2014 Award Winners
2014 PATH Intl. Award Winners
Click the links to be taken to the bios.
2014 PATH Intl. Adult Equestrian
2014 PATH Intl. Child Equestrian Award
2014 PATH Intl. Paul Spiers Independent Adult Equestrian Award
2014 PATH Intl. Youth Equestrian Award
2014 PATH International Equine Services for Heroes Equestrian Award
Sponsored by Bimeda/Equimax
2014 PATH Intl. James Brady
2014 PATH Intl. Equine of the Year Award
San Martin, CA
Sponsored by The Equus Foundation
2014 PATH Intl. Certified Professional of the Year Award
2014 PATH Intl. Volunteer of the Year
2014 PATH Intl. Veterinarian of the Year Award
Dr. Manuel Himenes
Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii
Sponsored by Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, makers of Adequan
2014 PATH Intl. President's Award
2014 PATH Intl. Volunteer Leadership
2014 PATH Intl. Volunteer Leadership
2014 PATH Intl. Volunteer Leadership
2014 Region Award Winners
Pictures coming soon to the region pages. PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers are in green.
|Equine of the Year||Walhuke Dream (Mitch)||High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program||Norwich, VT|
|Certified Professional of the Year||NA||
|Veterinarian of the Year||NA||NA||NA|
|Volunteer of the Year||Becky Foulk||High Horses Therapeutic Riding Program||Norwich, VT|
|Equine of the Year||Tonka||Heritage Christian Stables||Webster, NY|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Margaret Mansfield||Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, Inc.||Brewster, NY|
|Veterinarian of the Year||Dr. Rachael Levine||Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding Center||Lancaster, PA|
|Volunteer of the Year||Deb Slating||Hearts TRC, LLC||Egg Harbor Township, NJ|
|Equine of the Year||Happy||Rocking Horse Ranch Therapeutic Riding Program||Greenville, NC|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Liz Dulski||St. Andrews University "Ride Like a Knight"||Laurinburg, NC|
|Veterinarian of the Year||NA||NA||NA|
|Volunteer of the Year||Linda Moran||Rocking Horse Ranch Therapeutic Riding Program||Greenville, NC|
|Equine of the Year||Lovable Rascal (Rascal)||
Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center
|Chagrin Falls, OH|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Debra DeHoff||Serenity Farm Equestrian Center||Luckey, OH|
|Veterinarian of the Year||Dr. Loren Brandt||Reins of Life, Inc.||South Bend, IN|
|Volunteer of the Year||Larisa Burks||Stepping Stones Therapeutic Riding, Inc.||Monroe, MI|
|Equine of the Year||Gretel||Saddle Up!||Franklin, TN|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Martha Georgeson||Saddle Up!||Franklin, TN|
|Veterinarian of the Year||Dr. Nathaniel Wright||Saddle Up!||Franklin, TN|
|Volunteer of the Year||Harry Ayala||Heavenly Hooves, Inc.||Kissimmee, FL|
|Equine of the Year||Hannah||RideAbility||Pine Island, MN|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Susie Bjorklund||Freedom Farm||Waverly, MN|
|Veterinarian of the Year||NA||NA||NA|
|Volunteer of the Year||NA||NA||NA|
|Equine of the Year||Isaiah||Exceptional Equestrians of Missouri Valley, Inc.||Washington, MO|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Nancy Winkelman||Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities||Warrenville, IL|
|Veterinarian of the Year||Dr. Dale Stapleton||BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding & Educational Center||Harvard, IL|
|Volunteer of the Year||Lynne Curtis||Exceptional Equestrians of Missouri Valley, Inc.||Washington, MO|
|Equine of the Year||Los Trigos Shandy||R.O.C.K. Ride on Center for Kids||Georgetown, TX|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Shelby Nicoletti||EQUEST||Wylie, TX|
|Veterinarian of the Year||Dr. Brian McNeal||Turning Point Ranch Foundation||Stillwater, OK|
|Volunteer of the Year||Renee Adair||SIRE, Houston’s Therapeutic Equestrian Centers||Hockley, TX|
|Equine of the Year||Sharette's Green Acres Sidney (Sidney)||Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center||Bellevue, ID|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Brienne Mabry||Swiftsure Ranch Therapeutic Equestrian Center||Bellevue, ID|
|Veterinarian of the Year||NA||NA||NA|
|Volunteer of the Year||Kathy Kelley||Forward Stride||Beaverton, OR|
|Equine of the Year||Sugar 'n Spice (Sugar)||Hearts and Horses, Inc.
|Certified Professional of the Year||NA||NA||NA|
|Veterinarian of the Year||Dr. John Sieverts||National Ability Center||Park City, UT|
|Volunteer of the Year||Sheryl Clossen||The Right Step, Inc.||Littleton, CO|
|Equine of the Year||Pete||DreamPower Horsemanship||San Martin, CA|
|Certified Professional of the Year||Garry Stauber||DreamPower Horsemanship||San Martin, CA|
|Veterinarian of the Year||Dr. Manuel Himenes||Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii||Waimanalo, HI|
|Volunteer of the Year||Terri Stinson||DreamPower Horsemanship||San Martin, CA|
Outstanding volunteers do whatever they are asked to do with willing spirits, without complaining and with an unsurpassed dedication to this great work. Harry stands out as having all these qualities and more. He is a US Army Veteran who tirelessly exemplifies honor and commitment. Though no longer active in service, Harry still serves many, including fellow Veterans, who have post-traumatic stress disorder. He has helped Veterans rediscover their purpose in a civilian world and championed the center’s message that "The best prescription for PTSD can be found in a round pen rather than a pill."
It is no surprise that Harry has a vision to be even more than a volunteer as evidenced by his pursuit of an education to become an occupational therapist assistant.
Ashleigh Darnell, an instructor at Heavenly Hooves, says, “I can count on Harry to be friendly, helpful and courteous to our students. He also interacts well with fellow volunteers of all ages, personalities and walks of life. I have often seen Harry patiently helping new volunteers at the barn. I can count on him to complete any assigned tasks in a timely and safe manner.”
Another way that Harry enhances the operations at Heavenly Hooves is through being bi-lingual. Many in the community—including potential participants and volunteers—speak only Spanish and without Harry, would have experienced a language barrier that could have discouraged interest in the organization. But thanks to Harry, no one goes unheard or misunderstood.
Harry has proven to be reliable, helpful and more than capable to work closely with a variety of people and he regularly goes above and beyond his typical duties.
The first time Sarah visited National Ability Center, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Park City, Utah, she was carried into the barn by her mother. At two and a half years old Sarah was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, a diagnosis that affects the control of muscles and causes weakness. Sarah was carried most places, but her goal was to walk unassisted. Two and a half might seem young for such a goal, but Raeshell Sorensen, a PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Instructor, said, “Intellectually, Sarah was much older than two and a half, and was very confident and sure of herself. I was struck right away by this little girl who was smart, knew what she wanted, and worked very hard to get it.”
Sarah began both hippotherapy and therapeutic riding weekly and she now, just as she predicted, walks unassisted for extended periods of time!
Sarah’s occupational therapist sees lots of children working to overcome various challenges, but she says, “Sarah stands out amongst them, as the most tenacious fighter I’ve worked with. She does not let her disability stand in the way of anything she desires. Her ability to have empathy for others who struggle is enormous. She has a huge heart, a beautiful soul, and a determination to live exactly like her peers. These traits make battling SMA secondary to her daily life as a ten-year-old.”
Sarah is also a spokesperson for the National Ability Center. She has attended large fundraising galas to speak in front of hundreds of people about her experience, and has been on TV talking about the center. Wherever she goes, she wins hearts.
Amanda Smith, a PATH Intl. Certified Registered Instructor at NAC, said, “She reminds us that while many of us have struggles, either small or great, the power of positive thought and inner strength can be all it takes to succeed.”
Amy has been the chair of the riding certification sub-committee for the last two years. During this time under her leadership they successfully put through eight procedure and policy changes, numerous new processes and forms all geared toward improving and clarifying the certification process. She is also a member of the Certification Oversight Committee, an Evaluator for both Riding and Interactive Vaulting Certification, was previously the Community Connections Chair of the Vaulting and Evaluator Communities, and was a Co-Chair of the Horse Expo for the 2009 International Conference Host Committee.
As a PATH Intl. Certified Master Instructor, Interactive Vaulting Instructor, Therapeutic Driving Instructor and an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, Amy holds certifications in all specialties currently offered by PATH Intl.
There are times that hard work is combined with a joyful spirit, and when that happens, the result is a person of rare ability. Add to that mix a horse, and you have the PATH Intl. Adult Equestrian of the Year, Christopher “CC” Chan.
CC is a true delight to everyone he rides with and to the volunteers and instructors who work with him. Anthony Busacca, (pronounced Boo-sock-a) CC’s riding instructor at SIRE Therapeutic Horsemanship, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Hockley, TX, notes that CC rides twice a week through the year, even in the wilting Texas summers and the frigid winter months. Anthony says, “CC has established such a strong bond with the group of volunteers who assist him that they very rarely miss class themselves. It is truly endearing to see the camaraderie CC shares with his team. They joke, they laugh, they sing.”
CC does, however, take his riding lessons seriously. When CC first started, he required maximum assistance from two tall, strong side-walkers and could only handle about 20 minutes on the horse before becoming fatigued. He was nervous and tense whenever his horse made an unexpected move. Now, though, CC rides off the lead line with his side-walkers acting as spotters and providing little or no physical support. His balance has improved to such a degree that he can trot straight lines off lead without becoming tense.
CC loves competition and has accumulated quite a collection of ribbons and trophies. He has won two first place belt buckles at the Top Hands competition held in conjunction with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, a world-renowned event.
Pamela Jo Murray, the Site Manager at SIRE, said, “Considering all the challenges life has presented for him to overcome, it is very inspiring to witness his positive attitude and upbeat outlook. He has a great sense of humor and brings cheer and laughter to everyone involved in his riding lessons.”
Kim Henning is a PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Instructor, Evaluator, Site Visitor, and Life Member. She works at Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center in Michigan. Kim served as Region 4 Representative and voluntarily stepped into the role of Membership Oversight Committee Chair in a time of need. She is still serving as MOC chair and has also contributed to the standards course development, region structure reorganization task force, and the 2011 conference host committee. Kim unselfishly puts the needs of the membership first, and she is always working for the greater good of the association. Kim couldn’t be pulled away from her association work even while working in South Korea for a few months. She woke up at odd hours of the night to attend her committee calls and answer emails. Kim’s dedication and attitude are invaluable.
A center’s veterinarian is a vital part of its success. Dr. Himenes is credited in part for the success of Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Waimanalo, Hawaii.
Sue Szanyi, a PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Instructor, said, “I can honestly say that our program would not be the program it is today, serving 90 to 100 riders weekly with varying ages and special needs, if it were not for the love and dedication shown by this amazing veterinarian. He combines expert judgment with compassionate yet practical decision-making in meeting the health care needs of our herd. He has kept many of our horses, who would otherwise have to retire, in good health by way of creative solutions and a staggering depth of experience.” His creative solutions—as well as donating many of his services—have enabled Therapeutic Horsemanship of Hawaii to bring a number of rescue horses back to health, especially when he’s seen a spark of potential in a horse to fit in at the program and help participants thrive.
Dr. Himenes is recognized as a top equine vet in Hawaii and is no doubt one of the busiest. But that doesn’t stop him from taking the center’s calls immediately and seeing their animals day or night. Even more, he shares his knowledge with those around him, teaching center staff as much as he can so they can handle many issues without having to call. When a program horse with valuable, specific skills needed for many lessons began to colic, Dr. Himenes cared for the horse and was willing to teach the volunteers who were observing. As one person said, “His experience is vast, as is his graciousness.”
PATH Intl. takes great pride in the outstanding equestrians whose lives—and horsemanship—have been enriched through equine-assisted activities and therapies. We are pleased to announce that Noel Jenkins has been named the PATH Intl. Independent Adult Equestrian of the Year for 2014.
Noel, who rides at Chastain Horse Park, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Atlanta, GA, has achieved the ability to participate in equine activities independently (without the aid of a leader or sidewalker), in spite of rheumatoid arthritis. For Noel, walking can be extremely difficult, but with adaptations and trained assistance for mounting and dismounting, years and infirmity melt away when she is in the saddle. “Noel is dedicated to therapeutic riding,” said Susan Liang, a volunteer at Chastain Horse Park. “From the beginning, she became an enthusiastic advocate of therapeutic riding, and volunteers regularly to promote it. Progressing from lead-line lessons to walk, trot, canter and jump, Noel is an outstanding example of what therapeutic riding can accomplish.”
Noel’s instructor Mandy Branton said, “Noel trots, canters and jumps with athleticism and grace. Her skillful riding exemplifies the partnership that can occur between a rider and a horse.” A horse owner in decades past, Noel participated in a number of equestrian disciplines, showing her Arabian stallion successfully in park and fine harness classes.
From the beginning of her time at Chastain, Noel has been an enthusiastic advocate of therapeutic riding and volunteers weekly for the program, encouraging other riders to strive for their best. PATH Intl. is honored to name her the Independent Adult Equestrian of the Year.
Ainslie Kraeck’s forward-thinking has made lasting contributions not only to the EAAT field but to PATH Intl. She is a talented thinker, organizer and leader, with a passion for superior performance, pushing centers and the organization, not only to be better, but to be the best.
Ainslie, a PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Instructor, has volunteered her time endlessly to PATH Intl. and is always willing to take on a task and carry it through to completion. She has served in numerous capacities: evaluator, site visitor, instructor, committee member, and has chaired several committees and task forces. She has helped the organization's volunteer pool grow by recognizing talents in new members and pulling them into volunteer positions. She recognizes leaders and has worked to bring members from the general membership to lead committees, and to be chairs and state representatives.
PATH Intl. continues to be an industry leader in part because Ainslie has promoted best practices in the field and has been a driving force in shaping the PATH Intl. Standards for Certification and Accreditation. As one of her friends states, “If you look at the heart of PATH Intl., you see the standards. They are the soul of what makes PATH Intl. work for our centers. All PATH Intl. members use the standards for our daily center activities, but Ainslie lives and breathes the standards.”
Ainslie is an ardent supporter of PATH Intl., has an unsurpassed work ethic and strives to help the association move forward with innovative ideas.
In 2013, Ainslie, her committee and the PATH Intl. staff led the reorganization of the standards manual from idea to project completion in less than a year, thus constructing a platform for long-term growth, recognition and professionalism in each of the specialties. Similarly, the reorganization of the standards led to the idea of a new standards course that was piloted a year later.
Sandy Webster, the 2012 James Brady Professional Achievement recipient, said, "Thank you Ainslie for being a person who is not afraid to say what you mean and mean what you say, for being able to hold on to history for the good it has served and yet embrace change for the good it will do. You are truly an agent of change and incredible contributor to our industry. Thank you for your dedication, wisdom, friendship and fearless ability to do what is right, ethical and in the best interest of us all."
Thanks to her dedication, and that of previous James Brady Professional Achievement Award winners, PATH Intl. offers better centers and better certified professionals to serve participants. Ainslie is the perfect choice to demonstrate professional achievement and lasting contribution to our organization, and we are honored to bestow on her the James Brady Professional Achievement Award.
Susan Lutz, the current region 5 Rep has been a significant, positive force in the PATH Intl. membership community. Her enthusiasm, thoughtful reflection, and “roll up our sleeves and get it done” philosophy have directly helped make the region restructure process, the region conference process, and the membership outreach and communication process smoother.
Susan is first to suggest what’s worked for her, and what might work for others. She freely shares ideas, hoping that they are not only successful, but are improved on for the good of the organization. Her speed networking events alone have increased the important ideas and practices among members.
A PATH Intl. Certified Advanced Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, Susan is passionate about giving back to the PATH Intl. membership and the industry. She is a mentor and an Associate Faculty/Evaluator for the registered level. She served as the PATH Intl. MA. state chair, list-serve moderator, served on numerous committees.
A truly great PATH Intl. Certified Instructor works tirelessly with participants but also goes beyond that to mentor and lead others working in EAAT. Marny more than fills the bill, and the words “exceptional,” and “amazing,” are used often when talking about Marny, a PATH Intl. Certified Master Instructor.
Jacqueline Tiley, the executive director at the American Hippotherapy Association, said, “Marny is able to bring clarity to how specific riding skills translate into life skills. She enabled me to bring a rider, Katie, with severe MS to a level of independence which changed her outlook on life. With the help of Marny’s mentoring Katie achieved her personal goal of loping independently.”
Logan, another participant, is non-verbal and has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy and epilepsy. During Logan’s evaluation, it wasn’t known if she was able to process what was going on around her. Marny created an iPad application to enable Logan to tell her horse to “walk on” and “whoa” – a goal Logan’s parents never thought they would be able to reach.
With another participant, Marny was empathetic to the student’s past, which involved a severe head injury from a roping accident, but Marny was direct in her expectations. She knew what this student was capable of, and through kind and concise instruction and application, Marny was able to draw out this participant’s equitation skills, and in a matter of weeks, this rider became more verbal and confident.
Alison Plaza, a PATH Intl. Certified Master Instructor, said of Marny, “I could not have dreamt of having a better mentor. Her depth and breadth of knowledge in all areas of horsemanship, disabilities and teaching strategies provided me with a constant wealth of resources. She was the perfect role model during my journey. She embodies the qualities of an exceptional instructor and human being!”
It is Blair McKissock’s contributions as the co-chair of the Equine-Facilitated Learning Work Group that has earned her this award.
Blair’s attention to the contributions that went into the work done before her on EFL and her ability to capture the “big picture” needs of the association have been a huge benefit to the industry and to the EFL Community.
Blair first joined PATH Intl. in 1998 and is a PATH Intl. Certified Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. She has served on the Equine-Facilitated Psychotherapy/Equine-Facilitated Learning Membership Task Force and as the Co-Chair of Equine-Facilitated Learning Work Group. Blair was also the Chair of the task force that created the Equine-Facilitated Learning Manual. She has presented at PATH Intl. Conferences and contributed to PATH Intl. Strides magazine.
Sometimes it’s not only a center’s participants who benefit from equine-assisted activities and therapies. Sometimes a horse will come to a center with a challenge that needs to be overcome. Such is the case with Pete, the PATH Intl. Equine of the Year. DreamPower Horsemanship, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in San Martin, CA, took over Pete’s care because he was lame and they wanted to help him heal.
Pete had severe, untreated navicular. Since then, he’s had three surgeries and is now pain-free. This year, one of DreamPower’s herd died, and Pete filled in. As one person said, “He has thrilled and surprised me with the way he has adapted to the increased work load with a great attitude. The more he is with people, the more he likes to be with people.” Called the greeter of the barn, Pete works with all participants equally well. Students who work with him are empowered. They believe in themselves after realizing they can move this thousand-pound animal around without a lead rope.
Pete’s greatest attribute is an exceptional desire to be with humans and to connect at liberty with almost any participant. Because of Pete’s desire to be part of the human herd and his complete trust in humans, students receive acceptance as they have never had before, bringing them healing as nothing else can provide.
One person said, “I have witnessed this horse create unique and exquisite bonds with participants with whom he works. I am always amazed at his ability to sense what a client needs, and respond in a natural, gentle and touching manner. I have witnessed him magnanimously comfort clients during times of great turmoil and distress as they navigate through difficult emotions and process through traumatic experiences. This horse has truly found his niche in this world, and he is extremely valued for his contribution to the healing of others.”
To say the least, Pete has become an invaluable member of DreamPower’s program, and we are proud to honor him as the PATH Intl. Equine of the Year.
It can be a difficult time transitioning from the military back into a civilian life. Aldy Saturnino, from EQUEST, a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Center in Wylie, Texas, chose therapeutic horsemanship as the means to work on his transition. Jeff Hensley, the Program Counselor for EQUEST Hooves for Heroes says simply, “I am constantly impressed by his personal growth and commitment to self-improvement. He has flourished.”
Initially somewhat reserved, Aldy constantly strives to improve his own horsemanship skills while always being available to help others in any way he can. He maintains a gentle and respectful manner when working with his horse, Max, which has helped them develop an authentic bond, helping to contribute to Aldy’s success. He has become an accomplished equestrian and is a loyal, reliable and hard-working supporter of the program, becoming one of EQUEST’s biggest champions. He has volunteered to represent EQUEST in countless community events and has encouraged a number of his fellow veterans to try therapeutic horsemanship. In doing so, Aldy has become more comfortable as a veteran advocate and became more involved in one of EQUEST’s partner veteran service organizations, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Aldy is a perfect example of how equine-assisted activities and therapies help transition service personnel, helping them rediscover the strengths that served them well in uniform and apply them to new roles as civic leaders. We are proud to name Aldy the PATH International Equine Services for Heroes Equestrian of the Year.
Experience has shown us that children on the autism spectrum sometimes have trouble with focus. When Kaitlyn first arrived at Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, a PATH International Premier Accredited Center in Brewster, NY, not only would she emotionally distance herself from others, but she also struggled when asked to do more than one thing at a time.
In the past few years, though, Katie has developed into quite the horsewoman. From independently riding different horses to confidently working with the herd in the barn, Katie has become at home with the horses, and has a calm and confident manner about her.
Tamara Wright, a volunteer who worked with Katie, said, “Katie has incredibly improved her fine motor movements and her focus, being able to process multiple instructions simultaneously. She used to dissociate but Katie has since learned that being present gave her control. She has learned that horses need several signals together and now adjusts various riding aids at once. She has become a sensitive rider. Her greatest accomplishment has been controlling her excitement and becoming a calm, collected rider who passes this energy to her mount.”
Katie’s grandmother knows how accomplished Katie has become. She says with pride, “Katie came in with no experience a few years ago, and with a lot of hard work and determination, she is now not only an independent rider but one of the more advanced riders at Pegasus. She can be put on almost any horse, and because of a special connection she has with animals, she knows how to effectively communicate with each one.”
Katie is also the first Pegasus rider to compete in the Special Olympics. This past spring, she went to an able-body horse show and competed with great success. Way to go, Katie!