Awards

Congratulations 2019 PATH Intl. Exemplary Award Winners!

2019 National Award Winners

Premier Accredited Centers are in red.

2019 PATH Intl. Adult Equestrian Award

 
 
Hunter Adkins
Region 8
ROCK Ride On Center for Kids
Georgetown, TX 

2019 PATH Intl. Youth Equestrian Award

 

Andrew Robinson
Region 6
Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program
Union Grove, WI

2019 PATH International Equine Services for Heroes® Equestrian Award


Mitchell Hedlund
Region 7
BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center
Harvard, IL

2019 PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award 

 

Mandy Hogan
Region 1
Windrush Therapeutic Equitation, Inc.
North Andover, MA

2019 PATH Intl. Equine of the Year Award
Co-Sponsored by: Purina and The EQUUS Foundation

reg 6 equine cameo

Cameo
Region 6
Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program
Union Grove, WI

2019 PATH Intl. Certified Professional of the Year Award

reg 8 prof joan cutler 
Joan Cutler
Region 8
Equest
Dallas, TX

2019 PATH Intl. Volunteer of the Year Award
Sponsored by AIM/Equine Network

reg 8 vol terry wilk 

Terry Wilk
Region 8
Equest
Dallas, TX

2019 PATH Intl. Veterinarian of the Year Award
Sponsored by Luitpold Pharmaceuticals

reg 8 vet patrick breen
 
Dr. Patrick Breen
Region 8
ROCK Ride On Center for Kids
Georgetown, TX 

2019 PATH Intl. Presidents Award

 

 

2019 Region Award Winners

PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Centers are in red.

 

Region 1

Equine of the Year Tucker Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. North Andover, MA
Credentialed Professional of the Year Sarah Bronson

Riding To The Top

Windham, ME
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Lea Warner Southern Vermont Therapeutic Riding Center Wilmington, VT
Volunteer of the Year Cate McClintock Emerald Hollow Therapeutic Riding Center Brewster, MA
Region 2
Equine of the Year Moon Struck, AKA Moon Chariot Riders Manchester, NJ
Credentialed Professional of the Year Linsey Erar Maryland Therapeutic Riding, Inc. Crownsville, MD
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Molly Kopec Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding Center Lancaster, PA
Volunteer of the Year Bob Perina Leg Up Farm Mount Wolf, PA
Region 3
Equine of the Year Simpatico, AKA Buddy Great Oak Aiken Therapeutic Riding Center Aiken, SC
Credentialed Professional of the Year Laura Pallavicini Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center Tobaccoville, NC
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Melinda Freckleton Simple Changes Lorton, VA
Volunteer of the Year Elizabeth Hill On Eagles' Wings Fairmont, WV
Region 4
Equine of the Year Boons Gunna Command, AKA Gunny

Reins of Life, Inc.

South Bend, IN
Credentialed Professional of the Year Debbie Anderson Strides to Success Plainfield, IN
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Donna Mather Lovesome Stables Dry Ridge, KY
Volunteer of the Year Fred Pellerito O.A.T.S. Ortonville, MI
Region 5
Equine of the Year Image, AKA IM Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind Foundation Talladega, AL
Credentialed Professional of the Year Cari Barraclough Equine-Assisted Therapies of South Florida Boca Raton, FL
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Dan Carter Chastain Horse Park Atlanta, GA
Volunteer of the Year Brenda Heindl Southern Reins Center for Equine Therapy Collierville, TN
Region 6
Equine of the Year Cameo Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program Union Grove, WI
Credentialed Professional of the Year Heather Thoele River Valley Riders Woodbury, MN
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Kevin Nelson Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program Union Grove, WI
Volunteer of the Year Joan Dutton SMILES Darien, WI
Region 7
Equine of the Year Peaches BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center Harvard, IL
Credentialed Professional of the Year Lori Cohen BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Educational Center Harvard, IL
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Amy Cook Heartland Equine Therapeutic Riding Academy Gretna, NE
Volunteer of the Year Jeanne Johnson Ride On St. Louis Kimmswick, MO
Region 8
Equine of the Year Velvet The Right Path Riding Academy Drumright, OK
Credentialed Professional of the Year Joan Cutler Equest Dallas, TX
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Patrick Breen R.O.C.K., Ride On Center for Kids Georgetown, TX
Volunteer of the Year Terry Wilk Equest Dallas, TX
Region 9
Equine of the Year Brunhilda Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center Redmond, WA
Credentialed Professional of the Year Julia Bozzo NorthWest Therapeutic Riding Center Bellingham, WA
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Stephen Pappa Healing Reins Therapeutic Riding Center Bend, OR
Volunteer of the Year Kathrin Randall Forward Stride Beaverton, OR
Region 10
Equine of the Year Shadow Horses Help Phoenix, AZ
Credentialed Professional of the Year Abby Jane Sutterland National Ability Center Park City, UT
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Cindy Hager Children, Horses and Adults in PartnerShip (CHAPS) Sheridan, WY
Volunteer of the Year Kris Dockum Horses with Heart Chino Valley, AZ
Region 11
Equine of the Year Fizz Ride On Therapeutic Horsemanship Chatsworth, CA
Credentialed Professional of the Year Garry Stauber DreamPower Horsemanship Gilroy, CA
Veterinarian of the Year Dr. Ann Wimmer DreamPower Horsemanship Gilroy, CA
Volunteer of the Year Honey Cowan Healing Pastures, Inc. Auburn, CA

Bios

Credentialed Professional of the Year – Joan Cutler, Region 8, Equest, Dallas, TX

Without a doubt, determination and hope characterize participants at PATH Intl. Member Centers. But these same qualities define PATH Intl. Certified Instructor Joan Cutler at Equest, a Premier Accredited Center in Dallas, TX. 

Joan has a keen ability to work with individuals who have difficulty communicating and who may demonstrate behaviors that aren’t beneficial in lessons.  One such client had been discharged from mounted activities. Joan worked one-on-one with him to develop better communication in hopes of getting him back on a horse. She had him carry equipment, eventually moving to grooming, leading, then tacking. At each step, Joan defined expectations, set boundaries and developed signs to communicate. This rider returned to mounted classes and is now back in group lessons with his peers. As Equest’s Director of Program Quality & Development, Amy Causey said, “Due to the diligent monitoring and instructing provided by this fabulous instructor, huge steps in learning were observed.”

Another participant came to the center to help regain muscle strength, hoping that strength might help her to walk again. Alex had never been on a horse and was terrified of falling, afraid the sidewalkers wouldn’t be able to help her, and she didn’t trust the horse to stay calm and move slowly. Joan acknowledged her fears and carefully orchestrated all the pieces to build confidence and strength. She chose the horse best suited to provide Alex the balance she needed to work on regaining muscle strength. Joan practiced the mount and dismount diligently, describing each step to Alex. Then they moved to the horse. Slowly, each ride progressed and Alex gained confidence. She is now steering and trotting and has shown enough muscle control improvement that she has regained the strength to walk using her walker. 

Alex is one happy rider—and we are happy to name Joan Cutler the PATH Intl. Credentialed Professional of the Year.

Veterinarian of the Year – Dr. Patrick Breen, Region 8, ROCK Ride On Center for Kids, Georgetown, TX

Veterinarians are a vital part of any center’s team. But some go beyond and become part of the family. Dr. Patrick Breen, who has been with ROCK for more than 18 years, is just such a veterinarian. 

He has treated horses, donated, side-walked, horse-handled, and invested in healing for all: participants- including his daughter-, staff, volunteers and horses. He is a guest lecturer in EAAT class at the local university, helping to educate future generations about the importance of the horse-human connection. He serves on the Board of Directors, currently as Vice President. AND he even volunteers as ROCK’s official auctioneer, raising money at events. 

He has countless times guided and directed decisions for the best care of not only the equine partners but also the center. For example, a dog was donated to the center that had a tumor and heart worm. Dr. Breen saw the value this dog would have for the program and so performed surgery and all care to treat the heart worm. 

Recently, he created a magnetic board to re-create the trail pattern for one of our riders who is blind. This allowed her to understand the trail pattern before getting on the horse and entering the arena. 

A member of ROCK said, “Most would never know all the behind the scenes work, care, and love Dr. Breen puts in to all our two- and four-legged patients. I cannot say enough about what he has done for our center and the industry as a whole.”

Congratulations, Dr. Breen, thank you for your compassion and dedication.

Volunteer of the Year – Terry Wilk, Region 8, Equest, Dallas, TX

Terry Wilk, known as the center’s “Silver Saint,” has given her best for 17 years. She does it all—every program—with the highest level of excellence, attention to detail, warmth, empathy, patience and humor.  

New, and a little intimidated, she asked herself, “Do I really want to do this?” and the answer was, “Yes, I want it a lot! I want to become a good horse person and, even more, a dependable volunteer for the riders.” She did both. The rest is history. She is the best of the best!

Here’s a list of some of her volunteer duties. She assists with: Riding classes, Driving classes, Hippotherapy sessions, mentoring special vocational groundwork classes, veterans classes, special events/fundraisers and Special Olympics. She’s the tack captain for center shows, local shows and traveling shows. And she’s the grooming and tack trainer at more than 100 trainings of 60-100 volunteers. All totaled that’s 500 hours each year, nearly every day of the week. 

For Terry, the essence of volunteering is the deep connection she builds with the riders and their families. She is a key ingredient in the recipe for success week after week, semester after semester.  She says, “Showing up for them year after year has been very important to me.  The consistency for the riders, I think, is crucial for their confidence and growth.” 

PATH Intl. Instructor Joan Cutler said, “I have the highest regard for Terry. She is ALWAYS willing to help no matter the task or the situation. She is invaluable to our staff, clients, horses and other volunteers. I know we are all replaceable but it would take someone pretty amazing to fill Terry’s shoes! So proud to work with her and call her my friend.”

Terry, we are proud to name you the PATH Intl. Volunteer of the Year.

Youth Equestrian of the Year — Andrew Robinson, Region 6, Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program, Union Grove, WI

Andrew has faced difficulties most people never have to face. Initially in foster care, Andrew was adopted by a wonderful family.  Within weeks of being adopted, he was diagnosed with cancer. It went into remission, but five years later, it was back.  

The goals for Stephanie Kubarth, Andrew’s occupational therapist, were to discuss how he was feeling, especially about cancer, and to just get him moving. Then Andrew’s beloved favorite horse colicked and died and the family and Stephanie were extremely worried how Andrew was going to react to her loss. Stephanie said, “I have never seen a bond between a horse and rider that was as strong as theirs. This horse could get Andrew to ride no matter how bad he was feeling.“

The following week, Andrew brought his entire family to have a funeral and balloon release in honor of the beloved horse. He even made a grave marker for her. Andrew and Stephanie sat in her stall, reminiscing and discussing how he was feeling. Instead of dwelling on her death, he said he wanted to celebrate her life!

Andrew encourages the other riders, telling them how proud he is of them. He gives tours of the barn, and he purchased a horse costume so he could be the center’s mascot!!

As one instructor said, “This rider gave me some things I didn’t think a child could teach me: perseverance, positive attitude in the face of horrible adversity, and unselfish love for others.”

Congratulations, Andrew.

Adult Equestrian of the Year — Hunter Adkins, Region 8, ROCK, Ride On Center for Kids, Georgetown, TX

While we as an industry strive for the data to back up EAAT efficacy, sometimes the best evidence is given by the participants the centers serve. Hunter Adkins is a very vocal and enthusiastic advocate for the equine-assisted activities that have helped her overcome physical challenges. Through connection with horses, she has improved her mobility, friendships, self-esteem and advocacy opportunities. One instructor said, “I have had the privilege to teach her and have witnessed first-hand her perseverance and work ethic on a weekly basis. She is an avid participant and continues to work toward her goals, both in and out of the saddle, with each ride.”

Her gratitude for EAAT has led her to promote fundraisers for the center, and led her to volunteer. A ROCK staff member said, “She brightens our arena with a smile and sense of humor that is contagious, and makes it a point to connect with other riders and new volunteers, helping everyone feel welcome and part of the ROCK community.”

Outside of therapeutic horsemanship, Hunter is a tireless advocate for everyone with disabilities, meeting state representatives to push beneficial legislation and serving on a committee that develops recommendations for housing, public accessibility and other issues faced by those with disabilities.

Congratulations, Hunter, for being named the PATH Intl. Adult Equestrian of the Year.

PATH International Equine Services for Heroes® Equestrian of the Year — Mitchell Hedlund, Region 7, BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding and Education Center, Harvard, IL

A U.S. Army veteran, Mitchell was three days away from suicide when he found EAAT. It was through his relationship with Mighty, a wild mustang and EAAT horse at BraveHearts, that he regained trust, found hope and established a newfound purpose to help fellow veterans rebuild their lives.

Mitchell served from 2011-2012. While in Afghanistan, he obtained a physical injury to his back that made him spend some time using a wheelchair and cane to help him move around. His experiences in Afghanistan helped him find his true passion: helping fellow veterans rebuild their lives. 

“I’ve devoted myself to just being better.” Seven simple words that Mitchell has chosen to live by. He immersed himself in everything BraveHearts offered, from working in foundation horsemanship, to riding, working with mustangs, participating on the all-veteran Drill Team, and traveling around the country raising awareness of EAAT.  He soon began asking how he could give back and help other veterans, which led him to volunteering. When the opportunity was offered to become an instructor, he jumped on it and a few short months later was certified as a PATH Intl. Registered Instructor. He continues to develop his horsemanship and is now working on his advanced certification, which he is aiming to complete in 2020. He truly understands the impact the horse can have on someone, as he has experienced the healing benefits first-hand.

Thank you for your service, Mitchell.

Equine of the Year — Cameo, Region 6, Midwest Therapeutic Riding Program, Union Grove, WI

What can we say about Cameo? Let’s hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

“The definition of exemplary is serving as a desirable model; representing the best of its kind. I can’t think of a better word to describe me. I even got to go to Hollywood and was filmed with one of my riders in front of a live studio audience. But my favorite thing to do is change the lives of my riders and their families.”

We in this room know the power of horses to change lives. Here is the story of one of those changed lives. “I was diagnosed with a brain tumor the size of a baseball. It sat on my brain stem, causing me to deteriorate before my parents’ eyes. The only option was brain surgery. Afterwards, it was fairly certain I was never going to feed myself, talk, walk or even lift my arms above by head. But now I have a wonderful husband and a 4-year-old daughter and am completely functional. I am certain that a large part of my success is because of this wonderful horse Cameo. Cameo helped me rediscover joy in life. I recently introduced my daughter to Cameo. She hugged Cameo and said, ‘Thank you for healing my Mom.’ Thank you, dear horse, thank you.”

Congratulations, Cameo, on being named the PATH Intl. Equine of the Year.

PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award — Mandy Hogan, Region 1, Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc., North Andover, MA

The PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award is given to a person who has made a significant contribution to the field of EAAT. For those of you who don’t know, James Brady was the press secretary to U.S. President Ronald Reagan who was shot during an assassination attempt in 1981. The failed attempt paralyzed Brady who as part of his physical therapy began therapeutic riding with his horse. He said riding helped him improve his balance and muscle control more than traditional therapy. Brady was an ally of then NARHA, and subsequently the association named its most prestigious award in his honor. 

Winners of this award are recognized for demonstrating the highest ethical behavior in their personal and professional life; for possessing proven leadership and dedication through delivery of service, educational contribution, support and promotion of the industry; for bringing innovative ideas to fruition; for creating collaborations and partnerships to advance the work of EAAT; and for enhancing the success and knowledge of others in the association.

Thank you to our panel of judges who made this year’s fine selection based on those criteria. This year PATH Intl. is extremely proud to present this award to an outstanding leader in the industry, Amanda “Mandy” Hogan.

Mandy Hogan is the Chief Training Officer & Program Director at Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. in North Andover, Massachusetts. She is a PATH Intl. Certified Master Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. She has served on the PATH International Equine Services for Heroes Committee, the Equine Specialist Certification Subcommittee, the Equine-Facilitated Learning Standards Development Task Force and the Certification Oversight and Programs & Standards Committees.

What does it mean, though, to say someone “served” on a committee? In Mandy’s case, it means her innovation and creativity contributed to the development of the equine specialist in mental health and learning certification and curriculum. Mandy identified the key criteria needed by the equine specialist, and helped create the workshop curriculum to teach these essential skills. She continues to be a much sought-after workshop and certification faculty member. This huge contribution to the field will foster the well-being and humane treatment of our co-partners, the equines, for many years to come. It will also bring the power of the horse to individuals in need.

Mandy was also an early pioneer for PATH Intl.’s involvement in veterans programing. With then NARHA President Paul Spiers, Larry Pence, MaryJo Beckman and Marj Kittredge, she worked tirelessly to bring veterans EAAT programing to national attention. Because of her efforts, services for veterans are some of the fastest growing programs at PATH Intl. centers and draw recognition even outside of the horsemanship field.

Josselyn Shaughnessy said, “Mandy has a great gift and that is that she always, always puts others before herself.  Her heart is so big and it encompasses not only everyone here at Windrush, but all people. She lives to help others and finds true joy in improving other’s lives.”

James Brady Award recipient Boo Martin said, “With her charisma, attention to detail, exquisite horsemanship skills, and commitment, she’s helped lead the national movement to get people with disabilities safely and successfully into the saddle. Mandy’s dedication to this mission continues to this day!” 

Past President Kitty Stalsburg said, “Mandy has consistently produced creative services to meet the needs of the community. Her school-based programs provide challenge and skill development opportunities for a wide range of youth. As an educator and horsewoman working with mental health professionals for nearly 40 years, Mandy has innovatively designed programs to meet the needs of a wide variety of individuals.”

The contributions Mandy has made to our industry will continue well into the future. Susanne Haseman noted, “Mandy has supported people who are seeking to learn about equine-assisted therapy in the mental health and learning realm. She has given them the knowledge and confidence to go out and make that work their own, putting their own stamp on it, and then sharing it with others. A number of people who have gone through the ESMHL workshops have gone on to start innovative programs, and then turned around and taught others. When you think about the number of students she has taught, and the number they have taught, her positive influence reaches a long distance.”

Josselyn summed up what everyone who knows Mandy believes: “PATH Intl. is lucky to have this incredible woman representing the association as a pillar in our industry. She is able to give others confidence that our programs are the very best option for anyone needing the invaluable help our horses, volunteers, staff and community can possibly give them.”

Mandy, we ARE lucky to have your hard work, passion, dedication, forward-thinking knowledge and experience for our centers, students and instructors, but, above all, for our participants whose lives are changed through the power of the horse. We are honored to name you as the recipient of the PATH Intl. James Brady Professional Achievement Award.

 

 

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