It takes a dedicated team to help ensure the continuing success of Medicine Horse. These individuals continue to offer their time and energy to help take Medicine Horse to the next level.
Joan Rieger, MA, LPC, Program Coordinator
Joan is a licensed psychotherapist with her Masters in Counseling from Naropa University (2001). She is currently in private practice in Lafayette, CO specializing in trauma & abuse, attachment issues, couples counseling, depression, and grief. She offers equine psychotherapy to individuals and couples. Joan is also the co-founder of the Gestalt Equine Institute of the Rockies and a faculty member at the Gestalt Institute of the Rockies. Prior to becoming a therapist, Joan spent 10 years in customer business development at Procter & Gamble. Once a therapist, she worked extensively with families and adolescents as the clinical director at a wilderness therapy program. She was also the clinical supervisor for Medicine Horse Program, and an adjunct faculty member for Naropa University. Joan has traveled to Australia, New Zealand and England to co-facilitate trainings and teach the Gestalt Equine Psychotherapy model. Joan is certified as a Gestalt therapist from the Gestalt Institute of the Rockies, and trained in Level 1 Somatic Experiencing.
Contact Joan at
or visit www.joanrieger.com
Eve Ellis, MA, LPC
Eve has over 5 years experience working with children and teens in therapeutic settings and over 10 years experience working with children and teens in equine settings. She has advanced training in play therapy, wilderness therapy, equine assisted psychotherapy and transpersonal counseling. Eve works with individual clients as well as groups. She runs grief groups, addiction groups and various other therapeutic groups for adults and children.
Eve finds the equine-human relationship both empowering and revealing, and loves working with the horses to help people find self-confidence and hope. Her training in Play Therapy has been extensive and Eve finds this form of therapy to be an incredible way to help children grow and heal through many of life's difficulties.
Eve has the ability to balance compassion for the individual's journey with practicality for enacting change and encouraging growth.
For more info, visit Eve's web site at: natureoftherapy.com
Courtney McCall, MA, LPCC, NCC
Courtney graduated magna cum laude from Regis University in 2016 with a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, and was certified in Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy/Equine-Assisted Learning in 2017. Courtney also has additional training in Play Therapy, Couples Therapy, and Family Therapy. Her main clinical focus has been in providing services to children, adults, and families suffering from trauma, anxiety, depression, grief/loss, attachment, and self-esteem issues. She operates from perspectives founded in Jungian, Gestalt, and Person-Centered theories. Courtney believes that healing occurs holistically, through working with the mind, body, and spirit. She prefers to collaborate with clients regarding their treatment, in order to maximize the client's potential for healing. In her spare time, Courtney enjoys riding her two rescue horses, practicing archery, singing, hiking, kayaking, making art, and snuggling with her two dogs and cat. Courtney welcomes anyone looking for both traditional and alternative, nature-based approaches to therapy.
Stephanie McBride, MA, Registered Psychotherapist
Stephanie is passionate about fostering a relationship with horses and nature that supports connection, embodiment, and empowerment. Stephanie is a registered psychotherapist and a graduate from the Transpersonal Wilderness Therapy masters program at Naropa University. Steph has completed various Equine Therapy trainings and uses connection and nervous system regulation as the mechanism that drives growth after trauma. Since joining the team at Medicine Horse in January 2017, Stephanie has helped individuals, couples, and families become more connected in relationship.
What happens during a session with Stephanie is shaped by what the client brings in and needs. Clients are invited to pay attention to the present moment, to take in the experience of being outside with the horses, and to integrate that learning into their lives. Stephanie draws from experience with body work, wilderness therapy training, and a lifelong connection to horses to help nurture clients’ connection to their body, their authentic self, and to their world.
Learn more about Steph’s approach at ReRootTherapy.com
Michèle Vincent (Intern)
Michèle is earning a master's degree from the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW), focusing on Mental Health and Animal Assisted Social Work. A former Human Resources Director in the high tech industry, Michèle relished the opportunity to coach and counsel people in the workplace. A natural encourager, she returned to school after realizing the favorite part of her job was being part of a person's growth process rather than the business end of HR. Before coming to Medicine Horse, Michèle volunteered as horse handler for a PATH-certified hippotherapy center in Texas, working with people with physical, cognitive, and occupational disabilities. The client transformations she witnessed there inspired her to seek out a master's program offering animal-assisted interventions in mental health. Michèle uses a combination of warmth and humor in her approach with clients and is available to work with teens, emerging adults (ages 18-25), and adults dealing with depression, abuse, anxiety, life changes trauma, and stress. As an intern, Michèle's services are offered at a discounted rate.
Contact Michèle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nyle Biondi, MS LMFT
Nyle has been practicing psychotherapy since 2007 and has worked with horses since he was a kid. He started at MHP as a volunteer in 2015 and accepted the role of the Program Director in 2016. He enjoys being at Medicine Horse Program where he gets to combine his love of horses and nature with his passion for therapy.
Nyle's gentle and laid back approach make him well-suited for a wide variety of issues and populations. Nyle has a specific focus on working with transgender and other LGBQ+ clients, teenagers, and people with developmental disabilities. He also works well with people who are struggling with depression, anxiety, and emotion regulation.
For more information about Nyle please visit his website: www.bluesagetransitions.com or send him an email:
Through equine therapy, you have the opportunity to address challenges either in your life or the life of your child with the aid of animals that are dedicated to connection and health. Horses have the rare ability to help us access the emotional part of the brain that is often exacerbating anxiety, overwhelm, and a host of other feelings that are causing struggles and suffering in our lives. With the aid of the horses, you can integrate the struggles and your biology so you or your child can make choices that lead to greater empowerment, confidence and the ability to take on challenges with greater ease.
Heather Gunther has been helping people overcome relationship challenges, stress, lack of confidence, the discrepancy between what you are capable of and what you accomplish and so many other challenges. For nearly 20 years, she has been helping children through adults to develop the tools to finally feel whole, healthy and capable of thriving. Whether through play therapy, equine-assisted psychotherapy or coaching, together we can get at the root of your struggle so you can begin living a more embodied, focused, energy filled life of wonder and wellness.
To learn more about working with Heather Gunther one-on-one, in groups, on retreat or to bring Heather to your facility, visit HealThroughPlay.com contact: 720-295-6837
Alison McCabe, BA, BEd, GEP, MS (2017)
Alison McCabe is a registered psychotherapist, certified Gestalt Equine Psychotherapist (2013), and internship student (MS, Prescott College, 2017). She has over four years of working with teens in residential treatment, their families, and individuals. She offers equine sessions for individuals, couples, and families that are struggling with relationships, self-confidence, compulsive or addictive behaviors and patterns, and parent-child conflicts. She and the horses work together to bring unconscious patterns and beliefs to awareness, create a more compassionate and empowered relationship to those patterns, and learn to move with and through the blocks. She offers a loving, humorous, and emphatic presence, as well as a deep love and respect for what the horses have to offer.
Catherine Mathon MBA, MA, C-SPT, LPC
After an international career as an executive Manager in the Telecommunications Industry, in 2015, Catherine received her Masters in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology from Naropa University. From there, she created Opal Counseling Center where she works with children and their families. She works primarily with gifted and hypersensitive children, specializes in Adoption, Foster care, Autism Spectrum, ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorders.
Catherine loves to work with horses as partners; they help children learn how to be in relationship with themselves and others. In this experiential process children are able to resolve behavioral challenges(like anger outbursts, hyperactivity, social isolation, bullying etc...) by practicing regulating their emotions and by being in relationship with their horse.
In addition to her degree in Psychology, Catherine is a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning with Path International and has completed the level 1 of the EAGALA Certification. Catherine is also Certified in Synergetic Play therapy, and is trained in EMDR.
Catherine also gives riding lessons that focus on the emotional relationship with between the horse and rider using Mindfulness techniques and her experience in play therapy and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Catherine teaches all levels.
Catherine has been riding for over 35 years. She has learned to ride in Europe and has been an eventer. As her hair has started to gray, Catherine has become a dressage rider instead.
Cathy Lauderbaugh, M.A., CCC-SLP
Cathy is thrilled to support children’s speech-language therapy goals through equine-assisted environments, and hippotherapy (movement of the horse). Cathy’s approach values input from caregivers and other therapy providers, developing strategies that support children in their everyday lives. Hippotherapy is a profound way to improve speech rate, breath support, and holistic system regulation needed for language processing. The ways in which horses communicate have a powerful impact on children’s communication skills. Cathy continues to be amazed by the connection and meaningful purpose horses give to children in her sessions.
Cathy’s background includes certification as a PATH therapeutic riding instructor and coursework from the American Hippotherapy Association; she has over 10 years of experience working with children in therapeutic equine settings, and over 5 years of experience specifically using hippotherapy. As a lifelong equestrian, Cathy enjoys teaching riding lessons and training horses across multiple disciplines. Her therapy practice in Boulder county supports infants, young children, and their families in the areas of: speech, language, learning and play, and feeding.
Contact Cathy at , or visit www.CreativeStrategiesTherapy.com to learn more about how hippotherapy is used in speech-language therapy sessions.