Ann Alden, MA, Sonoita, AZ - Vice President
Ann Alden, MA, owned and operated Esperanza Stables in Tucson, Arizona from 1977 -1986 and has been providing equine assisted activities and therapy since 1986 when she began volunteering at Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT).
Ann received a BA degree in Psychology from Newcomb College, a BS degree in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and a Master’s degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation from the University of Arizona. She founded a NARHA accredited center in Tucson, AZ in 1992 and is past president of EFMHA (Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association), formerly a section of NARHA, now PATH International.
Ann is a PATH International Certified Instructor and Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning. She is also a Certified Equine Interaction Professional in Education and is a faculty member for the PATH International Equine Specialist workshop, and for Adventure in Awareness. She is the founder of Borderlands Center for Equine Assisted Services in Sonoita, AZ.
“I have witnessed a child with autism speak his first words on a trail ride, an adult with multiple sclerosis leave his wheelchair behind and walk with just cane, and veterans share feelings for the first time ever after participating in equine assisted activities and therapies. I have longed for well designed research to validate the power of the healing horses can provide us and to determine which specific interventions are most effective, appropriate, humane and safe for all participants.”
Pam Cusick, MA , Parkton, MD- Vice President
Pam Cusick is an experienced public health research professional with experience in the areas of education, communications, and research as well as strategic planning, community outreach, and public relations. Pam earned a BA in Psychology from Sweet Briar College, and a MA in Psychology from the New School for Social Research. Pam has been involved with horses for much of her life and is interested in increasing public awareness of the therapeutic benefits of working with horses.
"There is much anecdotal evidence of the amazing impact horses have on individuals with physical and emotional challenges. Providing research-based evidence will enable more people to access these benefits through their medical providers and, hopefully one day soon, be able to obtain coverage through health insurance. I look forward to working with HHRF to help this become a reality.”
Sally is currently a Vice President of Information Technology. She has a BS in Electrical Engineering from Montana State University. Sally rode her first pony at 2 ½ and her connection to horses has grown from that moment. She has competed in 4H, Western Pleasure, Saddle Seat, Driving, Hunter/Jumpers, Dressage and now owns an eventer. Sally is a life long learner, an avid reader, and a lover of all animals, especially dogs and horses. She currently has two rescue dogs and her horse.
"I have seen the impact horses have on people. They can bring out confidence that didn’t exist, they can help someone’s body learn balance and improve core strength and they can teach communication in many verbal and non-verbal ways. HHRF is providing the scientific research to show how this connection can be used to help people in many ways and to therapy with horses become more accessible to those who need it."
Maureen MacNamara, MSW, PhD, Boone, NC - Treasurer
Maureen earned a BS degree in Animal Science from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in Social Work from Columbia University and completed a Ph.D. in Social Work from University of Denver. She was one of the first women licensed as a trainer for the United States Trotting Association and has trained and competed in harness racing, hunter/jumper, and pleasure driving events.
In Maureen’s early career she served as the Vice President of Programs for Delta Society where she developed the organization’s focal program Pet Partners. She guided the development of national programs in animal-assisted therapy, support for people with disabilities and service animals and the importance of pets to positive human development, wellness and health. She has served as a founding Board member for organizations such as the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals, the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association, and MnLYNC.
Currently, Maureen is assistant professor of community and human service management social work practice, consultant in human-animal relationships and animal-assisted interventions (AAI), whose work focuses on inter-professional relationships in organizational learning and change strategies, non-profit service development and evaluation, and factors influencing development and implementation of AAIs.
“Horses have been human’s historical partners, taking us places beyond our sole capacity. Through the work of HHRF we can discover the ways that the horse –human partnership can continue to aid us in surmounting life challenges and burdens.”
Patricia Ochman, B.C.L., LL.B., Hudson, OH - Secretary
Patricia Ochman was a lawyer in Canada. She received her B.C.L. and LL.B. law degrees from McGill University, Canada and studied at the Vermont Law School and at the University of Lapland, Finland. Ochman where she worked for nine years at O’Reilly & Associés, a Montreal law firm specializing in indigenous law. She also completed an internship at the U.N. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and has been a researcher at the Northern Institute for Environmental and Minority Law (NIEM / Arctic Center) in Rovaniemi, Finland. Ochman’s practice focuses on indigenous law, rights and interests and natural resource development law in Canada and other regions of the North, and her professional interests include minority rights issues.
After spending her teen years jogging Standardbred trotters and pacers, Ochman now spends most of her free time trail riding in the Green Mountains of Vermont with her Icelandic Horse Léttfeti and other Icelandic Horses, as well as driving and riding Morgans, Saddlebreds and Friesians in the saddle seat style, in Vermont and in Kentucky.
“Horses compelled me to overcome my fears, push my limits, build my self-confidence and discover my deepest core. They helped me in my daily life and in my interactions with others. It is important to me that others, especially those who need it most, have the opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with a wonderful horse, simply because horses encourage us to be honest with ourselves, without ever judging us. They just gently and patiently teach us to be the best that we can be. HHRF’s work helps make such relationships between horses and humans more accessible.”
Michael Richardson, Hico, TX
Michael Richardson's credentials and experience can best be summarized by the example he has set with his own life after a jeep accident left him a paraplegic in his early 20's. For the past 30 years, Michael has committed his life to the development of horses and to sharing the lessons he has learned by overcoming the most difficult of challenges and adapting to new circumstances with a positive attitude.
In small group clinics and individual lessons, Michael draws from a broad base of experience in Fox Hunting, Eventing, Dressage and Jumping and then learning to ride again after his injury. His unique approach to working with horses and people allows achievement of more with less force and stress and provides the perfect focal point for students to take their horse and life skills to the next level. He excels as an instructor by observing the nuances and feel of the horses and by helping the horse (and human) with their mind.
Lynn Shaw, Aurora, OH
Lynn Shaw received her BA from Middlebury College and MA from Boston College in Sociology/Education. Before retiring she was the Executive Director of Business Advisers of Cleveland for seven years. Lynn worked professionally with social service organizations and was involved with management of nonprofits for over 20 years, including at the United Way Services. Lynn has volunteered in multiple programs serving a variety of disabled populations and continues to find ways she can help others. Lynn has three children and lives with her husband and mentor, Russ, in Aurora, OH where she enjoys her family, friends and her passion for horses.
“I see HHRF as a window of opportunity for me to help support innovative and valuable research efforts that will prove the undisputed benefits of therapeutic riding programs for vulnerable children and adults.”
Molly Sweeney, Hockley, TX - Emeritus, non-voting member
Molly Sweeney is founder of the Horses and Human Research Foundation. She is originally from Cleveland, Ohio, where she was blessed to grow up with horses in her life. Molly became involved with Equine Assisted Activities in 1990, when she started volunteering for SIRE. Molly has been a volunteer at SIRE for almost 20 years and has also served multiple terms as their board president. She served on the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International Board from 1996 to 2002. Molly says she is not a researcher herself, but has never outgrown that childhood phase where one is always asking, “But WHY?”
C. Mike Tomlinson, DVM, MBA, Thousand Oaks, CA - President
Dr. Mike Tomlinson became an avid horseperson in the fifth grade. From that point on, his life has been focused on horses. Mike earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from the University of California at Davis. The first job after picking up his diploma was working at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He had a performance horse practice until returning from the Stockholm World Equestrian Games, when several of his best clients explained that he cannot be gone for six weeks straight for the events – he had to choose between traditional veterinary practice and doing the big events. It was clear which way he was to go. So it was back to school, this time earning his Masters of Business Administration (MBA). Since then, Mike has been a C-level executive of several corporations, continuing today as the CEO, COO and/or Board Member of several multinational corporations. He has been extremely active in para equestrian sports since 2000 including helping found the US Para Equestrian Association in 2010 and being an executive board member since then. He is very active in sport governance having been on the USEF board for 12 years and still very active with several equestrian sport organizations.
Dr. Mike has been Chef d’Equipe for the USET Endurance Team and the USET Team Vet for numerous competitions including three World Equestrian Games. He is a FEI Vet for Dressage, Endurance, Eventing, Vaulting, Para Equestrian, and Jumping, a FEI Steward, and is a FEI ‘O’ Judge, Course Designer and Technical Delegate in Endurance. Dr. Mike lives in Southern California where he can enjoy riding year ‘round. Last year Mike taught FEI Officials’ courses and officiated at over 20 FEI 3, 4 and 5 star events in countries all around the globe.
“I am a believer - I know positively that horses facilitate an accelerated path to healing and personal progress. What a thrill to support research that encourages the world to make it more accessible."
We extend our sincerest gratitude to past board members who have encouraged and guided HHRF's mission though out our history:
Patti Kortkamp - 2002
Jane Fitzpatrick- 2005
Marge Kittredge- 2005*
Octavia Brown- 2007
Alan Young- 2007
Michael Kaufmann- 2008
Renee Taylor- 2009
Tess Schmalbach- 2009
Jim Smith- 2009
Susan Harding- 2009
Robert Crump, J.D.- 2012*
Leslie Williams- 2014
Pam Milner- 2015*
Judith Lightfoot- 2015
Joanne Hart- 2015
Cynthia Ruiz- 2015
Stacey Yalenti- 2016
Larry D. Pence - 2016
Alison Zack Darrell - 2016
Paul T. Haefner - 2017
Lynn Shaw - 2017