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Live to Give - Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities was established in 1973 to provide therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. PRDA provides a caring and welcoming environment, and we pride ourselves on being a safe place for people to experience new things.

What do they do?

Doctors and rehabilitation specialists are increasingly recommending therapeutic riding for their patients with disabilities.

  • Research shows that riders who participate in equine assisted therapy can experience physical, emotional and psycological rewards. Because horseback riding gently and rhythmically moves the rider's body in a manner similar to a human gait, riders show improvement in flexibility, balance and muscle strength.
  • For individuals with mental or emotional disabilities, the relationships formed with the horse, the instructors and the other riders can lead to increased confidence, patience and self-esteem.
  • The bonds formed between the horses, riders, and volunteers are very powerful, and they are incredible to watch. Imagine the joy of escaping crutches or a wheelchair to find independence and freedom on the back of a horse.

What made you select them?

I wanted to work at a place that provides programs to people with disabilities and to learn what type of programs are available to enhance the quality of life for these individuals.

I chose this charity, because it was close to home, but also because I enjoy working outside.

I chose this charity because it supports a program my nephew enjoys. I also embraced the opportunity to be outside learning a new skill or two in building fences.

What was the best part – the highlight of your day?

Seeing the faces of the riders when they were on their horses. Knowing that during their session they were like everyone else.

Watching the volunteers that come from various group homes being able to contribute in their own way to help feed, water and care for the horses.

I enjoyed it because it was a chance to go to a place I wouldn’t normally go to, like a horse ranch, and spend some time helping some people who spend a lot of their own time helping others

For me, the highlight was working with my co-workers and spending time working towards a common goal in a different environment. We were able to learn more about each other and forge a closer relationship as we worked side-by-side serving others.

Another highlight was when I saw a set of crutches on a bench near the riding area. It struck me that this facility is about giving everyone an opportunity to be active regardless of physical limitations. That sort of gift is invaluable and I felt fortunate to be a part of it even for just the day.

What did you learn today about giving back?

It makes you take a step back from your everyday hectic life. Not to take for granted what you have and even contributing a small amount of time can make a huge difference to individuals and organizations that need help, and they are so appreciative.

Every moment counts. Today was only one day, but what we accomplished made a difference for many lives. In the hectic, busy pace of life it’s easy to find reasons to not reach out and give back. Today just reaffirmed the importance of making the time. There’s no better feeling than to know you’ve played even a small role in lifting another.

Why is it important for you to give back personally and as an employee of Canucks Sports & Entertainment?

I think it helps promote well being, knowing that you’ve been able to assist those in need. It helps build stronger connections with coworkers that you may not necessarily work with day to day, by getting to know each other outside of the office and working together on a project for a charity that you share an interest in.

I think it is important to give back personally because we have so much and not only can we benefit others through sacrificing our own time, but we also appreciate what we have more when we give it away. It is also important to give back as a member of CSE because it only exists because of the people in the community, so it is important that CSE recognize that and show their appreciation.

Personally I’ve been blessed so richly. With the good health, resources and talents I’ve been given I feel a responsibility to give back. As an employee with CS&E, those blessings are only amplified as we benefit from the support of a huge community. The very least we can do is extend our thanks by giving of our time and energy in service.

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