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


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!

Wendy – Executive Director

Kelly – Instructor

How long have you volunteered for Urban Stable and what is your position/role? 

 I have been working with Urban Stable since 2014 as part of the instructor team.

What is your horse experience and qualifications?

 I have been a therapeutic riding instructor since 1999. I loved horses as a kid and now am able to share that love working with horses, kids and adults in various programs.

What do you like about volunteering/working for Urban Stable? 

 I love our great volunteers and the instructor team I teach with.  I also love meeting new kids and trying different ways to help them find strength in themselves.

What is your favourite Urban Stable memory? 

I love seeing breakthroughs in our students when they are so proud of themselves and happy when they have accomplished something great.

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!