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 Intermediate 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 and currently working towards by CanTRA Senior Instructor.
From childhood I have always had a passionate interest 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. I remember the feeling of nervous excitement when I met Tiggy, the horse I was to ride, for the first time and stroked his soft muzzle. Tiggy was a beautiful Bay with a perfect white star. My grandfather and I would spend many afternoons trying to draw him. Those memories have stayed with me and started me on my journey with horses, towards having the honour of working with these amazing animals today.
I have been riding for pleasure since I was a child on and off over the years, mostly in the English discipline both in England and Canada. Recently I have been riding Western which I find so relaxing.
What do you like about working for Urban Stable?
I am always amazed in the healing power of horses. Horses are unique animals that have no agenda, they are non judgmental and live in the present moment. Horses do not care what nationality you are, if you have a disability, or if you have washed your hair or not. Horses live in the moment reading our body language and mirroring our emotions. Horses see the ‘real’ you and bring healing in many ways; be it emotional, spiritual or behavioural. In the case of Urban Stable, the horses allow our students to grow and learn about their emotions and behaviours and it’s the smile the horses bring to the students’ faces that makes me love working at Urban Stable.
Urban Stable volunteers and staff bring an amazing energy to the program. It is a wonderful place to come to work! Urban Stable brings people together to network, 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 before.
What is your favourite Urban Stable memory?
There have been some amazing times had with the volunteers, students and instructors at Urban Stable, especially 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 with his peers and volunteers, made a bee-line to me and said he had been waiting all week to talk to me. He was usually a young man of little words, but that day he wanted to ask me 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. The deep thought, feeling and planning that went into his asking questions was amazing to witness!