People often ask if I’m an equestrian or a personal growth facilitator and the answer is “yes”! I serve both equestrians and non-equestrians on the path of living life as genuinely and whole-heartedly as possible and throughout all offers I strive to provide a kind, inclusive and positive environment for humans and horses that fosters a sense of safety, well-being and connection.
I was literally raised in a barn! I grew up on my parents’ 12 acre horse farm, surrounded by my grandparents’ 300 acre Arabian breeding farm and hay fields, amidst the rolling green hills of Maryland.
In addition to the constant surrounds of a professional equestrian environment—a 27 stall state-of-the art training, teaching and boarding facility, which was literally under the same roof as our home and the indoor arena—I roamed the forests and land with my beloved Welsh pony, Lily. My first years astride were bareback with lead ropes attached to her halter, wandering in nature for countless hours.
My interest in personal growth and development began at an early age. As a child I remember observing and feeling the dynamics of a myriad of customers entering our family equestrian facility, noticing their interactions with horses and how that directly paralleled their lives and relationships in other areas outside the arena and barn. When I began teaching in my teens, I found myself naturally addressing the mental and emotional aspects of the rider’s experience as well as the physical. As people became more congruent (internal and external experiences beginning to match) and relaxed in the moment, the horses immediately transformed under them. The feedback loop between horse and human was tangible and undeniable and confirmed my young musings and observations.
I was granted access to many notable instructors and clinicians, including my earliest influence, my mother, and a wide range of breeds and temperaments of horses. Starting in the early 1980’s, I also experienced the Iberian Lusitano (Portuguese) and Andalusian (Spanish) breeds extensively, and currently partner with a Lusitano mare, Opal Star.
I attended college 2 hours away from the home farm on the eastern shore of Maryland, where I studied Psychology and created a Gender Studies Minor. Holidays were spent back at the farm continuing my own equestrian education and teaching clinics. Eventually, I chose a graduate school that honored my desired to work with an element called “the third”—where what I had been experiencing while facilitating equestrians began to feel more and more like a transformational opportunity because of the third element in the relationship: The Horse.
My graduate program in Expressive Arts Therapy ’96—’97 recognized the powerful value of the therapeutic relationship as a triad of three, in addition to the more traditional dyad of two. I was on to something because the field of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy was just beginning. I quickly signed up for the first ever Equine Assisted Growth & Learning Association (EAGALA) training offered and consequently completed EAGLA Level II several years later.
Although the EAGALA learnings would not remain my primary model, I was inspired and continued with Linda Kohanov of Eponaquest and author of The Tao of Equus and Riding Between the Worlds, The McCormicks of Hacienda Tres Aquilas and authors of Horse Sense and the Human Heart, and Lisa Murrell of Equine Alchemy in varying capacities. After obtaining my counseling license in North Carolina, I served as a substance abuse counselor, but eventually missed the horses too much to stay away. I became the primary therapist and an original team member of Shannon & Richard Knapp’s Horse Sense of the Carolinas. I also became a certified Natural Lifemanship Trauma Informed Equine Guided Psychotherapist in 2019.
In addition to my personal growth journey which began in the mid-1980’s, in the late 1990’s and for several years thereafter, I also pursued my own growth and empowerment through the transformative 2-year Priestess Path Apprenticeship among other programs with mentor Alisa Starkweather.
My equestrian path is holistically focused with an emphasis on Classical Dressage (French, Spanish and Portuguese schools of lightness) with cross training for the psychology and physiology of the horses. Among others, I have studied in depth with Helene Asmis (my mother), Dominique Barbier in the 80’s and again in 2023, one of Centered Riding’s few Senior Level IV instructors, Lucile Bump, and in addition to private lessons and clinics (such as Lightness, Working Equitation, Long Lines for Collection) with Manuel Trigo of El Caballo Rey Equestrian Art Academy, completed a two month internship with Manuel whose motto is “Lightness, Proof of Balance” and as Sally Swift’s Centered Riding® principles so positively influenced my early riding years, I obtained my Centered Riding® Instructor Certification in 2022. I enjoy variety and cross-discipline training for both the mind and body and my favorite breed is “Horse”.
My current home is in Santa Fe, New Mexico where I am a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and feel gifted to have both the equestrian knowledge as well as the natural sensitivity and personal growth inclinations to land me on this unified personal and professional path offering the range of services you find here.
I continue to remain committed to learning and growing in a number of venues. Please feel free to reach out and connect if you’d like more information. email@example.com or 505-231-5353. Happy trails!
Who am I? Devoted Agent of Change, Priestess of Possibility, Advocate for Authenticity, 3rd generation equestrian, healer, healing, writer/author/poet, speaker, performer, free-form dancer, highly sensitive human, wood sprite and tree lover, water wader, moon gazer, earth layer, hot coal walker, seeker of sacred balance
Influences: the energy arts and practices, professional graduate level training as a psychotherapist, a Masters in Intermodal Expressive Arts Therapy, growing up on several hundred acres of farmland with horses as a 3rd generation equestrian, a 2 year Priestess Path Apprenticeship, French and Portuguese Classical Dressage, the Native American tradition of Vision Questing, Shamanic Journeying, Equine Assisted Growth & Learning in its many forms, real life, over 30 years in the experiential education and personal growth fields, the creativity and expression of the soul, the nourishment and pleasing of the senses, my mother’s steady grace and wisdom, my father’s enchantment with Nature, anything honest, my first pony, Lily, and several other special horses and animals.
Fascinations: the intersection and translation of lineage, life and legacy; how optimal relationships with one’s self and others helps sustain the entire planet; how we come to greater self-acceptance; old farms and farming ways; non-GMO, heirloom and organic foods; sustainability; beings and things that have a his-story/her-story