Brief History of The RTRA formed in 1992

Marguerite Sneath
has been the driving force of the RTRA program right from the beginning. Her horses, until 2006, were the foundation of the program and her ongoing support to all involved was extremely rewarding.

Marguerite grew up in the small town of Saltcoats with great memories of being allowed to prepare her Scottish Uncle’s prize Clydesdales for the summer show at the Yorkton fair.  As a teen, she also showed in Western Pleasure classes at the local fair.

Marguerite married Ross Sneath in 1946 and had 6 children. In 1966, their daughter Heidi wanted to learn to ride.  Heidi joined the Pony Club and in 1967 and Catherine soon followed.  They purchased their first horse which began her 40+ year relationship with horses.

Marguerite was an involved parent, serving as Pony Club District Commissioner and later, President of the Regina Riding and Driving Club.  Even after the children were gone she continued to ride and show, building and developing horse relationships.  In 1978 Prince Edward, while on tour with Queen Elizabeth, wanted to ride in the Qu’Appelle Valley.  Marguerite was approached by RCMP Superintendant Morin and two of her horses were lent for the ride.  In 1982 HRH Princess Anne was on tour and wanted to ride in the valley.  Marguerite had the honor of riding with her this time!

In 1990, Marguerite’s daughter Heidi Martin was approached by a family to have her teach their daughter with special needs to ride.  That student was Shelley Lembke.  Lessons were held at the Beaver Creek Horse Center in Lumsden and grew to 8 students and 2 horses.

From that small beginning and the use of Marguerite's horses, Heidi and her husband Larry, were the founders of the  Regina Therapeutic Riding Association in 1992, a registered charitable organization. 

Heidi Martin and Lexi

Heidi Martin and Lexi - Miller Farms in Edenwold 1996.

Heidi became a certified Instructor with NARHA (North American Riding for the Handicapped Association). She spent several hours each and every day working on the R TRA program, phoning volunteers and parents, grooming and schooling horses, teaching lessons, feeding horses and cleaning stalls when required and just putting up with all the general trials and tribulations of operating such a program.

RTRA was moved to the Regina Exhibition Grounds.

Larry was Secretary/Treasurer from the beginning and spent a great deal of time working for the Association.  Their children – Rob, Carla and Brian were all volunteers in the latter years.

In 1995, RTRA relocated to Miller Farms in Edenwold.

In 1996, RTRA moved  to Sunbar Stables.

Heidi was the Instructor until August of 1997.  

The Martin family moved to Vancouver and the remaining Board Members quickly realized how much time and effort they put into the RTRA program.  The challenge was to keep the program running as close to the way they did.

Heidi’s mother Marguerite, and her father Ross, were supportive and able to provide the horses and financial support.  Sadly in December 1997, after 51 years of marriage, Ross passed away.  Marguerite, needing to be kept busy,  so involved herself in all aspects of RTRA to ensure this important program continued. 

The Regina Therapeutic Riding Program did successfully continue with the dedication and commitment of Instructors and Physiotherapists.  Thank you to Val Weist, Janet Ross, Karen Turnbull, Lauren McFettridge, Sandi Jackson and Elizabeth Travis to name a few.  Some of these recognized women were a great assistance to Catherine, Marguerite’s youngest daughter,  in their contribution to  the program.

Catherine and Chester

Catherine and Chester

Catherine Sneath  credits a great deal of her success to her mother’s  encouragement  and assistance  in her initial years.  Without her support, Catherine may not have had the courage to take on the Instructor’s position.  She is very glad she did  as it has marked a wonderful turning point in her life!

Catherine started with the Regina Pony Club at ten years of age and she has been involved in the horse industry for over 40 years.   

In 2000, Catherine accepted the interim position of Assistant Instructor for RTRA.  She recruited her horse Chester and for the next 7½ years, Chester became a vital part of the  RTRA program.

The first summer program for children started in 2000.

In 2002, Catherine obtained her Assistant Instructor Certificate through CanTRA.

Catherine obtained her Equine Canada English Coach 1 and then the CanTra Instructor Certification in 2005.


Blackjack and Catherine

In August of 2006, RTRA moved to Bolingbroke Farms Ltd.  

In August of 2010, RTRA moved to Setting Sun Stables owned by Korey and Davey Dunlop.

In September 2013, RTRA moved to Country Road Acres.

In September of 2011, after considerable thought and soul-searching, Catherine had decided to resign from her position of Program Coordinator/Riding Instructor with RTRA.

In the last 12 years, Catherine has touched the lives of so many students, parents and volunteers.  Her boundless, dedicated contributions to the program will be missed and cherished. 

It is not the intention to omit anyone who has given their heart in support of this program.  This condensed piece of RTRA History was researched and duplicated from various forms of printed media.  If any information contained is inaccurate in any way, please do not hesitate to send us an email and appropriate additions or changes will be applied.

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