 Volunteer Photographers to join our team to use their creative skills to capture the “magic” and celebrate our student success stories during program and at fundraising events. 

Volunteer Photographer Requirements:

  • Experience taking, editing, sharing and uploading photos preferred
  • Available during the day on a weekday (Tues., Wed. or Thurs.) starting October 2023 and occasional weekend/evening for fundraising events
  • Able to transport self to program (located 15 minutes North of the perimeter)
  • Able to attend Orientation on Sept. 12, 10:00am – 11:00am
  • Volunteer hours: 1.5-2 hours per class a week during program times (10 weeks Oct.-Dec. & 14 weeks Feb.-June). Plus 2-4 hours during fundraising events as needed

We will provide full training and support to all volunteers from beginners to experienced. To learn more about this opportunity or to apply contact info@urbanstable.ca

Meet Ahanu!

Student and horse

It was a hot day at Urban Stable. Ahanu* sat atop his horse, May, sweat accumulating on his brow. He held his reins and tried his best to focus on keeping his hands quiet and still, opening his hand in the direction he was asking May to turn. He remembered to sit tall while sinking his seat deep into the saddle. Ahanu was able to maintain his focus, despite the feeling of discomfort the hot day was presenting. When Ahanu first started at Urban Stable, this challenge would have proved too much for him, but through perseverance and determination, he was now able to tolerate uncomfortable situations and maintain his composure, a critical life skill.

Ahanu had selected May as his horse when he first met her. He loved her beautiful black and white coat and her sassy attitude. Ahanu realized that he was a lot like May. Being similar, May was an excellent teacher for Ahanu. He sometimes struggled with feelings of anxiety and found it hard to stay calm. When he would start to feel anxious around May, she would respond by speeding up if she was walking, or struggling to stand still in the grooming stall if she was cross tied. Ahanu could see how his horse mirrored his emotions. He realized if he was going to be a good leader to May, he needed to learn how to recognize and regulate his emotions and energy.

Ahanu practiced his self-control, becoming more patient, and increasing his attention span. It was hard at first, but it got easier as time went on. He was developing his mental muscles and it showed! Seeing the effects of his emotions on May, was a light bulb moment for Ahanu. He realized he could have an enormous influence on the animals and people around him. This inspired him to take control of what he was feeling and not let it control him. His friendship with May gave him the encouragement he needed to face his anxiety and conquer it. He would not allow distractions to rule his life any longer. Ahanu was a champion!

Ahanu’s persistence paid off. His hard work and dedication resulted in him becoming much more mindful. He developed a strong bond with May, and they grew to trust each other. Ahanu could see firsthand how being a good leader meant recognizing how you make others feel. Choosing to acknowledge his emotions but not allow them to distract him from what he was aiming to achieve was a game changer for Ahanu. By so doing, he was able to honour his feelings, and become a wonderful, trusted partner to his horse. A lesson that will stick with him forever!

You can help more youth like Ahanu develop self-awareness, improve their self-control, and learn leadership skills. Horses naturally reflect the energy and emotion we present, making them excellent teachers. They show us areas in our lives we need to work on and help ground us. Donate today!

*name and photo changed to protect their identity

Meet Daryna!

Student and Horse with Helper

Daryna* arrived at Urban Stable struggling with self-esteem. She tried to be very independent and did not like asking for help. If you offered assistance to Daryna when she was having a difficult time with something, she would refuse your offer. Yet Daryna would get extremely discouraged if a task she was attempting seemed too daunting for her. Daryna’s journey with her horse at Urban Stable helped her build confidence and trust in herself and others. 

When Daryna first met her horse, Prince Caspian, she had to learn to communicate clearly and patiently with him. Sometimes Daryna would have to ask Caspian a number of times to do a task like stepping over in the grooming station before he would respond. This would at times get frustrating for Daryna, but she kept at it and learned to empathize with her horse, even when he was slow to move over because he was distracted by something in the barn.

Daryna learned how to tack up Caspian. When she grabbed the big Western saddle, she could barely lift it high enough to place it on Caspian’s back. As she fumbled with the buckles and straps, discovering how they were connected, she sometimes felt disheartened  as saddling was a confusing task for her. She was determined to saddle on her own, and didn’t like accepting help from others, even when help was offered and could have enhanced her learning. 

When Daryna began riding Caspian, she was very excited. She was resolute to do a great job and not be afraid. Still, horse’s have a mind of their own, and things don’t always go exactly as planned. Daryna found that if she didn’t ask Caspian quite the right way to walk or halt or turn he would not understand what she was requesting from him. When this would happen Daryna would immediately get very frustrated and shut down completely. “I can’t do it!” she would say, with angry tears in her eyes. In these moments, her instructors would offer encouragement, explaining that she was doing an amazing job and that Caspian just didn’t quite understand what she wanted from him.

“Asking for help is okay and an important thing to do when you’re unsure of what step to take next,” Daryna’s instructors kindly explained to her. “We all need help sometimes.” With this new frame of mind, Daryna softened to the idea of receiving help and was able to accept the instruction and assistance she needed to ride her horse around a variety of different arena patterns successfully!

Her empathy and patience grew and even when Caspian would see an opportunity to visit his horsey friends and veer off in their direction while she was riding, Daryna would quickly correct this by steering Caspian back on task. “Silly Caspian!” Daryna would laugh and exclaim. “Horses enjoy chatting with their friends just as much as we do!” Daryna’s confidence and trust blossomed, all thanks to a beautiful silver horse and the life-changing help she received at Urban Stable!

Help more youth receive the opportunity to develop invaluable life skills through connecting with horses, just like Daryna did. Donate today!

*name and photo changed to protect their identity

Meet Steven!

Student and horse

River shifted in her crossties, taking small steps with her hooves. “I’m so tired of standing here!” she thought to herself, exhaling hard. She lifted her left front leg to paw the ground. Right at that moment, she heard a familiar voice. “Hi River! How are you doing today?” She looked to her right to see a smiling child walking towards her. He stretched out his hand and gently stroked her neck and shoulder. River immediately felt the anxiety coursing through her lessen as she relaxed into his soothing touch. “My friend Steven* is here, thank goodness!” she thought to herself with relief.

Steven proceeded to groom River, starting with the rubber curry comb in gentle circles, and slowly moving on to the stiff dandy brush and the soft body brush. River remembered when she first met Steven, he had been quite nervous around her, and unsure of her as well as of himself. She had tried her best to be very patient with Steven, as she taught him her likes and dislikes, and how to be a kind, assertive friend with healthy boundaries. Now, Steven was much calmer whenever he came to visit her, and he helped her scratch all her itchy spots with great gusto! As the dirt flicked out of her silky coat, River started to relax more and more. She began to lick and chew, a display of a truly relaxed horse. River felt safe in Steven’s presence; his new-found calm, assertive energy allowed her to stand still and focus on him and what he was asking her to do.

Once River was spotless, Steven clipped a lead rope onto the bottom ring of her halter and unsnapped the crossties. With his Urban Stable instructor beside him, he asked River to step forward, out of the grooming stall. He led her into the arena, and they began to go for a brisk walk around the perimeter of the ring. River stretched her legs with delight, pleased at the chance to get moving after all that standing still! Steven paid close attention to his horse, inhaling, and making a clicking sound when he asked her to move forward, and exhaling and saying a firm “Whoa” when he asked her to halt. River thrived from the clear instruction, happy to understand exactly what Steven wanted her to do! She loved being a good teammate to her human partner, and his excellent leadership made her confident in her ability to trust in him.

Once River had finished her warm-up, Steven guided her through a series of gymkhana games using orange cones and poles he had set up earlier in various patterns throughout the arena. He asked River to move her body in different directions and sometimes she even had to spin in a tight circle around one of the cones! He walked beside her, between her head and her shoulder, holding the lead rope loosely in his hands. At times he asked her to halt, and he would pet her neck lovingly and tell her she was such a good girl. This was River’s absolute favourite!! The more Steven told her she was doing a great job, the more she wanted to keep trying as hard as she could for him! Steven seemed eager to spend more and more quality time with River. The longer River knew him, his focus and attention span increased, and he was less frustrated learning and practicing new skills compared to the beginning of program. River could tell that she had helped make a big impression on Steven, and this filled her with joy. “All humans deserve to unbridle their potential,” she thought to herself.

Steven played a few more games with River, ‘Red Light/Green Light’, a dice game with addition and subtraction math skills, as well as a game describing positive traits one might have. River was enjoying herself so much spending time with her friend Steven, that she lost track of the time completely! She tried to be a wonderful teammate to her two legged companion because he made her feel so special and secure. She could tell that Steven was having a ton of fun too. His smile got bigger and bigger the longer he was with her! This made her even happier, and when class was finally over and Steven had to go, they were both in a state of comfortable bliss. Steven had learned so much at Urban Stable; how to be a leader, how to be a good friend, and how to work as an amazing team with his horse, developing empathy and compassion. “Steven should be so proud of himself!” River reflected, “He deserves a whole bucket of carrots for his hard work and achievements!”

Steven said goodbye to River and spent a few moments sweetly caressing her soft coat. “I’ll see you next week River!” he exclaimed as he headed out the door, beaming from ear to ear. River nickered a soft farewell and wished her friend a fantastic day. Her Urban Stable instructor led River out of the barn and turned her back into her pasture with all her horse friends. River walked over to her hay and snatched a mouthful with a smile on her face. “What a great day” she mused to herself as she munched away peacefully. “I couldn’t imagine a better life than helping humans build confidence and trust” she thought with contentment as the birds sang in the trees beside her and the soft breeze ruffled her dark mane.

Help more students like Steven learn leadership, friendship, empathy, and patience from our horses like River and donate today!

*Name and photo changed to protect their identity

Meet Orla!

Orla* was referred to Urban Stable by her guidance counsellor to help provide a safe and stable environment, and to build relationship skills, confidence and trust. 

When Orla first started at Urban Stable she was very shy, anxious, and struggled with any task that drew her outside of her comfort zone. Our certified instructors slowed the pace of learning for Orla, allowing her time to get to know her horse, Brownie. Each week, Orla became more and more confident, growing in trust.

Orla’s guidance counsellor shared with us how Brownie was a huge inspiration to Orla on a recent field trip. Orla and her classmates had to demonstrate that they could successfully go down the first ski slope before being able to advance to the next activity. Orla struggled with her fear, unable to step outside of her comfort zone, and became increasingly frustrated. Finally, she approached her teacher in floods of tears, saying she couldn’t do it. 

Orla’s teacher knelt down beside her and reminded Orla about Brownie, saying she knew Orla could groom, tack, lead, ride and even lift and clean Brownie’s large feet at Urban Stable. If Orla can do that with Brownie, a large animal with a mind of her own, why couldn’t Orla go down this little hill? Orla, wiping her tears, stood 6 inches taller – she remembered the vital skills, confidence and trust she developed with Brownie. Orla channelled these lessons, skills and feelings into going down that slope. And she did it with a smile beaming from ear to ear with her sense of accomplishment!

The skills students, like Orla, develop at Urban Stable naturally transfer into all areas of their lives and stay with them forever, making a positive impact for a lifetime. You can be a part of this life-changing work. Donate to our cause in June and help us win $20,000 in the Great Canadian Giving Challenge! Your support makes a difference.

*name and photo changed to protect their identity

Thank You for Lighting Up Lives

Youth and Horse

Our students sure are lucky to have you behind them!

You made the holidays bright by Lighting Up Lives! Your generosity and open heart create bright paths ahead for the youth we serve.

Thank You!

What a great way to start off the year knowing the powerful, life-changing impact you have on the lives of youth who are facing barriers and adversity in your community. 

We are so grateful for your support and are looking forward to a very happy and bright new year, made possible by you!

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

And Happy New Year from all of us at Urban Stable!

Last Chance to Donate for 2022!

Youth And Horses

Time’s a ticking and the countdown to the new year has begun.

Don’t miss your chance to Light Up A Life this year and get a 2022 charitable tax receipt. 

It’s not too late! 

Give by midnight tonight and Light Up A Life.

Plus, this season Urban Stable has a matching donor. Your gift to Urban Stable will be matched up to $5000! With this matching donation your generous donation will be doubled! So, if you donate $25 your donation becomes $50! If you donate $150 your donation becomes $300! 

Give by midnight tonight and brighten up your own life come tax time with a charitable tax receipt.

Your generous gift this year will continue to make an impact in youth lives like Caleb‘s, Kristy‘s and Esau’s for a lifetime.

So what are you waiting for? Donate Today!

See how giving charitably might pay off for you! 

Happy Holidays!

Collage Of Students and Horses

“The holiday season is a perfect time to reflect on our blessings and seek out ways to make life better for those around us.”  – Terri Marshall

Happy Holidays! We hope your holiday is merry and bright!

Spread that brightness and the magic of the holidays by brightening other lives and Light Up A Life with Urban Stable. You can make a dramatic difference in the lives of youth facing obstacles and adversity in your community. Students attending Urban Stable’s experiential learning programs with horses learn life skills that will give them a glowing future. With your help we can change the world, unbridling unlimited potential.     

After all, more beautiful than the holiday lights is a life that is lit up!

Wishing you a very happy holiday from all of us at Urban Stable!

Esau’s Life Lit Up!

Student and Horse

Esau is a compassionate and empathetic Urban Stable pupil. They struggle with anxiety and being assertive. Esau finds it difficult at times to insist upon asking for what they want and need.

Esau loves animals and feels very connected to them. They spend a lot of time paying attention to the things their horse, Ms. Piffles, likes, and dislikes. They are great at showing love in order to build strong relationships. They are always watching to find that special spot where Piff prefers to be scratched or stroked. Piff adores this care and understanding shown from her friend Esau.

When it came to hoof picking, Esau was faced with a challenge. They were so used to loving on their horse, and checking in with what Piff needed, that they weren’t sure how to ask a very relaxed Piff to pick up her hoof. Piff did not respond to Esau’s request to lift her hoof immediately, so Esau had to dig deep and find their inner power to ask Piff kindly, but firmly, for what they needed her to do.

Esau reached a new level in their relationship with Ms. Piffles that day. They learned that giving in their relationship with Piff is wonderful, but they need to be assertive and firmly ask for what they need as well. Esau realized that their own needs and wants are also important enough to pay attention to and follow through on.

Give the gift of assertiveness to more youth like Esau, and help develop the next generation of self-assured, confident leaders. Make this holiday a happy one when you Light Up A Life at Urban Stable. With your selfless contribution, we can maximize our impact on today’s youth and create a better world for our future. Let’s decorate the season with the glow of all the lives lit up through Urban Stable’s unique experiential discovery program. Donate today!

*Name and picture changed for privacy  

Kristy’s Life Lit Up!

Youth and Horse

Kristy is a sensitive, energetic student at Urban Stable. She struggles with independence and emotion control and reacts to stress by shutting down. This can make communication difficult during those moments.

Kristy was very excited to come to Urban Stable and meet the horses. She selected May to be her horse as she felt they connected the most. May likes to stay active and is highly conscious of her human’s energy, responding to anxiety by not standing still.

When Kristy was asked why she chose May, she replied that it was because her and May were similar, they both like to move around. Kristy was told by her instructor that sometimes we are drawn to the horse that is a lot like us, and that means we have to work hard because both us and our horse experience the same challenges.

Kristy stepped up to the plate, respecting May’s energy, recognizing her own energy, and keeping her body language calm. May even started falling asleep during grooming sessions with Kristy; this is a wonderful achievement as May rarely feels relaxed enough, with her need to fidget, to have a nap while being groomed.

Help more youth develop self-awareness like Kristy by donating today. Because of generous supporters like you, her life is being lit up and her path ahead is bright. Celebrate the season with Urban Stable by gifting youth facing obstacles and adversity the life skills they need to flourish, by participating in hands-on learning experiences with horses. Donate today and Light Up A Life!

*Name and picture changed for privacy