Important Dates
Family Day - Monday, February 15 - Office Closed
Good Friday - Friday, April 2 - Office Closed
Rider Spotlight
Tricia has been driving with PARDS since the fall of 2019.Tricia is 45 years old and has a quiet, soft nature. Tricia offers gentle pets, scratches and quiet talks to the horses and cats in the barn and to Jade in the office. Before registering in the driving program herself, Tricia would come and watch Boyd, her husband of 20+years, drive in his cart lesson. Tricia was looking for an enjoyable recreational activity last year, so decided to try the cart driving herself.

Tricia has Down Syndrome and, along with the recreational aspect, Tricia's personal goals were to improve her muscular strength, endurance and speech clarity. Her first short term driving goals were to feel comfortable when driving and be able to assist in walk/halt transitions. Tricia was successful in her goal and also successfully advanced to independent walk/halt transitions. When session 2 began in December, Tricia had enjoyed her lessons so much that she registered to come twice a week and started working on using directional reigning.

Tricia's lessons are broken down in segments, which involve grooming, tacking up the harness and therapeutic stretches to begin each lesson. Instructions are kept short and given that Tricia utilizes a hearing aid, clarity of instruction is very important as Tricia can become frustrated if she does not understand or hear what is being asked of her.

Over the past year Tricia has become more anxious as both her and her husband Boyd's health have declined. With COVID, the activities they enjoyed and were able to do have become restricted. Fortunately, PARDS is a place that Tricia’s family felt comfortable bringing her to when restrictions allow. The routine at PARDS stays the same and the barn is quiet, (except for the occasional whinny), making it easier for Tricia to reach her personal goal to get out of the house and relax. Sometimes Tricia is so relaxed in the cart she appears to be asleep!

Tricia loves to do puzzles, color, clean her home and she loves to dance!. Tricia and her husband took country dance lessons and Tricia and her sister Kaylee (also a PARDS rider) burn up the dance floor at PARDS Dine and Dance Fundraisers which she and her family have attended over the years and have enjoyed each one!

PARDS is happy to support Tricia in her journey and hopes to continue offering her a safe and relaxed activity in a supportive and inclusive environment.
Program Sponsors
Youth Leadership
Critter Connections Literacy Program
Little Pony Motricity Preschool Program
Community Champions
It Takes a Community to Serve a Community

PARDS is a community leader in providing Equine and Animal Assisted Therapies to children and adults in the disability community. We believe that individuals with disabilities have the right to independence and self-confidence, and the right to access quality supports and services to assist them in achieving those. We also believe that the community as a whole is strengthened by developing and providing services that enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities.

We are fortunate to have a very generous and supportive Grande Prairie and area community; a community that knows we are all in these hard times together. A community that understands regardless of the adversities, we still want our community to benefit from the life enhancing programs and services, like PARDS that are offered to individuals with disabilities.
Without either of our two annual major fundraisers being held this year due to the pandemic, it has been incredibly impactful and heartwarming to have event attendees like Jan & Don Sharpe and George & Lyn Pack step forward and make donations they would normally have given at the events. Don Whiteford of DEW-Line Enterprises has donated stays in his condos in Fairmont and Mexico to be auctioned at the Dine & Dance for many years and provides further support by attending the event; this year, without the auction, he chose to make a cash donation instead.

Rider families like Linda & John Perkins, Jenn Fredrickson and Kristy Wilkinson have supported PARDS over the years with monetary donations and/or auction items and attendee support at our annual Dine & Dance.

Donors like Sheila Swanberg, Nancy Ingram and Judi Harker choose to support us with annual donations through our Christmas campaign.

Volunteers like Jim Rawlek, Kelvin Stamp and the fun and fabulous crew from RB Oilfield Hauling come out and lend a hand when horse waterers pipes freeze or paddocks need clearing and share their skills and know-how to run equipment for snow plowing, building shelves or bringing shavings to the facility when their time allows.

These are only a very few examples of the many wonderful individuals, families and businesses whose commitment to ensure the vital programs our riders rely on will continue to be available to them now and into the future.
Facility Sponsors
These generous companies provide services or gift in kind donations to help keep our facility running, our herd healthy and our equipment maintained. Thank you!
Volunteer Spotlight
Meet Teaghan Keddy who is no stranger to PARDS!

We first met Teaghan when she visited PARDS at our previous facility to see the horses. She was very quiet but enjoyed being shown the barn and horses. While she was there, it was told to us that Teaghan is on the Autism Spectrum. Once learning this, the different program and volunteering opportunities available to her were discussed. About a year later we saw Teaghan at 20 years young at PARDS' new facility for the Adult Therapeutic Skills Camp in the summer of 2019. Teaghan used to have her own horse so she enjoyed her time at camp reconnecting with her love of horses and learning as much as she could. It was during this time that we also saw her talent for drawing both freehand and digitally.

Teaghan registered that fall for the Therapeutic Cart Driving program. During her first session she came to a volunteer orientation and began helping as a volunteer in the barn. She is always ready to help with any task in the barn, especially when it comes to handling horses. She also helps in a few lessons with our younger riders. Teaghan has a love of vehicles and is in the process of getting her driver's license. She is eager to at some point be able to utilize some of the PARDS equipment after riding along with some of the PARDS staff. As for how Teaghan got interested in trucks/vehicles; "it was in 2013 when we moved out here I thought all the pictures my uncle Allan posted of his trucks on Facebook looked really cool and I wanted to draw them but learn to drive them too; so he's pretty much my inspiration for drawing and driving" she says.

Teaghan shared she loves being at PARDS as it provides her a judgement free environment and driving and working around the horses is peaceful and therapeutic for her. Volunteering at PARDS has also been a great way to increase her knowledge in horse care. We are excited to see how Teaghan will be involved in PARDS and grow her knowledge in both driving and horse care.
~ PARDS Equine Spotlight ~
All PARDS horses go through an extensive selection process and therapeutic riding training program. Pleasant, patient dispositions are a must along with soundness and three clear gaits.

Part of their training is desensitization. In therapeutic lessons there are a number of stimuli a horse may encounter. It is important that PARDS horses remain calm during a lesson for the safety of everyone. Arena doors opening, other riders entering the arena or even the arena divider can be alarming for some horses. Riders may be very vocal using squeals, screams or loud voices and some riders have sporadic movements such as flailing arms or legs. Some horses may also be nervous around other horses and any number of props are used during lessons that a horse is not typically used to seeing. A horse that is being considered for the PARDS herd is first taken one on one to desensitize; introducing them to the barn, arena and items used in lessons. Once the horse appears to be comfortable with these stimuli they are ready to be brought into a "trial lesson" environment.

Instructor Mentor, Robyn Boudreau took the instructors through a desensitization lesson, starting from the beginning even though all these horses had been through desensitizing training and most were already in lessons. The purpose of this exercise was to review for the instructors and to introduce Snowflake, PARDS newest horse to a "trial lesson". Robyn demonstrated a process called "habituation", a process of systematically desensitizing a horse to a stimulus by introducing it at a level that causes some possible stress but withdrawing it before it triggers their flight response. 

In the beginning the horses were introduced to the other horses and items used in lessons. Instructors led the horses around the arena allowing them to encounter the items. Once this was done the instructors mounted and reintroduced the items, distancing themselves from each other to allow Snowflake to feel comfortable with the rest of the horses. As they rode they would call out and make movements to simulate some riders. They were then brought together, still at a comfortable distance. Once Robyn saw the horses comfort level she moved onto introducing props.

Each horse was introduced to the items such as balls, hoops, bins of toys both being held or on the ground. Once the horse ignores the item it is brought closer or possibly touching them on different parts of their body. The item is waved from one side to the other, bringing it into different peripheral sight lines. Items are tossed as in the ball being tossed at the bowling pins or throwing a ball into the basketball hoop by the rider.

Even Smokey, PARDS barn cat got in on the lesson! PARDS horses typically go through a minimum 30 day training and trial period before being brought into lessons! They are then matched to a rider who will benefit from their unique qualities that will best suit the rider's needs and goals.
PARDS Boarding

PARDS Boarding Available

PARDS offers a variety of boarding options and year round access to indoor and outdoor arenas and trails. For more information please go to our website by clicking on the link below

Information and registration
for all PARDS programs is
available on our website at
For a list and overview of all programs and to register, please click on
Program Information

 PARDS Therapeutic Centre
710009 RR 55
County of Grande Prairie #1, AB
T8W 5A7
Phone: (780) 538-3211