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."
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.”
Patricia Ochman, B.C.L., LL.B., Hudson, OH - Secretary
Patricia Ochman practices law at Jones Day in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her J.D. from the University of Akron and her B.C.L. and LL.B. law degrees from McGill University, Canada. She has also studied at the Vermont Law School and at the University of Lapland, Finland. Prior to joining Jones Day, Patricia Ochman practiced law in Montreal, Canada, where she focused on litigation, indigenous law, constitutional law, and natural resource law.
After spending her teen years jogging Standardbred trotters and pacers, Patricia Ochman now spends most of her free time with her Icelandic horse. She also enjoys saddleseat riding and driving.
“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."
Sally Lehnhardt, Treasurer
Sally recently retired as 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."
Leif Hallberg, MA, LPC, LCPC
Leif Hallberg, MA, LPC, LCPC, is an internationally recognized author, consultant, licensed mental health professional, educator, and avid lover of nature and animals. As a horseback riding instructor and horse trainer turned mental health professional and educator, Leif relies both upon practical equine knowledge and her clinical expertise to guide her understanding of the horse-human relationship.
Leif’s professional career and life’s work have centered around researching the human-equine bond, and studying the industry of equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT). As a leading expert, innovator, and pioneer, she has developed a reputation over the past 20 years for her broad-reaching and objective study of the industry and dissemination of information. Her books are used by colleges and universities around the world as teaching texts, and professionals consider them essential resources for research and clinical practice.
“Including horses in human healthcare is emerging as an increasingly popular therapeutic approach. And although most who experience equine-assisted activities or therapies can attest to the healing qualities found in coming to the farm, spending time in nature, and being around animals, there is much we don’t know about what happens when horses and humans come together for human wellbeing. I believe the work of HHRF is critical to the advancement of this knowledge, and I am proud to do whatever I can to help in this endeavor.”
Evelyn McKelvie is a certified Executive Coach, speaker, and author who specializes in working with teams and individuals who want to create better ways of relating in the workplace and overcome barriers to performance effectiveness.
Before devoting herself full time to her current role as Founder of Equine Coach, Evelyn worked for many years in leadership positions in large, medium, and small, most recently as a senior manager for IT at the University of British Columbia.
Evelyn has developed a unique coaching modality which includes working with the aid of horses as co-coaches. Incorporating principles from neuroscience and emotional intelligence. Evelyn has a degree in Music from the University of British Columbia (1994), a Graduate Certificate in Executive Coaching from Royal Roads University (2008), a diploma in Computer Programming (2000) and is certified to administer Emotional Intelligence assessments (EQ-I, 2009). Evelyn is also a certified horse trainer with many years of experience working with many horses.
“It has been my privilege to meet and work with many horses over the last 20 years. They have taught me things that no human could. They inspire me to continue to work with and for them and to always seek to be the best person I can be.”
Dr. Nancy Waite-O'Brien
Dr. Nancy Waite-O’Brien is a psychologist, educator and author with over 30 years of experience in addiction treatment both in the United States and in the Caribbean. In 2004, she was named one of the sixty most influential women in the field of addiction treatment by Counselor Magazine. She has co-authored texts on adolescent treatment and on women’s treatment, taught at Chapman University in Palm Desert, California; was adjunct faculty in the Equine Assisted Mental Health concentration of the Counseling Psychology department at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona and published research on shame and depression in early recovery. Dr. Waite-O'Brien was associated with the Betty Ford Center for 18 years and in that capacity, oversaw clinical services and training for that organization.
Currently she has a private practice in Rancho Mirage, California; provides Equine Assisted Therapy to clients of drug and alcohol treatment programs in Palm Springs, California; and is a consulting psychologist for the ABC Recovery Center. Her doctorate in psychology includes an emphasis in the treatment of addiction and she has specialized training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy, trauma treatment through Somatic Experiencing, hypnosis, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy(CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR),
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?”
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
Michael Richardson- 2017
Maureen MacNamara- 2017