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Equine Specialist (ES) Mentors

Annie Tidmarsh
Annie trained and worked as a psychiatric nurse and also completed Counselling skills Course. Her main interests have always been the outdoors and horses and she worked in Outdoor Centres as ‘Matron’ in charge of health aspects of attendees and also part-time instructor in rock-climbing and sailing. Her horse experience goes back to childhood. She has worked with a variety of breeds of ponies and horses in Endurance, Eventing, Hunting and in Carriage Driving Trials and showing, both as a groom and navigator at trials in UK and France. She has enjoyed the experience of both successfully training, producing and competing with her own horses in driving trials, long distance riding and long distance driving (silver award winner). The aim was always to finish with a fit to continue, happy horse. Focusing on that was what brought success rather than a competitive spirit. She has a British Driving Society Certificate in carriage driving and stable management. She is also a qualified complementary equine and human therapist and trained in saddlery. She was certified with EAGALA in 2002 and has worked with child and adult clients, individuals, couples, families, youth and professional groups while in private practice with her husband David in Winds of Change. She and David hosted the first training in Europe in 2003, and since then, they have been instrumental in the growth and development of EAGALA and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning in Europe and beyond. She is an EAGALA trainer.
Catherine PCatherine M. Poland, MBA
Catherine earned her Master’s in Business at Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, Ohio in 1992 and she is the founder of Trinity Horse Farm LLC, an Equine Assisted Learning Center, located in Medina, Ohio. She is honored to say that she has had the privilege of being with horses all of her life. Growing up, she was an active participant in 4-H and Pony Club. She believes in natural horsemanship and “Keeping it Natural” for horses are truly partners in all we do with them and in what we do together in helping others.   She has been blessed in working within the EAGALA model since 2006 and in working with a variety of clients in the areas of substance abuse, eating disorders, mood disorders, autism, conflict management, leadership development and spiritual retreats.   She has worked with a variety of agencies within her community in providing customized EAP programs which incorporated EAGALA’s EAP model. These programs have been successfully implemented with local area agencies such as: the County Court System, Church Youth Groups, public schools and alternative schools to help numerous at-risk youths, Autistic children and their families. She is a member of the Class of 2008 Leadership Medina County and a recipient of the 2007 Woman of Distinction Award. 
Deb DeHoffDeb DeHoff
As a professional Equine Specialist, Deb has enjoyed the experiences of equine sports therapy, boarding, training young horses, barrel horses, retraining negative behaviors, instructing able bodied/special needs persons in basic riding, and competition in world level barrel racing, novice level team penning. She founded Serenity Farm, a non-profit corporation, providing various equine services including therapeutic riding and EAGALA. She is an EAGALA approved provider and has created a workshop with manual on the 12-steps and EAP. She believes and encourages continuing education for all individuals around her. She has worked with at-risk youth and families for over 20 years, investigated for child support and abuse cases, mentored children/teens with juvenile probation requirements, supervised a mentoring program for inner city gang members and has taught mediation, anger management, and conflict management training to public schools. As a Mentor for EAGALA members, she can offer a tremendous amount of positive energy, skill level and encouragement to help those wanting to succeed in a professional co-facilitating team.
Faye GFaye Gandolfi
Faye Gandolfi is a Horse Professional who has been certified by EAGALA since April 2001 and Advanced Certified since December 2008. She currently lives in Tucson, Arizona with her husband and daughter and is the Executive Director/Founder of a highly successful EAP Program, Desert Dove Farm. Prior to becoming involved with EAP, she was a paralegal working for the County Attorneys Office. As the drug court liaison, she observed a strong need for a primary prevention program to help people avoid the draw of drugs, gangs and other behaviors that kept them from a successful life. Over the past 10 years she has developed a program that is focused on improving the lives of youth and specializes in helping domestic violence victims. Horses have been her passion since a very young age and have shaped her life in an amazing way. She successfully competed in the hunter/jumper, eventing and dressage disciplines with her equine partner “Woody”. She never ceases to be amazed at the impact EAP has on clients, horses and facilitators and is honored to be part of this work. 
FernandoFernando Cordero (Habla Español)
Fernando Cordero studied Biology and after High Level Business Management in Mexico. He worked 20 years with transnational corporations and currently he has a partnership, TAAC, which conducts EAGALA EAL and EAP sessions, and he works with PAE where he uses EAGALA to work with child trafficking, addictions, sexual abuse, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Fernando also runs his own horse transportation business. He has a strong commitment to work as an Equine Specialist and share his knowledge and experience with horses to help other people. Fernando also works as an EAGALA trainer in the certification training program.
Holly Ohlson
Holly Ohlson
Holly Ohlson is an active member of EAGALA’s Australasia region. She has over 40 years of professional experience training horses, coaching riders, and competing internationally. Holly immigrated to Australia from Southern California in 1988 to train horses and coach riders. She became EAGALA Certified in 2008 and started Horse Sense for Humans. She currently works with a psychologist and a psychiatrist to deliver EAGALA Model EAP/EAL programs to a variety of client populations. Holly has organized the EAGALA Pacific Horse Safety and Well-being Focus Group in 2011, producing two EAGALA Conference Presentations: “Horse Welfare” and “Safety and Risk Management.” Holly became an Eagala Advanced Certified ES in 2014 and has participated in two advanced trainings. She is currently a member of the Eagala Ethics Committee.

Jen TomsJen Toms has many years working in the horse industry and owns and rides horses socially. Jen had heard about EAP from her studies and travels with horses and was part of the driving force to get Equine Time up and running as a successful business. She attended her first training in 2007, and has worked for Equine Time since 2009. During 2012 Jen set up an Equine Therapy program for a residential AOD and Eating Disorder facility in Texas USA. It was from this experience she went onto develop and and enrich the ES role through her "Grounding of the ES" workshop presented at the 1st Eagala Pacific Conference in 2012, and then the 15th International Conference in Texas in 2014. Jen was the Sydney Network Group co-ordinator for 5 years and in this role supported, connected and shared Eagala extensively. Jen is also a Life Coach and Accredited Trainer/Facilitator in Australia.  

Jimmy Downes
Jimmy is the founder of Relatively Stable, LLC providing EAGALA model EAP & EAL on his farm in Sandy Hook, CT.  He retired from Verizon Corporation after 31 years and was the director of the CWA Local 1101 Union Assistance Program for over 25 years.   Jimmy currently works for Liberty Behavioral Management which owns and manages Arms Acres , Conifer Park Substance Abuse Treatment Facilities and the Holliswood Psychiatric hospital in New York City.  He has owned horses for the last 27 years and was a part time wrangler at Malibu Dude Ranch.  He provided horse care and was a trail guide at Green Chimneys in Brewster, NY and was a barn manager at Trails End Riding Center in Putnam Valley, NY.  Jim has been an EAGALA equine specialist at Pal-O-Mine Equestrian working with sexually abused children.  Last year he introduced the EAGALA model to the Military Wellness Program at Holliswood Pyschiatric Hospital as well as for the substance abuse clients at Arms Acres Treatment Facility. He is advanced certified and an EAGALA trainer. 
Katherine Stankiewicz
Katherine Stankiewicz
Katie is the owner of Mind, Body & Sole Equine Care, which offers horse and human wellness. Katie was introduced to EAGALA in 2009, with an eye-opening experience that ignited a fire! She saw the EAGALA Model as a unique, highly beneficial approach to overcoming obstacles and moving forward, which is exactly what she did. Katie quickly became certified and completed her Advanced certification in 2016. She feels blessed to work with 3 different therapists on a weekly basis with a variety of clients. She is a certified leadership coach, who works with individuals and corporation at her farm, and is also the EAGALA networking coordinator for Western NC. Katie continues to attend networking meetings and as many trainings as possible. Her hope for each session is for all to feel an open relationship, where everyone works together, allowing for instruction and guidance. Of great importance to Katie is a learning environment that truly shares the experiences afforded by their work. Her desire is to assist you in exploring and expanding your journey. The rewards of EAGALA are many and fostering your understanding and growth as well as the integrity of the EAGALA community is her goal as a mentor.
Mark LytleMark Lytle
Mark earned his AAS in Equine Science at Martin Community College in 1991. He began a career training Arabian horses on the national circuit. He has been working as a horse professional for 20 years. He began working with at-risk youth in a residential setting as an educational counselor for sexually reactive and abusive youth. He oversaw the education and day treatment programs that included experiential ropes course therapy and developed the EAP program using the EAGALA model for Hand Up Homes for Youth, Inc. He is on the Board of Directors for the local saddle club association, a 4-H Horse and Pony Club leader and member of the NC Horse Council. In 2005, he opened his own EAP outpatient company; along with his wife Becky called Head, Heart, Hands, and Horses. He is also an EAGALA Un-trainer for EAGALA’s certification program trainings.
MaryAnn BrewerMaryAnn Brewer
MaryAnn is an Advance Certified Equine Specialist learning naturally from her herd of nine horses which include seven mares, one gelding, and one stallion. MaryAnn has traveled extensively and has been facilitating EAP sessions with her horses since 2006. More than 8000 people come through her arena to date. MaryAnn has lived in New Jersey (where the state animal is the horse!) my whole life. She has studied Horsemanship, Team Management and Team Leadership, KungFu , Communication, and Yoga. She is also the mother of three grown sons and she loves trail riding. 
Michele Schraf
Michele has loved horses since she was a young girl. Once her three young children were in school she filled her days working for a local dressage barn. She spent the next eight years interacting with many different kinds of horses and their owners. Michele spent some time riding, but mostly enjoyed her duties of saddling horses for training, ground work, grooming, attending horse shows and just hanging out in the field. Through her experience in this setting she grew to love horses from the ground. The curiosity of observing horse behavior is where Michele’s interest lies. And even recently her purchase of a mini hinny named Palmer has taught her about the mind of a mule. Michele currently works full time for a public school in Maryland working with autistic children as a para-educator. Her journey with EAGALA began in 2009, where she found the perfect match for her equine association. Michele now works part time with Patti Schlough, PEACE, LLC, which is an EAGALA Certified facility in Red Lion, PA. The past five years she and Patti have been using EAL and the EAGALA Model to teach professional development courses to educators in the school system, “Bullying, A Herd Perspective” and “Experiential Learning for the Mindful Educator” was created by Patti Schlough. They also use the equine facility at the school to teach EAL with at risk youth and bully intervention. Michele has most recently completed the 40 hour course of “Clean Language and Symbolic Modeling” with Gina Campbell, and ”Mining Your Metaphors”. The discovery of the Clean Language Questions and Symbolic Modeling has enhanced her skills as an advanced practitioner. She and Patti are currently in the process of integrating this model into their EAGALA Model work. Michele is passionate about continuing education, her role as an equine specialist, and utilizing all her resources to benefit a strong facilitation team.
 Michelle Holling-BrooksMichelle
Michelle is a life-long equestrian and has personally felt the power of the horse in her own life and through the lives of every child, teen, and adult that she has worked with as a professional in this field for over the past 10 years. She started her journey as a therapeutic riding instructor and followed the creation of working with horses to help address emotional issues with great interest. In 2004, she was certified through EAGALA and switched to the EAGALA model for working with clients who have emotional/mental health issues and learning needs. She was the first professional in Southwestern Virginia to be certified by EAGALA and the first in Virginia to be EAGALA Advanced Certified. She is currently serving as the VA EAGALA Networking State Coordinator. In 2008, after serving as a Program Director and Executive Director for other Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies organizations, she founded Unbridled Change – a non-profit organization dedicated to breaking the cycle of abuse utilizing EAGALA and NARHA models . As the ES side of the team, her background comes from competitively showing in both hunter/jumpers and three-day-eventing. She has a minor in Equine Management from Southern Virginia College (now University) and was co-captain of the IHSA riding team. She’s worked her way through almost every job a horse lover could have from “barn rat” as a child swapping out lessons for barn work to Executive Director of an Equine Assisted Activities and Therapy organization. She professionally trains horses and enjoys starting young horses, and training/rehabilitating older/rescue horses both in general horsemanship skills and for dressage and three-day-eventing.
MickeyDMickey DiGiacomo
Mickey spent her lifetime in the equine industry from 4-H to breaking and showing horses to fifteen years spent as a jockey, riding in ten different states. She retired from riding and moved to the racetracks of the west coast (to be warm!) for three years as an exercise rider. She eventually left the track and created a riding program for a residential treatment facility for emotionally disturbed boys – Sierra Boys Ranch. She also worked as a residential counselor and house director for the program. She attended her first EAGALA training in September 2000, after which she became Equine Services Director for Sierra Family Services and helped transform the equine component into a true EAGALA Model program. She received EAGALA’s Outstanding Equine Specialist award in 2002. Literally hundreds of hours of EAGALA sessions later, and after contracting as an EAGALA trainer since 2004, she now works full-time as Program Director for EAGALA.
Pam StoddardPam Stoddard
Pam has been around horses on and off for most of her life, having received her first horse at age 11. She earned her Advanced Certification with EAGALA in 2010, after beginning her studies with the organization in 2001. She's been blessed to live with her EAL/EAP equine partners anywhere from 12-20 years. Equine studies came from many sources; clinics, books, videos, demonstrations, audits, and trial and error. All told, her greatest teachers have been the horses themselves... and trial and error! To ensure a better understanding of what transpires in the arena with the clients, therapist, as well as herself, she's been studying psychology, especially neuropsychology, when/however she has the opportunity.
RandyRandy Mandrell
Randy is the Co-founder of REFUGE Services, a Christian non-profit organization that provides outpatient EAP services to Lubbock, TX and surrounding communities. He is the Director of equine services, managing Refuge’s 40 acre equestrian facility with over 20 horses. Prior to this, he was the equine director for a residential treatment center for girls with eating disorders in south Texas. He has been practicing EAP for 10 years working with primarily adolescents, families, and couples. Having 30 years of experience with horses, 13 years of experience as a professional trainer and farrier, he was recognized by EAGALA as “Outstanding Horse Professional” in 2001 for the superior work with clients and collaboration with other therapists in his community. He is also a trainer for EAGALA certification trainings.
Ray Anschel
Ray Anschel
Ray has been a teacher of writing and literature for 40 years and has served in numerous leadership roles. He holds a Master's Degree and is the recipient of Normandale's Teacher of the Year Award and the University of Texas's National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Award for Excellence (NISOD). He has been an ES at Acres for Life in Chisago City, MN since 2010. Ray also serves as EAGALA's Network Coordinator for Minnesota as well as coordinator for Operation Sanctuary, an initiative to provide equine services for veterans and their families. He is passionate about this work and its power to change the lives of both client and facilitator; he marvels at the countless "miracles" that show themselves in the pasture each day. Ray is a life-long learner, loves working with horses and people, and is committed to growing personally and professionally and helping others do the same. Ray is Advanced Certified.
Sharon BoyceSharon Boyce
First and foremost I am a horse lover and I fundamentally believe that horses can help people. I am currently traveling through a course and profession where I began in psychology, moved away from that and worked in the field of therapeutic riding, then returned to psychology through the EAGALA model. My formal education has been within Research and Clinical Psychology, although I am not a registered therapist. I have many years of experience both formally and informally working with horses. Despite this I am always curious to learn more from and about the horse. Horses have assisted me in achieving my childhood dream of competing on an international platform. I received my SA national colours for Combined carriage driving and more recently they have assisted me to become an international trainer in the EAGALA model. In my classical equitation training so much emphasis was placed on what I must teach the horse and through EAP I have been fascinated by what the horses can teach us. I was amazed at how how often we don't recognize the communication from the horse, thus missing some very important lessons. I have ridden competitively in eventing, dressage and jumping as well as driven singles, pairs and teams. One thing I have learned is that if I cannot make a team of four horses do something they don't want to then I can listen, watch, and marvel when they decide to go the same way I do. It is all about intent!