There’s something special about the bond between mothers and daughters. When that relationship is also one of teacher and student, mentor and protegée, and business partners, however, things can become a little more complex.

In honour of Mother’s Day we’re sitting down with three of Canada’s top mother/daughter dressage duos to learn how they inspire each other.


Cindy, Kahla and baby Emilia.

Cindy & Kahla Ishoy

As Canada’s most successful Olympic dressage competitor, Cindy Ishoy needs no introduction. Today she remains a sought-after clinician and coach, running her business Dynasty Dressage in Flamborough, Ontario, together with daughter Kahla, an FEI-level competitor with goals of representing Canada herself some day.

Did you always know Kahla was going to follow in your footsteps?

Cindy: Definitely not! In fact Neil [Cindy’s late husband] brought home a pony for Kahla while I was away. Riding was a wonderful way for her to cope with the stresses of being a teenager, but I never wanted to put my own competitive goals onto her. It’s a hard path to choose. Being excellent isn’t normal; you have to give up so much and it’s so hard physically and emotionally when you dedicate yourself to excellence in a sport. I wanted my kids to have the best education possible so that they could make the best decisions for themselves about what to do in life and what their passions are. It turned out that riding and coaching is Kahla’s passion, too.

Was it always your plan growing up to carry on the Ishoy dressage legacy?

Kahla: No. I always liked horses and was always interested in them, because I grew up around them. But my first pony was really difficult and after getting dumped too many times, I lost interest in riding. I got back in the saddle as a teenager, but was never really interested in showing until Sakima came along [Kahla’s current FEI partner San Remo, owned by Cindy]. It sounds cliché, but he’s my heart horse. I don’t feel I need to carry on the Ishoy legacy because of my name, but I definitely want to make my mom proud.

What’s your favourite memory of watching each other ride?

Kahla: I was too little to travel with my mom to the Olympics, so I never got to see her compete at the Games. But I do remember watching her compete at Devon with Proton and feeling so proud. My favourite memory though is of my mom and dad doing a pas de deux together at the Royal Winter Fair. That was really special.

Cindy: For me it was probably watching Kahla’s first Prix St. Georges test on Sakima. She was so nervous before the class and she’d worked so hard to get there. It was very emotional for me watching and being a proud mom and coach, but also hard knowing that Neil wasn’t there to share that moment.

What are each others’ greatest strengths?

Kahla: My mom’s greatest strength is her giving nature. She always puts others ahead of herself and she supports me in every way. She is my rock. She is always there for me no matter what. And now that I have a daughter and she is a grandmother, we are even closer than before. This is our first Mother’s Day with the baby, so it’s extra special.

Cindy: Kahla’s greatest strengths are her integrity, her “stick-to-it-ness.” Those are qualities you are born with and they have served her well in her job, in her riding and teaching, and now as a mom. She is an amazing mother.

How does your mom inspire you?

Kahla: She just keeps going. Nobody works harder than my mom. She shows up every day for all her clients, and even though she can’t ride anymore due to an injury, she is 100% dedicated to her horses and her students. We don’t see each other through rose-coloured glasses, but she is quite literally Canada’s most successful dressage rider. What she has achieved is inspiring.


Vanessa and Diane Creech.

Diane Creech & Vanessa Creech-Terauds

Diane Creech of Caistor Centre, Ontario, has been a Canadian fixture in the international ring for decades, and helped Team Canada earn a silver medal at the 2007 Pan Am Games. Her daughter Vanessa is following closely in her mother’s footsteps as a six-time medallist at the North American Youth Championships. Vanessa has been awarded the Orion Cup, earned a spot on Canada’s national development squad and, most recently, won team gold ‒ the first for Canada ‒ at the 2021 Wellington CDIO U25 Nations Cup.

Did you always know Vanessa was going to follow in your footsteps?

Diane: Deep down a mother always wishes they can share their passion with their child, but I always wanted to let Vanessa make her own choices. So by no means did I put on any pressure; it was most important to me that she was having fun and being safe. Hearing her giggle as she was bouncing uncontrollably on her first pony was just so enjoyable.

How it all started…

What are your first memories of riding?

Vanessa: As I’m sure it comes as no surprise, I was on a horse before I was even out of my mom’s belly. From there, the first time I rode solo was when I was about five years old on a small adorable mini named Coby. Coby taught me the most important lesson when it comes to riding: hang on tight!

What qualities do you most admire about each other?

Vanessa: My mom is the hardest-working, most dedicated and caring person I will ever know. She won’t let anything stop her. Her love for the horses has no end, whether that means she has to stay up all night or work seven days a week. She also never stops wanting to learn. I find it so inspiring that even being so accomplished, she never stops trying to improve.

Diane: Besides having great horsemanship, Vanessa also has a gift of great showmanship. She can make riding through a problem look so easy that even the horse believes that there is actually no problem, so over time the issue disappears. She can make horses believe they can do something, even if they haven’t done it before. Sometimes riders overthink, which can create a loss of confidence. Vanessa creates a “pretend” confidence until it becomes real confidence.

How does your mom inspire you?

Vanessa: I can’t imagine doing this wild ride with anybody else. My mom is my best friend. It is so amazing to be able to enjoy this journey together from the highs to the lows. We have a very open, honest relationship, which is very important since we spend a lot of time together. We believe this helps us as both riders and family. By being able to discuss everything, whether horses or personal life, we can come up with strategies and solutions together. We will always support and respect each other and know that we can count on one another.


Evi and Tanya and the ‘kids.’ (Cealy Tetley photo)

Evi Strasser & Tanya Strasser-Shostak

Evi and Tanya are the mother-daughter duo behind Good Tyme Stables in picturesque Ste-Adele, Quebec. Evi has represented Canada in the sport’s most prestigious international events, including the Olympic Games, a team silver at the Pan Am Games, numerous World Cup Finals, and the World Equestrian Games, as well as being the highest-placed Canadian in history at the World Young Horse championships. Tanya has followed eagerly in her mom’s footsteps, becoming one of the most decorated Canadian medalists at the North American Youth Championships, being awarded the Orion Cup and the Brosda Olympic Bursary, and helping lead Canada’s U25 team to a bronze and silver medal finish at the inaugural FEI Nations Cup in Wellington.

Did you always know Tanya was going to follow in your footsteps?

Evi: When it came to horses, there was no question Tanya was going to be involved in some way. She grew up surrounded by them because that’s our life. I grew up on a family farm in Europe and everyone was expected to be involved and help out, and I believe strongly that is a wonderful way of growing up. As far as being a competitive rider, that was her choice. She always had wonderful ponies as a child and would drag them all over the farm with her. One day she even bandaged them all up and loaded them into the trailer with the dogs to pretend she was going to a horse show, so it was pretty clear what she wanted to do.

Was dressage always on your radar, even as a youngster?

Tanya: We had some World Cup jumpers at the farm, so I was exposed to that part of the sport as well while growing up, but I always knew dressage was the avenue I wanted to take, even as a young kid. My mom would be riding Quantum [Quantum Tyme, Evi’s Pan Am, World Cup Finals, WEG and alternate Olympics partner] and I would follow her around the ring on my pony who would canter perfectly behind him. Off we’d go for a joint lesson together!

What’s your favourite memory of watching each other ride?

Evi: It’s so hard to pick just one. I think everything she does in her career is extraordinary. But maybe my favourite memory and proudest moment was when she was ranked in the top three in the U25 world ranking list with Action Tyme (previously my Grand Prix horse) as well as in the top eight in the world with her Young Rider horse on the World Ranking list. It was such an amazing achievement and so rewarding seeing two horses that we had from young horses on that we developed ourselves allow us to achieve these amazing results.

Tanya: I think in the the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic and the World Equestrian Games in Aachen were some of my favourite memories. They were some of the first times I was able to witness events of that size and scale and it was just so inspiring. I immediately said I want to do that some day! It was also just an amazing environment as my mom was often travelling and competing with other members of the team while leading up to the Games.

Cover girls in 2013.

What are each others’ greatest strengths?

Evi: I really admire Tanya for her dedication, hard work, and her eagerness in always trying to learn. This isn’t an easy sport or lifestyle; there are many highs and lows and I am proud of how she has navigated it all while following her passion.

Tanya: I don’t think there’s anyone more hard-working than my mom. She worked very hard to achieve her goals, coming from a family with no financial resources or knowledge in this field. It’s a big investment of time and resources and takes a lot of sacrifice. Watching what she has created and achieved in her career and her business has taught me a lot about hard work and perseverance, and has inspired me to go after the things I want to create and achieve in my own career.

What’s it like working together?

Evi: We work hand in hand. It doesn’t mean we always agree, and we aren’t shy about voicing our opinions, but I think it is also important for both of us to voice our perspectives and sometimes we get to a better conclusion. I still encourage her to work with different people, which she has such as with Ashley Holzer and Tristan Tucker as I believe it important to continue learning, not just from me.

Tanya: I’m lucky to work with someone who is always in my corner and always has my best interests at heart. Some days we want to strangle each other, of course, but we really respect each other’s opinion and we have found a great balance. We aren’t just mother and daughter; we are partners. That’s a win/win.