A short promotional video from the Valley’s Cowichan Therapeutic Riding Association has gone viral, with more than 500,000 hits from around the world in just the last few days.
Jennifer Barnes van Elk, the development officer for the CTRA, which provides equine-based wellness programs for persons with special needs, said the almost three-minute video was made from the perspective of Ember, a 10-year old Norwegian Fjord horse that is a long-time member of the organization’s therapeutic programs.
The breed is known for its calm and dependable personality and the video touchingly shows how well Ember works with the association’s workers and clients. The video’s message, that everyone is special in their own way, has struck a chord with people.
She said the video was inspired by the popular “Budweiser Horse” commercials.
“The video, which is from the eyes of Ember with [a young program participant] riding her with the assistance of our workers and volunteers, captures well what we offer here through our programs,” Barnes van Elk said.
“The rider and horse both share the emotions and joys of working and having fun together, which is so much part of what we’re doing here. The video was made by Maddie Mahon, a media production student who used to work with us.”
Barnes van Elk said the purpose of the video is to raise awareness of the association and to also help raise funds for its programs.
She said the CTRA receives no government funding and relies on fundraising to help raise money so that its programs can be accessible to as many who need it as possible.
“We were really surprised by how many online hits the video has received since we first released it last week,” Barnes van Elk said.
“We have more than 500,000 so far from countries as far away as Germany and Australia. It makes people both laugh and cry and captures an array of emotions from viewers.”
Barnes van Elk said the amount received so far in donations as a result of the video has yet to be determined, but funds have started to come in.
“We also hope the video encourages local people to volunteer here,” she said.
“No experience is required and we will train you.”