See the below for stories and testimonials of participants, volunteers, donors, and everyone in between, whose lives have been positively impacted by their time at TEAD. 

If you would like to submit your own TEAD story, send an email to 


A volunteer rider mounted on Tia in our indoor arena.


TEAD has had such a profound impact on our community and my own life as well. My first experience with the program was when I was 10 years old. I loved the summer camp so much and had such a great experience. I fell in love with all the horses while I learned how to care for our four-legged friends. 

As an adult, I volunteered and helped out with lessons. I met so many great people and it felt amazing to be part of such an incredible community! 

i also had the amazing opportunity to be a camp counsellor for Camp Wrangler. We had so much fun, every day brought new exciting challenges and friendships. 

I will never forget the memories made at TEAD!

A participant wearing a red plaid jacket holding Cooper by a lead rope.


Cassandra was born in 2001. She was overdue and the Obstetrician noticed hydrocephalus via ultrasound, swelling on the brain. Cassandra was quickly delivered and had a shunt placed in her brain as a 3 week old infant. We were told Cassandra had suffered an intraventricular hemmorage in utero. She was showing signs of paralysis on her left side.  Cassie joined physiotherapy as a baby and toddler but did not show much enthusiasm. When researching therapy I stumbled upon TEAD. Cassie back than had to be over 20 pounds but at the age of 3 started therapy on her horse. We thought she would be intimidated but the volunteer walked her up a big ramp, with her leg braces she learned to step into her saddle. 

We never had any complaints when Cassie did therapy on her horse. Two other girls became her friends. We watched the girls run and hug each other each week at lessons they chatted and loved doing horse therapy together. The Moms all bonded. We would get in trouble for talking too loud. We hashed out school supports, therapy, behaviors and development strategies.

We called ourselves, "The barn Moms"

We needed other families of children with disabilities as navigating the world of childhood disability was different and scary. 

Cassie's first horse love was Champion a white pony. The bond was immeasurable. Cassie at 5 years old was asked to ride champion at the Royal winter fair. They did musical ride to Lion King, I remember the applause erupting around the ring so I thought wow they sure like the kids but my surprise was the Canadian Olympic show jumping team entered the arena to present TEAD with a cheque. 

As Cassie grew older the friendships continued to flourish, she loved her Side Walkers and coaches. So many good ones Gina, Pat and her all time favorite Hilary Webb.

Cassie developed strength, using her legs to direct the horse, her hands to hold the reins and change direction, her voice to command the horse she grew physically, mentally and socially. 

My husband and I volunteered, when Cassie was 14 she became a volunteer. 19 years later she is one of the longest riders now at TEAD.

Cassie's seizure meds are more stable and her migraines are way less debilitating now, so Cassie is back on her horse Cooper, her weekly lessons are the highlight of her life. Her love for TEAD has thrived and never faltered.

She continues as a member, she is 22 and lives on her own. She goes to TEAD every week on her own. That barn has been her happy place. 

Our family can never say enough good things, our daughter is well adjusted and lovely.  Her pride in being a disabled equestrian rider is one of her things she can brag about. 

Congratulations TEAD, you will forever be the best barn, best therapeutic riding club and a lifelong group of friends for our girl with cerebral palsy. The greatest gift you gave Cassandra is the LOVE of all things horse, a lot of her pride in her life  comes from you, I hope she stays a member and keeps going with TEAD as long as she possibly can.

A rider riding Lexie outside in the back fields of our property in the summer time.


When our daughter Lauren was a year old she was diagnosed as having global developmental delays. One of the things the specialist told us was that she would never ride a tricycle. No one told Lauren that, and as she got older, she rode a tricycle, then progressed to a two-wheel bike with training wheels. We looked for activities that would help Lauren continue to develop, and we were directed to TEAD. Lauren started out in summer camp, which she loved, and we were encouraged to enroll her in the regular riding program. We were thrilled as her horse back riding skills progressed.    

As Lauren grew, the bike with training wheels became to small for her, and we worked with her to master a two-wheel bike without training wheels, with no success. When she was thirteen, we decided it might be time to get her a three-wheel bike that would allow her to ride with her friends and family. Before we did, we thought we would try one more time on the two-wheeler. She had now been riding at TEAD for a few years, and this time, she was much steadier on the bike. She started out with me running beside her, but eventually I couldn’t keep up, so I got on my bike. And that’s when I looked at her riding, and I realized that she looked like she was riding a horse. She sat up tall, and steered her bike like she would steer her horse. She was also able to follow my directions. Not only is Lauren able to ride a bike, but she is also a good downhill skier. These accomplishments are both due to the balance, control and strength she developed through therapeutic riding at TEAD.  

One of Lauren’s TEAD shirts has the quote from Helen Thompson: “In riding a horse we borrow freedom”. For Lauren, that freedom extended beyond riding at TEAD, to the freedom to live a healthy, active life.    

Lauren continues to ride at TEAD once a week, as well as volunteering two days a week. It is an important part of her life. 

An EAL participant sitting on a stool and smiling, holding Santasia's lead rope, her partner smiling and looking on from behind her.


Date Night was amazing! My partner and I were discussing it the next day as well, it taught us a lot about each other, and ourselves :) Really pointed out for me how much I follow rules that I just assume are there, or that I've made up in my head, and that's why a lot of things are so much more difficult.  Santasia was an amazing equine partner :)

A rider and volunteer standing with Willy in our indoor arena, smiling at the camera!


Joining the therapeutic riding lessons at TEAD was an amazing experience. Never would have thought that I would be able to ride a horse , with my mobility level. Everyone at TEAD, from Staff to volunteers were very welcoming and kind. I enjoyed every minute of it. The therapeutic riding lessons allowed me to enhance my physical and mental health tremendously. Looking forward to joining the upcoming seasons. 

Sally assisting a volunteer with tacking up her horse.


One called Sally's first encounter with horses is from a similar program in Thunder Bay which she started just before we moved to Ancaster. We were thrilled when we discovered TEAD so she could continue with riding. 

Sally took watercolour painting for years from a couple in Dundas (Picture Perfect). It helped develop her fine motor skills. With TEAD that contributed too but helped in so many respects - strength, balance, confidence (riding such a huge animal), communication, verbal skills, friendships and so much more. 

An older photo of Sue standing beside Lexi


I first came to TEAD approximately 20 years ago as I was mentoring with Pat Bullock and Hilary Webb to become a CTRAI. I got into therapeutic riding as I was working grave shift at the Casino, so I volunteered at Horse Alternative Therapeutic Services in Pelham. As I had ridden and owned my own horse as a teenager I still loved them. I had a herniated disk injury and my doctor said Riding is out of the question. While at HATS, we had a lovely mare on limited turnout named Lexi. Well with my day hours free the ladies from HATS suggested I take Lexi for rides, just walks, we also hacked the roads around the barn. Well my Chiropractor was amazed at my back on my monthly visit. He said the tone is great! I confessed about the riding but it was then the proof of therapeutic riding has huge benefits! As HATS went through some challenges, Lexi found a home at TEAD🥰 I always look for her when I am there. I am glad she found a home there and continues to help others. I have seen TEAD prosper and continue to do so for many years👏👏 I am enclosing some old photos of Lexi and I, my first horse Poncho who I loved to jump, my current horse Neely (he is 20 but has done therapeutic riding for 10 years plus). I turned 60 this year and both Neely and I are enjoying retirement 🥰

A small rider mounted on Lexi, smiling with delight!


My daughter Mya is 5 years old. Mya has been attending TEAD for almost 2 years. She absolutely LOVES riding the horses and never wants to leave. Mya's considered non verbal but was motivated by riding to say commands such as "walk on", "halt" and her favourite, "trot". Prior to TEAD, Mya had a hard time leaving the house. Once I started telling her we are going to TEAD she would quickly go to the door wanting to go to TEAD. Thank you to everyone who makes this fabulous program run!

A little rider mounted outside on Wrangler, with 3 volunteers assisting him as his leader and side walkers.


My son Hudson has been attending TEAD since he was 5 years old. He has a rare syndrome that causes gross motor and developmental delays. 

Hudson has always loved animals. His first fascination with TEAD wasn't horses- it was actually the sparrows in the barn. He is an avid feather collector.  Hilary would find turkey vulture feathers for him as well on trail rides. Hudson was also in love with the barn cats. After his lessons we would often go and search for Robby. 

In time, he formed a love for the horse he rode: Wrangler. He looks forward to his time in the country with the horses and the volunteers who he loves to chat with. 

As a parent-  I enjoyed a few moments to myself sitting on the bleachers drinking a coffee. All parents understand this can be a valuable little breather. 

I find being at TEAD always feels very peaceful and calm. 

Congrats on 45 years. TEAD is a warm, happy place & a large thank you to all the volunteers. 


I started at TEAD in 2020 at the very beginning of covid.  When I started I had very bad anxiety. 

My lessons were the one time a week I could let go and chill out a bit. 

I had my first canter late summer of 2020 on Oliver.  I then moved to Willie to keep practicing cantering.

I then had to stop riding until late spring of 2021 because of COVID.  When I came back I was introduced to Major and Wrangler.  I only rode Wrangler for a little bit before basically fully moving to Major. During this time I had Aimee as my instructor and also did summer camp at TEAD where I completed my rider level 1 on Chase.

During December of 2021 I completed my rider level 2 on Major.

I also started volunteering the day I turned 14 and have been volunteering since.

During the summer of 2022 I rode Major during camp I also passed my rider 3.  I completed the flat component of my level 4 on him.

During all this time till July I also continued volunteering at TEAD and met some amazing volunteers and riders.

My time at TEAD had high and lows but now I can look back and see the positive affect TEAD had on my life and all the ways it helped me.

A woman in a black vest and red plaid shirt holding onto Lady with a lead rope in our indoor arena.


I loved Date Night! I think everything was wonderful from start to finish. It opened my eyes in terms of thinking about things from different perspectives. 


My name is Joshua, and I've been volunteering at TEAD since July 2023. I found my way to TEAD after the loss of my dog and a challenging period in my mental health.

When I initially joined TEAD, I had little knowledge of horses and horseback riding, and I had hesitated to even apply due to the fear of making mistakes or trying something new.

TEAD welcomed me with open arms, asking only for my dedication to learning and contributing. Looking back, I now realize that their request was a small one compared to the immense gifts TEAD has given me.

Through my time here, I've gained a sense of self-worth, independence, and fulfillment through acts of kindness. TEAD's environment and actions have transformed me into a better person. They've not only improved my own life but have also inspired me to share their valuable lessons of inclusivity, care, and personal well-being with others.

Four months later, I continue to return to TEAD, grateful for how they unknowingly rescued me. I hope that by passing on the wisdom and experiences I've gained here, I can positively impact others in the same way I've been touched.

While the horses, riders, volunteers, and staff have left an indelible mark on me, my deepest gratitude will always be reserved for TEAD and the profound difference they've made in my life and the lives of others. My time with them is a treasure I'll hold dear.


My involvement with Riding For the Disabled spans some 20 years starting in Winnipeg and later in Hamilton. I have been involved with saddled horses and riding most of my life so it was a good fit. I have always been totally convinced of the physical, mental and social value of this program but the incident I would like to related brought my respect to another level.

It was at Black’s Equestrian Centre where T.E.A.D. operated at that time. My job was to walk or run alongside the horses left shoulder holding a lead rope attached to the bridle as a control or security measure.  It was to be left slack so the rider could actually control the horses forward motion and turning. Sometimes the line was needed to hold the horse back or encourage forward. 

We had completed our in arena procedures and drills of close to an hour and the instructor suggested we take the horses and riders for a walk in the countryside behind the arena. 

My rider was a young man about mid-teens, very personable and able except he was wheelchair confined. Soon we were on a trail in a wooded area with trees, birds, a brook and all the sounds of nature. I looked up to check on my rider and saw this awe struck gaze as he looked around. He then looked down and said, "I’ve never been in the woods before”. Even as I write, emotion comes forth as it did then!  Need I say more?


Payton was struggling with ADHD.  Through her counsellor, we found TEAD.  She was matched with Wrangler.  She instantly bonded with him and fell in love.  Payton looked forward to TEAD nights.  She loved bringing carrots for the horses . She gained so much confidence while learning how to properly ride and groom Wrangler.  It was a bond like no other.  She was a completely different kid when she was with Wrangler.  It was beautiful to see the companionship between Payton & Wrangler.  


The girls have thoroughly enjoyed the exposure and skills they learned while at camp but more importantly the sense of belonging and community they felt while attending camp. I appreciate the dedication and hard work you all give to the girls and the program participants.


I really enjoyed my Time with the Herd, and hope to return to working with horses :)