Meet the I CAN-T.E.R. Team
Karen van der Zalm
"Nature does not hurry, yet everything gets accomplished."
Karen has always had a real passion for horses and feels so blessed by all the joys they have brought into her life and the lives of those she has taught. She has been working with horses in the fields of therapy, education and recreation for over 20 years, and there is no other place she would rather be than on the farm! Karen became involved with I CAN-T.E.R. during it’s foundational years in the early 1990’s where she was instrumental in helping to establish riding programs as well as integrated summer day camps for children with special needs.
Karen is a certified Horse Groom with the Ontario College of Trades and is the head instructor of the Agricultural Apprenticeship Horse Groom - 600H Program offered at I CAN -T.E.R. Karen also holds an Honors Degree in Physical Education from Brock University with specialization in Adaptive Recreation & Sport. In addition, she has earned her Educational Assistant Special Needs Support Diploma from Niagara College.
When Karen is not working on farms in the Niagara Region, much of her time is spent at home caring for her herd of boys and attending all their sporting events.
Some of Karen’s greatest pleasures and pastimes are spent outdoors gardening and enjoying nature. Karen’s unique combination of education, work ethic and life experiences enables her to provide a high standard and successful program delivery at I CAN -T.E.R.
Karen's future goals are to:
help expand I CAN -T.E.R.’s agricultural based programs for therapy, education and recreational purposes.
provide more skilled training for employment opportunities to those interested in experiencing all the benefits agriculture has to offer.
“The horse is a mirror to your soul. Sometimes you might not like what you see. Sometimes you will.” – Buck Brannaman
Sarah began working with horses when she was 19 years old. Her first experience with horses began as a working student position with Tim Fortune Natural Horsemanship in Stayner, Ontario. There she learned much of what she knows today about groundwork and horse behaviour. She bought her first horse within her first year as a working student with Tim Fortune. She tries to spend as much time with her two partners - Sheye and Faith. Sarah worked at several different horse farms in Ontario before taking the Agricultural Apprenticeship Horse Groom - 600H Program at I CAN -T.E.R. She earned her Journey Person’s Class Horse Groom Certification in January 2015 at a reputable horse training facility.
Sarah is currently working toward her Equine Studies Diploma with Equine Guelph (Guelph University). So far she has completed courses in Functional Anatomy, Nutrition, Business Management, Marketing and Communications, Health and Disease Prevention, and Management of the Equine Environment.
Sarah began working with the I CAN -T.E.R. team in January 2014. She remains the business owner and operator of SSEquine Services which provides horse care and stable management services to the Niagara Region.
Sarah has an avid interest in equine behaviour and equine facilitated counselling. She is looking forward to bringing this program to I CAN -T.E.R. in the future (stay tuned!). Her other interests are in mental health and wellness, Business development and marketing, Art and Design. She enjoys spending time with her horses and loves to read anything that is horse related.
Sarah's Goals are to:
establish a Holistic Agricultural Program at I CAN-T.E.R. for individuals facing barriers to wellness
develop I CAN -T.E.R. as a role-model for sustainable recovery through healthy and sustainable agricultural management practices.
Sarah believes that horses offer an opportunity for intraspection. By studying the horse’s reactions to our behaviour, we can develop healthy forms of communication both internally and externally. Horses offer us the ability to learn from our mistakes and to build ourselves up alongside them.