All of our instructors undergo a rigorous training and lengthy apprenticeship overseen by PATH Intl’, the organization that certifies, accredits, and is primarily responsible for educating centers and members.There are three levels of certification available to prospective instructors: Registered, Advanced, and Master. High Horses instructors are paid professionals who are certified in CPR and First Aid.
With High Horses since May 2008
Position at High Horses: Amanda wears many hats at High Horses. She is the Horse Herd Coordinator and a PATH Intl’ Registered Level Instructor.
Professional Background: Amanda grew up with horses and started her horse career as a working student at age 12. From there she continued working in different barns while spending time in 4-H, Pony Club, and progressing to teaching riding lessons, summer camps, and training green horses through high school and college where she studied small business management. Besides a brief period where she worked as a dog trainer, Amanda has worked as a professional with horses her whole life. In her own riding she has mostly focused on dressage, but she has also trained and competed in 3-phase eventing, show jumping, endurance riding, gymkhana, and spent time studying natural horsemanship.
Teaching Philosophy: Amanda’s teaching style is to have fun and enjoy being with the horse. She feels that in the therapeutic riding environment having a team relationship between rider, horse, volunteers, instructor, caregivers and parents makes for the best outcome in lessons. She is often found communicating with parents and caregivers over the fence while empowering volunteers to complete a task with the riders.
Hobbies & Interests: When not at High Horses she enjoys trail riding, spending time with family and friends, sketching, reading, volunteering at her church or at her son’s school, playing with her dog and cat, and computer games.
With High Horses since 2010
Position at High Horses: PATH Intl’ Registered Level Instructor
Professional Background: Betsy moved to Vermont a year ago and joined High Horses soon after. She comes from Connecticut with a background in Special Education, and the Hunter/Jumper show world. Betsy started her career working in residential facilities, while continuing to ride and work at the local show stable. Blending the two vocations led her to a career as instructor and program director for Pegasus Therapeutic Riding for 26 years.
Hobbies & Interests: Betsy is an avid rider, and lover of outdoor activities. She also enjoys life on a horse farm in W. Windsor with her husband, dogs, cat, chickens and two kids when they can visit.
Ellen M. Zaika
With High Horses since 2009
Position at High Horses: Site Coordinator and Volunteer Coordinator
Professional Background: Ellen grew up in Amherst, New York. She moved to New England to attend Boston University where she earned a degree in Communications. She has always loved horses but really didn’t have time to indulge that passion until retiring from Verizon Communications in 2008. Ellen began with High Horses as a volunteer soon-after retirement and became the Site Coordinator in 2009. She truly loves the program. Ellen feels so fortunate to be the staff member always on-site. She loves witnessing and sharing in the happiness, and physical and emotional benefits that the program provides to riders, families, caregivers,and also our volunteers!
Hobbies & Interests: Ellen enjoys being outdoors and always loves spending time with her two Jack Russell terriers and her trail horse Slim.
With High Horses since 2013
Positions at High Horses: PATH Int’l Registered Level Instructor
Professional Background: Joyce has been teaching riding professionally since 1969 and training horses since 1972. In addition she has taught vaulting (gymnastics on horseback) since 1980. She graduated from Cornell University in 1976 double majoring in animal science and biochemistry, earning a B.S. with distinction. In 1982 she earned a M.O.E. (Master of Occupational Education) degree from the University of New Hampshire. She did extensive post-graduate work in special education and vocational special needs at the University of Vermont. She has 11 years of experience teaching in schools primarily in special education, vocational education and career education. She has studied fitness and exercise science, earning her certification as a personal trainer in 2014 from the American Council on Exercise.
Teaching Philosophy: My students are my teachers.
Hobbies and Interests: Coaching at horse shows, watching polo matches, hiking – especially the Appalachian Trail.
With High Horses since 2011
Position at High Horses: Physical Therapist practicing Hippotherapy
Professional Background: Kate Gamble lives in Norwich, VT with her husband and two children. She is originally from Portland, Maine but most recently moved to the Upper Valley from Jacksonville, FL. She received her Masters of Physical Therapy degree from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN in 1992 and also has a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance from New York University.She has worked in neurological rehabilitation for over seven years and was trained in Hippotherapy at High Horses in July 2011. She is excited to join the High Horses team and is impressed with the passion and dedication of all the instructors, staff and volunteers involved with this wonderful program.
Teaching Philosophy: She believes strongly that horse movement and the experience of riding can facilitate improved movement and function for clients.
Hobbies & Interests: Along with her work as a physical therapist she continues to dance and was Artistic Director of Braided Light Dance Company in Jacksonville for over three years. Presently, she runs a dance program for people with Parkinson’s disease and teaches modern dance in the community.
With High Horses since 2005
Position at High Horses: PATH Intl’ Registered Level Instructor and ‘Connections’ Instructor
Professional Background: At High Horses, Lasell MSW primarily teaches therapeutic riding and provides equine facilitated services via “Connections,’ the mental health program she developed at High Horses. She also trains volunteers in Advanced Leader Horse Handling practices and co-created with Susan Goodell the Parent Events that are held twice a year. In the past she created the Horse Exercise Program whose focus was the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of the therapy horses, to prevent burnout through groundwork and riding, while helping volunteers expand and refine their skills. She also has created custom Equine Treatment Plans for consistent handling to resolve specific concerns. Lasell has presented at Regional and National PATH Intl’ conferences. Outside of High Horses, Lasell trains horses as well as maintains her private teaching practice with individuals and groups. She excels in helping people bring creativity and awareness to their relationships and think differently about the sensitivities, responsiveness, and presence of themselves and their horses. Lasell also works in clinical and community support roles at the Clara Martin Center in Bradford, VT.
Teaching Philosophy: Lasell Bartlett integrates over forty years of experience in the fields of mind/body awareness with professional expertise as a clinical social worker and therapeutic riding instructor, focusing on helping horses and humans develop the best relationships imaginable. Lasell is passionate about horses, about safety around horses, and about nurturing a calm learning environment. Her motto is, “It’s Our Nature to Get Along.”
Hobbies & Interests: Lasell loves learning whatever she can about neuroscience, brain development, trauma treatment, body wellness, and the functioning of various species. She dances a lot, tends to a flock of Jacob sheep, and will go out late at night to watch meteor showers.
With High Horses Since 2015
Position at High Horses: Executive Director
Professional Background: Nicole grew up in New York State where she received a BS in Business Administration and Marketing from SUNY
Brockport. Then the next step in life took her to Utah where she completed a Master’s Degree in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism from the University of Utah. She moved to the Upper Valley just recently after her husband started a job at the VA Hospital. Nicole has had an extensive career in the non-profit world including the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah, the American Cancer Society, and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. She has held positions in all areas of a non-profit business and is excited to be a part of the High Horses team!
In spite of having limited experiences with horses, she has been connected to them intermittently throughout her life and feels comfortable and happy to be around them.
Hobbies & Interests: Nicole loves to hike, camp, read, and spend time with her husband and their two dogs, Hermie and Mars.
With High Horses since 2008
Position at High Horses: PATH Intl’ Registered Level Instructor
Professional Background: Her older cousins use to drag her around the rodeo circuit in New York when she was a kid; she was the “gofer” girl. She got her first horse when she was 12 shoveling stalls to pay for his board and she delivered newspapers by horseback to help pay for him. After she “grew up,” people started asking her to teach their kids to ride. In 2006 she got her instructor certification through Certified Horsemanship Association. In 2009 she got her PATH Intl’ Registered Level Instructor Accreditation. During the summer months, she is the riding director at one of the girls’ camps in Orford, NH.
Hobbies & Interests: Riding, training, shoeing horses, and occasionally…getting away with her horse for a few days by herself!
Susan (Sue) Miller
With High Horses since 1998
Position at High Horses: Program Director and PATH Intl’ Registered Level Instructor.
Professional Background: Susan has been riding since the age of seven. Susan started with saddleseat lessons on Morgans and has ridden and studied huntseat, sidesaddle and dressage and has an interest in natural horsemanship. Susan has a small Morgan farm in Bradford where she and her family have raised a few horses with the Misure prefix. Susan has been a 4-H leader for the Young Riders and the Peaked Mountain Equestrians as well as a Girl Scout and Cub Scout leader. Susan is a registered PATH Intl’ registered level instructor who has co-coached the High Horses Special Olympics team, filled in as horse herd coordinator and is the PATH Intl’ site representative and region one list serve moderator. Susan graduated from the Community College of Vermont with an Associate’s degree in childhood education and Johnson State College with a BA in professional studies.
Teaching Philosophy: Susan’s teaching philosophy is one that she creates and builds upon as she acquires new experiences. Susan enjoys teaching lessons that are fun and interesting for the rider and watching riders reach their personal riding goals. Susan aspires to bring an open mind, a positive attitude, and high expectations to High Horses each day.
With High Horses since 1997
Position at High Horses: PATH Intl’ Registered Level Instructor and High Horses’ Lead Instructor.
Professional Background: Susan has been riding horses since she was seven. While she did not own her own horse until she was 34-years-old, she always managed to find a barn to work at or a horse that needed a rider. She rode with Peggy Cummings while completing a B.A. in Psychology at Bates College. Upon graduation, she moved with Peggy to Buzzard’s Bay, Massachusetts where she spent the year working on a farm that bred and trained Welsh Cobs. It was there that she began to be interested in therapeutic riding and she went to the Chef Center in Augusta, Michigan, graduating from their therapeutic riding certification program in 1990. While Susan was constantly looking to use her certification, she went on to get a master’s degree in education and taught third and fourth grade for fifteen years. She then switched careers and is currently working as a financial planner with her father in Norwich, Vermont. Her new career allows her more flexibility to continue working in the therapeutic riding field.
Teaching Philosophy: Susan enjoys bringing her horse experience and education background into her lessons as well as exploring ways to measure the successes of the riders she teaches.
Hobbies & Interests: Susan lives in Newbury with her husband, two children, a dog, a cat, and horses of her own.