Adela joined Opening Gaits as a member in the summer of 2017. Recognizing the goal of achieving our own 'home' she quickly stepped into the role of "Appointed Director" and October 2017 director. We are pleased to announce Adela was voted in at the last AGM as President"
Originally from Vancouver Island, Max spent more time in the water than on a horse. It wasn't until after he moved to Calgary in 2008 that he had even been on a horse. Max fell in love with the program on his first day in September 2013, and was honoured to join the Board in October 2015.
Max is currently studying law at the University of Calgary. Previously, Max had graduated from Mount Royal University with a degree in journalism in 2015. He has also worked in videography, outdoor education and the service industry.
"Saturday mornings at Opening Gaits are always the highlight of my week. After a long week spent in classrooms and libraries, nothing makes me happier than being able to spend time with the riders, horses and fellow volunteers. There is no feeling in the world that compares to the one that comes from watching the riders grow and improve every week, and knowing that you had a hand in it."
Sheila is a mom of a 12+ year rider and has been on the board of directors for the last five years, taking on role of Secretary in 2016 and going in a new direction as our Treasurer!
"This program makes getting through the week easier for one young, happy woman in my life, Maggie. To see the enjoyment in her face during a horseback ride just warms my heart."
In her personal life Sheila is a medical office assistant (MOA) and besides working she enjoys reading, knitting, good friends, and wine.
Robbyn joined Opening Gaits as a member and volunteer in the summer of 2015. Robbyn works with our Friday classes with the adults. Robbyn was an occupational therapist and is often looked to for advice during class, to ensure safe and comfortable riding. Robbyn has been a director for one year and is now our secretary.
Growing up in The Laurentians, North of Montreal Jon was first introduced to horses. His friend’s mother still ran a successful riding academy, including raising and training top horses for Canada’ dressage team. The young boys grew up by the stables and horses very often being put to work.
Jonathan son has autism. In 2006, he and his family moved to Calgary after researching Alberta had excellent Autistic programs and support. His son had ridden before on school trips and enjoyed it. Riding was a place where his son was able to control the horse independently, and therapeutically, the tension in his muscles would subside. Seeing the special bond between his son and horse, Jonathan understands both sides of therapeutic riding. His son is an adult now and still enjoys riding horses.
Jonathan became a volunteer with Opening Gaits September 2014 and joined the Board October 2015. He continues to volunteer and ride.
Carter McLeod is a super nerd by day and aspiring horse trainer by night with most of his background revolving around the communications industry.
Over the years he has been involved with various organizations including the Ferret Rescue & Education Society, Calgary Camaro Club and Dare to Dream. He also was a youth volunteer at Petland before he was old enough to drive.
Carter found Opening Gaits in 2014 while looking for volunteer work in the equestrian industry. He signed up as a volunteer in 2015, spent a year as Director, 2016 as our treasurer, 2017 President and now has taken on the role of Director.
"You don't break horses, you come to an understanding with them."
”We have been members of this wonderful organization for over 4 years now. Our son Charlie has been attending regular classes and we can honestly say that it's made such a positive impact on all of us.
My son an active 7 year old boy with Down Syndrome and speech apraxia. His love of horses became apparent to us from an early age and so my search was on to find a way that he can connect with these beautiful animals.
It didn't take long to find Opening Gaits. One conversation I knew we'd found a perfect fit for our son. These 4 plus years have had such a positive impact on not only Charlie but our entire family. Seeing how excited Charlie gets on Saturday mornings once we arrive at the stable is nothing short or heart warming. Riding has helped his balance, improved his muscle tone and coordination, his speech and most importantly we love the connection he gets to make with his horse.
The staff, instructors, volunteers, other parents and their children have become very important to us. We look forward to our mornings at the stable and connecting with these amazing souls.
Sherri is a pilot for Westjet and we welcome Sherri onto the Board.
Elaine has been volunteering and supporting Opening Gaits for 4 years and we are very excited to welcome Elaine to our board. Elaine is an Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts, English and Languages at Mount Royal University.
Lesley Ann has been with Opening Gaits in the role of Administrator for over 5 years. Originally from England with a huge love and respect for horses, over 35 years of experience in administration, management, event planning and the benefit of working for a non-profit organizations and boards.
Lesley Ann brings her compassion for all the riders with her and a deep level of understanding for all involved with Opening Gaits. Watching and learning with all the riders, families and volunteers she truly believes in the therapeutic effect, emotionally and physically, that horses have with their riders.
When she is not at the arena you will find her hard at work looking for grants and donations and promoting Opening Gaits.
Lesley Ann resides in Millarville, Alberta.