Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association
Giving our families the “Freedom to Ride”
FSTRA is pleased to announce that our programs are expanding and growing. There are lots of ways to get involved. Check them out!
Our Equine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy programming options are growing quickly! Check out our many opportunities to work with our horses promoting overall wellness and connection
Freedom to Belong
This 10 week program is funded by the Age-Friendly Communities Program Grant, part of SHIFT: Nova Scotia's Action Plan for an Aging Population. Our Belong program is a program for adults over the age of 50 who are interested in learning how to ride, while developing hands on stable management skills.
Jessica van Nostrand
CanTRA Certified II Coach
Owner of RWS
CanTRA Certified II Coach
Brittany Aalders first joined the FSTRA team as a volunteer, before assuming the role of Executive Director in the fall of 2015. Brittany graduated from Acadia University with a Bachelor of Arts degree, with Honours in Sociology. Brittany recently completed her Master of Arts degree in Sociology at Acadia University. Brittany began riding at the age of eight and enjoys combining her horse hobby with her passion of working with people. Brittany’s innovation, visioning capacities and desire to reach her local community has been an asset to our organization. Under her direction and guidance our story and reach has been changing and expanding at a rapid rate identifying and meeting the needs of our families in our community.
Katie Roberts joined the FSTRA in 2021 after a successful career as an Emergency Room RN. Katie was an avid equestrian since the age of 10 where she began her equine career at Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers. Actively participating in Canadian Pony Club throughout her childhood, Katie has now merged her passion of nursing and horses as she orchestrates FSTRAs active and diverse program on a day-to-day basis. Her personable nature and warm, welcome demeanour has allowed her to quickly become a valued addition to the team.
Jessica is a graduate from the University of Guelph after obtaining her Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management in Equine Management. Jessica is a certified therapeutic riding instructor (CTRII) through FSTRA’s parenting body CanTRA (Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association). She has worked for RWS prior to attending post-secondary schooling and has since assumed a full time position with RWS as their Recreation Program Coordinator and coach. Jessica is an Equestrian Canada certified instructor (IOB) and a certified Young Horse Trainer. She has obtained her HB2 rating in the Canadian Pony Club and volunteers her time with Evangeline Pony Club helping to run the adult Horsemasters program. In addition to all of Jessica’s responsibilities and roles with RWS, she also coaches our therapeutic riding programs, develops programming and volunteers for our events.
Amy recently joined the FSTRA staff team in the Spring of 2017 in a part time capacity to assist with our lessons on Mondays. Amy completed a Bachelor of Kinesiology at Acadia University and went on to attain her Masters of Science in Physiotherapy degree through Dalhousie University, graduating in 2012. She has had an interest in horses since attending summer camps in high school, and is very excited about the opportunity through FSTRA to be marrying her career with her equine passions. She has previously worked in Halifax in both a private clinic and the public health care system, although has put most of her energy these past few years toward her husband and two children ages 4 and 2.
Alissa Cue, owner/operator of Rohan Wood Stables, is the head coach for the Free Spirit Therapeutic Riding Association. Alissa is a certified therapeutic riding instructor (CTRII) through FSTRA’s parenting body CanTRA (Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association).
An Honours Graduate of the Equine Science Certificate Program at Guelph University, Alissa began her riding career at the age of seven in British Columbia. After moving to Winnipeg Alissa joined pony club as a teenager and attained her B Rating. She has maintained her affiliation with pony club by establishing Evangeline Pony Club at Rohan Wood Stables in the Fall of 2003. As well, Alissa sits on the Regional Board as the current Nova Scotia PPG Chair and is a National Director. In 2005 Alissa achieved her Equine Canada Level 1 Coaching Certification. Alissa was also the recipient of the Equine Canada/NCCP National Competition Coach/EC Level 1 Coach of the year. Alissa can be found most weekends at a Pony Club function or coaching and competing at Hunter and Jumper shows around the Maritimes.
Ready to Get Involved?
There are lots of ways to join our community!