Jane James, founder of the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association, has been chosen recipient of the 2015 Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award.
James founded the Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association (CTRA) in 1986, personally steering the fledging organization from its inception toward its current status as a vital community asset.
The CTRA began as a local chapter of the Pacific Riding for the Disabled, operating one night a week with a handful of volunteers and horses borrowed from the community and trailered in for the evening.
Today CTRA is widely regarded as a lighthouse establishment for therapeutic riding centres across Canada, a role shaped largely by James’ personal contributions to the development of therapeutic riding and para-equestrian sport at both national and international levels.
The Caring Canadian Award was created in 1995 to recognize the “unsung heroes who volunteer their time, their efforts and a great deal of their lives to helping others.” It is given to leaders who “have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contributions to their community, in Canada or abroad.”
This is the second major award in recent months for James, who accepted induction to the North Cowichan-Duncan Sports Wall of Fame Nov. 14 for her contributions to therapeutic riding and para-equestrian sport.
James has been a fixture on the local equestrian scene since the 1960’s – working tirelessly as a competitor, trainer, coach, and 4H Leader before turning her efforts towards riding therapy and equestrian sport for persons with disabilities.
Other awards she has received include: a Black Tie Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Duncan-Cowichan Chamber of Commerce (1996); a Coach of the Year award from the BC Disability Association (1996); a Coach of the Year award from Horse Council BC (2004); a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012); and a Horse Journals Magazine Reader’s Choice Award (2013).