Our Staff

Meet the staff of Valley Therapeutic Equestrian Association

Pippa Hodge

Pippa Hodge is one of the founding staff members of VTEA, a CanTRA Coach and Examiner, and a Registered Physiotherapist specializing in Clinical Hippotherapy.

Julie Matijiw, Head InstructorJulie Matijiw, our Program Manager, has been involved showing and training horses for most of her life. Julie has been with VTEA since 1996 and is currently a CanTRA II certified instructor.

Talented in all areas of horsemanship, Julie’s particular gift is understanding the non-verbal communication between horse and human. Julie has achieved Rider Level 5 Equine Canada Status, and is certified in Equine Massage.

Kim CadiganKim Cadigan’s life-long passion for recreation led her to obtain a Bachelor of Recreation Degree at Brock University and a post graduate diploma specializing in therapeutic recreation at Georgian College. In 2012, after many years working as a recreation therapist, Kim made the move to BC. Wanting to make connections within the therapeutic community, she decided to volunteer at a therapeutic riding stable and her love for equine therapeutic riding was born. Kim completed her CanTRA Basic Instructor certification in 2017. Kim enjoys working toward shared goals with her riders, volunteers and therapy horse team at Valley Therapeutic.

Janette Carr has a lifetime of experience of training and showing in local, regional and national level competitions. Her vast education and training is a testament to her commitment to the equine field. Janette holds coaching and riding instructor certifications with Equestrian Canada, Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association, Certified Horsemanship Association, Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding Association and United States Pony Club. She is also a registered clinical social worker with her Masters of Social Work specializing in mental health. Janette’s philosophy uses her training from Equine Facilitated Wellness Canada and Facilitated Equine Experiential Learning to offer opportunities for people to engage with horses through hands on learning. Combining her horse experience and training with social work, she meets clients where they are at emotionally. Working from a nonjudgmental, supportive presence, she creates an environment in which clients feel heard and know they are safe as she guides them towards emotional healing and well-being.

Tina D’Amelio is registered with the Canadian Counselling and Psychotherapy Association (RCC in progress) and has been working as a counsellor for over 20 years. In addition to more traditional counselling methods, Tina incorporates art, journaling and role-playing in her individual and group therapy work. With the assistance of therapy horses, Tina provides clients with a very unique counselling experience in a calm, nurturing and therapeutic environment.

An avid community supporter, Tina co-founded “Coats for Kids and a Whole Lot More…” (which operated throughout the Lower Mainland for 12 years) and “CFC (Caring for the Community),” helping to feed those in need during the pandemic. Tina regularly volunteers with VARIETY, the Children’s Charity, and was the recipient of the Exceptional Educator Award, Women’s Collaborative Hub (2018), as well as the Multiculturism and Anti-Racism Award (2016, School District #43). Tina believes in honouring the journey of her clients and helps them find/reconnect to their passion and purpose in life.

Lindy Meyer, Instructor

Lindy Mayer is a CanTRA Basic Instructor and has her own horse, Rosie, in the VTEA program. Rosie was awarded Therapy Horse of the Year by CanTRA in 2020. We feel very honoured and privileged to have Rosie as a part of our therapy herd!

Lindy has 15+ years experience working with the District 43 Special Education Department and is currently the Braille Transcriber for the District. Lindy is very active in community support work specializing in autism and works with children of all ages and abilities.

In her spare time, Lindy engages in many hobbies such as jewelry making, wood working, fibre arts, drawing and painting. She has always been an animal enthusiast and recently added a very special Red-Footed Tortoise to her family. Welcome to the family, Tortellini!!

Janessa Whitfield is a registered Physiotherapist who feels passionately about the use of equine movement to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems in achieving functional outcomes. She uses Hippotherapy as a part of a client’s integrated plan of care.

When Janessa isn’t practicing Physiotherapy you can find her outside in BC’s natural playground with whitewater paddling and horse packing being her favourite ways of accessing the backcountry.

Kim Yawney, instructorKim Yawney came to VTEA as a volunteer in August 2008 and in October was hired on as Office Coordinator. In 2010 she started with fill-in teaching for the instructors, got her certification in 2013, and continues to teach now.

Kim has 4 horses of her own and knows how therapeutic they are to her life. The best part of her job is seeing the bright eyes, smiles, confidence and self-esteem that horses bring to riders.

Equine Staff

Mackenzie Faye – Equine Manager
Emma Friesen

Sophia Hummelman
Corinne Popienko

Office Staff

Carol Jenne graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BA Economics major, and then later earned her CGA,CPA designation while working her way through the ranks of a large manufacturing corporation in New Westminster. The next thirteen years were spent working for a private school in Abbotsford while raising her two sons, before joining the team at Valley Therapeutic as the administrator. Carol has a great love of animals, and understands how the gentle and calming nature of horses can bring healing and comfort, as these majestic creatures mirror and respond to human behavior.

Natasha Mihell – Volunteer Coordinator & Promotions and Engagement Manager
Natasha is a writer and a graduate of UBC’s Political Science (Honours) program. She has three year’s of experience working in the nonprofit sector, and seven years as part of a choral nonprofit in Edmonton, Alberta. She also co-founded and co-directed Equal Voice’s first West Coast campus club branch at UBC and led successful fundraising campaigns as Indigo Langley’s Love of Reading Champion. Natasha believes wholeheartedly in equine therapy as a means to unravelling one’s knots and uncovering one’s personal truth(s). She credits an old, proud chestnut sire named Prince that she rode when she was little, with helping to teach her the value of being authentically herself. Natasha is now very proud to serve as VTEA’s Volunteer Coordinator and Promotions and Engagement Manager.

Interested in joining our team? Check out our Job Postings.