When the Revelstoke Selkirk Saddle Club (SSC) broke ground on its largest ever project, a covered riding arena, Tanya Secord was there. She was there to the tune of sometimes 60 hours a week, volunteering as a labourer and project manager. I can vouch for it. I would slink by to ride my horse and leave, or pitch in an hour here and there while she toiled away.
Secord joined the SSC six years ago. “I had always loved the idea of horses but had never had one,” Secord explains. “Then I met Traci Ludwig, a horse owner at the SSC. I would bring my two daughters down to explore, and Traci made it seem a feasible hobby to get into.”
When Secord joined the SSC, the club ran bingo sessions and a couple small pony rides every year. Being voted onto the board as the Secretary before she had a horse (she now has four), Secord saw the opportunity for the club to generate more revenue for the large capital project they had long desired — a year round riding arena.
Before Secord’s involvement the club had purchased an inflatable covered riding arena and, unsuitable for Revelstoke winters, it collapsed shortly after the snow started accumulating.
Secord wanted to help the SSC reach the indoor riding arena goal. With her on the board, the SSC ran advertising for pony rides, which boomed in popularity. The Revy Stomp, a yearly western hoedown dance and silent auction, was born, and bottle drives and ongoing bottle collection all brought in money for the arena. “It took four years of fundraising and club involvement,” Secord says. “Plus grants, loans and community involvement.”
The arena had its grand opening in 2014. Secord trained with the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association as a therapeutic riding instructor and started introducing horsemanship classes to the kids in the community. With the arena complete, Secord now works at the SSC offering therapeutic riding for disabled children as well as horsemanship classes.
Six years ago, there were only a handful of youth memberships. Since the youth programs started last summer, the youth membership has leapfrogged to over fifty.
“It’s also brought in a lot of volunteers who help me with the programs, giving people the opportunity to work with and learn about horses.”
Secord’s volunteer involvement doesn’t end at the SSC. She is also the Secretary for the Revelstoke Figure Skating Club and, from 2006-2012, organized the Woman’s Show at the Hillcrest hotel, with all proceeds going to the Woman’s Shelter.
“We brought in over 50,000 in those six years for the Shelter,” Secord says.
The value of volunteering is an important lesson she wants to impart on her daughters. “I want them to grow up knowing the value of doing things for others. Of being kind and helpful. The only way to really show that ideal is to lead by example.”
Something people may not know about Secord is that before she moved to Revelstoke she worked as a legal assistant.
“I was a glam girl. I loved it,” Secord laughs. It might surprise people who constantly see Secord in jeans and Ariat paddock boots, hammer or horse poop scoop shovel in hand.
“Before I had no horses in my life. Sometimes you don’t know something is missing till you find it. This lifestyle, with horses, dirt, power tools and volunteering, it completes me.”