Our Staff

The staff at RTRA is committed to helping children reach their full development potential. All instructors are certified which ensures we provide a safe, appropriate riding program, providing maximum therapeutic benefits.

Our instructors have a strong background in riding and working with horses and are familiar with the disabilities of their riders. Our knowledge and experience allows us to teach our students in a safe and effective manner.

Alyssa Bigiolli, Program Director

Alyssa has participated and worked in the horse industry in the Lower Mainland for over 15 years. Taking a short break from horses to travel and study, Alyssa then started at RTR in 2013 and quickly fell in love with RTR’s herd of therapy horses and became passionate about therapeutic riding.

Alyssa has completed her CanTRA Basic Instructor and Equine Canada Instructor certification.  She is always looking for opportunities to learn more about horses, riding and therapeutic riding through attending clinics and seminars.  Her roles at RTR now include teaching, managing the program, fundraising and taking care of our horses.

Email: Alyssa.

Joan Simmons, Instructor

Joan is a passionate coach and early childhood educator, who enjoys people, animals and living life in a positive way. She enjoys taking seminars, workshops and other education to keep herself up to date on the latest theories and practices that pertain to the well being of the people and animals she works with.

Joan was the volunteer coordinator and instructor at RTRA from 2004 -2010. She is a CANTRA BI certified instructor and also works as the Head Teacher at Burky’s Preschool since 2008. We are so excited that she will be returning to RTRA.

Rachel Kirkpatrick, Volunteer Coordinator

Rachel’s love of horses began at an early age with her own little pony who taught her everything she knows about mischievous ponies.  More recently Rachel and her daughter have volunteered at a pony rescue for the last 4 years, and having thoroughly enjoyed this, Rachel looked for other volunteer opportunities to help others experience these wonderful animals.

Rachel began volunteering with RTRA in 2017 as a Side Walker and then Leader. In 2019 she became the Volunteer Coordinator and began studying for her Cantra Instructor Certification. In the fall of 2019 Rachel became certified as a CTRBI2 and now teaches Monday through Wednesday in the program, as well as coordinating the volunteer support needed for the program.

Email: Rachel.

Jill Spencer, Office Administrator

Jill is excited to take on the role of Office Administrator.  As a life-long lover of horses and children, she looks forward to contributing to the special work of RTRA.

Email: Jill.

General inquiries: 604 241 7837.

Madeleine Davey, Program Assistant

Bio coming soon…

Email: Madee.

Our Community Partners & Sponsors