Edmonton…Lynda Tennessen, WELCA Herd & Lessons Manager, has won Equine Canada’s First-Ever Horse Health and Welfare Stewardship Award. The Award recognizes an individual who has on a single occasion or multiple occasions demonstrated exceptional compassion for a horse at a grass-roots level.
In nominating Mrs. Tennessen, Valerie Wilson, a warmblood breeder and long-time supporter of WELCA, said, “Results speak for themselves in Lynda’s ability to extend the useful working life of horses well into their 30s. She has taken on horses with emotional or physical issues, nursed them back into useful lives and maintained them in a healthy retirement.”
“WELCA’s horses are specially trained for the wheelchair lifts and quiet work necessary for the Little Bits Therapeutic Riding Association,” continues Ms Wilson. “Lynda is very conscious of the number of hours a horse works and she ensures they receive at least one day off per week and a minimum of three weeks vacation during the year. This contributes to their mental health as well as their physical well being.”
In addition to hands-on horse care, Mrs. Tennessen sets an example for the 350+ students who take riding lessons at WELCA each year. People of all ages learn from Lynda about horse care, herd health and end of life care. She has made an in-house video on safe horse handling for her students and staff to imitate.
“Choosing the award winner was very difficult for our committee as all the candidates gave us great hope for the future of horse welfare in Canada, but Lynda’s particular combination of hands-on care and infectious stewardship clearly set an award-deserving example for all of us,” said John McNie, DVM & Co-Chair of Equine Canada Health & Welfare Committee.
Mrs. Tennessen has worked at the Whitemud Equine Learning Centre Association (WELCA) for over 20 years as a riding instructor, therapeutic riding instructor and for the last 6 years, as Manager of Herd & Programs. WELCA has seventy horses on site, 35 belong to the Association and 35 are privately boarded.
WELCA is a non-profit community organization. It offers a variety of riding and non-riding programs for people ages six to 65. Its programs benefit many Edmontonians including high-risk youth, aboriginal youth, war veterans, the physically and mentally disabled, and the elderly. 95% of participants do not own a horse. 35% have special needs.