TeamEquiSMART is full of horse-passionate people that are eager to share their journey with their equine partners, and how Equi-SMART’s massage therapy programs have helped benefit them
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Melia has been riding horses for 20+ years. She started in the APHA circuit riding western pleasure, horsemanship, and showmanship. Then she dabbled in the pony hunters before spending a great chunk of her riding career on reining horses. For the last five years she has both competed in and volunteered with the Retired Racehorse Project at the Thoroughbred Makeover in Kentucky. Her makeover horses competed successfully in a variety of disciplines including competitive trail, foxhunter, hunter, jumpers, and ranch work. In 2021 Melia will be returning to the reining pen with two of her personal horses. When Melia is not riding horses, she can be found at work teaching English online to children in China as well as working as a speech therapy assistant at an elementary school in Rama Ontario.
This year one of Melia’s ambassador horses will be “Tinseltown Gal”, known as Miley around the barn. She is Melia’s 5 year old reining horse, who she hopes to compete in derbies with this year. Melia firmly believes in all methods of therapy for her competing horses, and has a great relationship with her vet, chiropractor and massage therapist to keep her horses’ newly developing muscles functioning at their peak.
Julie has been riding horses since she was a kid, originally starting out in the hunters. She made the switch to western six years ago when she bought her gelding Chevy. Originally, she was hoping to do barrel racing with Chevy. But Chevy decided that going fast wasn’t in the manual.
Now, the two enjoy ranch riding, western trail, and maybe one day trying some working cow activities. Chevy’s conditioning remains a top priority for Julie and she regularly keeps Chevy happy and healthy with massages and exercises.
Paige has been riding for about 10 years. She got her start at a cattle ranch where she learned the ins and outs of everything western and cowboy.
After a car accident left her with a TBI and many other complications she knew it was time to slow down. This is when she found her heart horse Rin, a “used up reiner”. She became determined to do and learn everything she could to give him the life he deserved. This is how she met Melissa.
Now happy and healthy, Rin enjoys his semi-retirement by playing liberty games, riding bareback, and going to the odd show just for fun. He also has a full time job keeping 2 very spicy minis and Paige in line.
Alysha started working with horses seven years ago when she was gifted a rescued TBx. She now works with rescue horses from the ground up using natural horsemanship, animal communication and equine Reiki (an energy healing modality that improves a horse’s mental, emotional and physical wellbeing). She has been working through her business to help horses with her talents as a Reiki Master and animal Reiki practitioner since 2017. Alysha currently operates her own equestrian and wellness facility peaceful place, where her herd of 6 lives, and other four legged companions.
Jade Dykstra runs a ranch called Lasting Strides in Delacour, AB, where she runs her Equine Assisted Wellness business specializing in helping at-risk youth and young adults find healing from their mental illness and trauma. She also has a Young Rider program, missioned to raise up a new generation of well-rounded, compassionate horse people. Jade brings her Young Riders to local gymkhanas and are quite well-known in their community for teamwork, sportsmanship, and top notch horse care. The main discipline Jade rides is western, though in order to raise well-rounded riders she bring in clinicians to learn everything from jumpers, liberty work, medieval riding, and more! If Jade is not at the barn, you can find her trail riding in the mountains as often as possible!
Ashley has a very diverse and well rounded equestrian background. She has participated in a number of disciplines from rodeo, hunter/jumper, eventing, fox hunting and has traveled North America with the Canadian Cowgirls drill team to events such as Equine Affaire and the Rose Parade in California. She is an avid endurance rider, competing across Canada and the US, and in 2021 competed in the world’s toughest endurance ride, the Tevis Cup in California.
She holds a diploma in Equine Studies, with distinction, from the University of Guelph and she completed the Smart Cert Canada Practitioner Program in 2021 and is a certified equine massage therapist. Melissa has massaged Ashley’s horses for a number of years and Ashley saw the difference it made in her horse’s performance.
Ashley is the creator of the Stable to 40km program. While designed to assist riders with preparing for their first endurance ride, riders of all disciplines can benefit from learning how to condition horses safely.
Julia’s passion for horses manifested at a very young age. When she was just four years old, her dad took her to the stables every Sunday for lead-line pony rides and her love for horses quickly grew. Her family immigrated to Canada when she was 15 years of age and Julia found a local barn to continue riding and competing in the hunter/jumper ring right away.
Julia completed her Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management and Majored in Equine Management at the University of Guelph. During her time in Guelph, she started Eventing with her mare Candella. After the completion of a research project she participated in for her undergraduate degree in collaboration with Saddlefit4Life, Julia completed an internship with Schleese Saddlery. Julia returned to Schleese Saddlery Service after university and furthered her education to a Certified Saddle Ergonomist. Keeping horses comfortable through well-fitting tack and regular body work is imperative to the welfare of the animal and its ability to perform as a riding horse.
Therefore, Julia is proud to align herself with Melissa Caccamo and Equi-SMART, who shares her passion for the well-being of horses. Melissa regularly treats Julia’s gelding Oakley, who thoroughly enjoys his appointments with Melissa and improves noticeably each time.
Julia’s Promo code: BA04JA
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Sarah has loved horses since an early age, begging for a pony at every opportunity. She started riding young, quickly falling for draft and draft crosses, even though she rode many different breeds and types. For many years, Sarah was a barn manager and professional groom for jumpers, eventers, hunters, dressage and polo. With several auspicious venues on her resume, including Spruce Meadows, the esteemed Florida circuit, and the Canadian Pan Am games, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her.
Sarah is currently owned by the Flying Fluff, a registered Gypsy Vanner gelding also known as Teddy. They are currently enjoying anything that strikes their fancy at the moment, including mountain trail, extreme cowboy, jumpers, dressage and working towards returning to the world of eventing together. Teddy and Sarah show great promise and style in each of the eventing disciplines, and are looking forwards to the 2022 season.
When not off on wild adventures, Sarah and Teddy can often be found out field hunting, where Sarah revisits her former career as whip if she can’t hide well enough in the flights. They are also down for a good old fashioned trail ride any time
Kaeleigh is 22 years old and has been riding horses for her entire life. She currently competes in barrel racing and pole bending at multiple different clubs including OBRA, NBHA, North River Riders, NBRC and Turn and Burn. Kaeleigh has also competed in the past and hopes to compete in the future at the All American Quarter Horse Congress and NBHA Youth Worlds as well as NBHA Open Worlds and NPBA Worlds which she qualified to run in Perry Georgia 2020, but Covid-19 disrupted.
Kaeleigh’s “crew” right now includes Sizzle, Cash, and Chex. Her semi retired good old miss reliable Sizzle will be competing in the pole bending at select shows. Her right hand man Cash will be taking over Sizzle’s role and becoming the main mount for the season. Kaeleigh’s OTTQH Chex will be hauling alongside Cash the entire season.
Currently, Kaeleigh is working as a veterinary technician and will soon be writing her test to become an RVT (registered veterinary technician) with hopes to work in equine practice. Kaeleigh is also taking the SMARTcert Canada Practitioner Program to start her own business in equine massage. She cannot wait for summer and show season to start and wishes everyone a safe and healthy show season!
Shae began riding at a young age and her passion really sparked with her 1st pony Bear, but it has never stopped growing. She currently own two Quarter horses, Houston (12) and Dallas (4). Shae competitively run barrels and poles but recently had to retire Houston due to re-injuring his tendon. In this upcoming 2022 season, you will catch Shae doing barrel exhibitions on Dallas in preparation for their 2023 futurity year. You will also see Shae at NBHA, OBRA, club and fair shows riding Dallas as well as a friend’s horse Ally.
Shae’s goal with being involved in this ambassador program is to provide the best possible care for her horses, gain more knowledge in horse care, and sharing her knowledge with friends and family.
Shae’s Promo code: BA08SD
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Robyn is the owner and operator of Triple R Ranch Equine Assisted Learning Centre in Priceville Ontario. This is an equine facility with special equine education and a riding program for people with special needs of all ages. Robyn devotes herself to helping people with mental and physical needs, brain injuries, PTSD, developmental challenges, etc. all using partnerships with horses, after she herself rallied back from a traumatic brain injury as the result of a motor vehicle accident in 1991.
Robyn is the author of the children’s book “The Adventures of Tuffy…A Little Bay Horse”.
Robyn is competing with her horse Angus in the reining and reined cow horse arenas. Showing again and learning how to memorize and ride patterns has been a big accomplishment for Robyn. She holds the Canadian Pro/Am freestyle reining champion title, as well as many other top awards in reining and performance horse disciplines.
In the last couple of years Robyn has been focusing more on trail rides and participating in a drill team.
Robyn’s PROMO code is: BA12RM
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Kathleen has always enjoyed working in the equine industry whether it be training or mucking stalls. She started riding at a very young age and has dabbled and succeeded in many different disciplines. Kathleen hopes to continue working towards her judging license and giving back to fellow equestrians. She is a professional photographer (Creative Kathleen Photography) and enjoys helping equestrians and their horses see the best in themselves
This year Kathleen looks forward to her first show season with “Playful Blues” – Presley a 6 year old palomino Quarter horse that she started as a youngster. They will be showing training level dressage and low hunters as well as potentially making their extreme cowboy debut.
Although it has been a slow beginning for Presley’s and her show career due to injuries on both of their ends, Kathleen firmly believes that without massage and conditioning provided through the Equi-SMART program they would not be where they are today.
Hanna is from a small town south of Ottawa and has been in love with horses for as long as she can remember. She started riding 21 years ago, at the age of 7. But riding wasn’t enough, Hanna wanted to spend all her time in the barn doing chores and brushing all the horses possible!
Hanna obtained a diploma in Equine Studies from the University of Guelph, became certified with Equi-Health Canada in equine first aid, and also became a Certified Equine Massage therapist. But soon she learned that Hanna had a love for scooping poop the most and started Top Buckle Equine Services, specializing in chore relief, and offering other equine services as well.
Aside from her horse Roree (Cash Zipped a Star) Hanna owns three dogs, two French Bulldogs (Fancy & Doris), and one Blue Heeler x Boxer (Hazel). Hanna also has a 5 month old son named Axton and a Fiancé named Dylan who she will be marrying this August.
Although life is always busy, Hanna makes sure to take time and get in the saddle or her hands on a pitchfork! You can watch for Roree and her in the show ring this summer as well!
Hanna is very happy to be part of this team and to get to know more people through the horse world!
Hanna’s Promo code is: BA16HM
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