Congratulations to the following individuals (in alphabetical order) who are now certified as Masterson Method Equine Specialists!

Photo of Linda AllenLinda Allen

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
lallenclassicaldressage@gmail.com
(Indianola, IA)

I have loved and been involved with horses all of my life. It started with trail riding and eventually moved to riding hunter jumpers and to managing a hunter jumper boarding barn. Along this journey I began adding dressage techniques as I continued to explore horsemanship and riding. I picked up several horses off the track and began a career of retraining and selling OTTBS (off- the-track Thoroughbreds). I also had many riding students which I took to the local schooling and rated shows. As I grew more involved with horses and people, I began seeking answers to my growing list of questions I had about horses. I became aware of a different kind of horsemanship when I met Harry Whitney, a clinician, about 20 years ago. This was a turning point in my life, as I became aware of being with the horse in a different way than I had ever been. Since that time I have hosted and attended clinics by Harry Whitney, by Kathleen Lindley Beckham, as well as other clinicians. I have certified with PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) as a therapeutic riding instructor approximately 10 and a half years ago. And I’ve free-lanced at several locations including my own barn as a therapeutic instructor I have been pursuing unmounted work and have had some involvement with Faith Based EAL (Equine Assisted Learning). I became aware of the Masterson Method Bodywork through a new friend from church that is a certified practitioner. I asked if she could come look at one of my horses. I had purchased this horse from Wildwood Hills Ranch where she had been used as a therapy horse for several years. Within a few months of bringing her home to my barn I noticed, even though she appeared sound, that she was uncomfortable. This was my first time of seeing the Masterson Method Bodywork, and from my horse’s reaction, I knew I had to learn more. As I researched the Masterson Method and read about the MMES (Masterson Method Equine Specialist), I felt this was a good fit. I am excited to incorporate the MMES techniques working with individuals and the horse. This is a program that gives back to the horse with which we all have the opportunity to learn along the way.

Photo of Tricia BoydTricia Boyd

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
t2getfit@comcast.net
(Bolingbrook, IL)

Tricia Boyd is a lifelong Chicago area resident who began riding at Oakbrook Stables in her teens. Wanting to pursue a career in the equine field, she attended William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri where she was able to gain valuable experience in stable management, riding instruction, and horsemanship. In 2013 Tricia became a certified PATH International Instructor and has developed both mounted and unmounted curriculum for PATH Int’l participants to encourage a deeper understanding and connection between horse and rider. Attending her first Masterson Method Beyond Horse Massage seminar in 2017, Tricia saw the value the Masterson Method could add to her curriculum and the benefits it would bring her riders. Tricia is looking forward to sharing this work with as many horses and people she can.

Photo of Mary Kay BurkartMary Kay Burkhart

Masterson Method Certified Practitioner
Masterson Method Equine Specialist
Rebound Equine Bodywork, LLC
mkburkart@aol.com
(Berryville, VA)

When Mary Kay discovered the Masterson Method and observed the remarkable changes and improvements in her horses’ movement, range of motion, performance, recovery and well-being, she immediately undertook the Masterson Method Certification as a professional equine bodyworker. Completing the Masterson Case Studies opened a door into the diverse, thriving world of horses in Therapeutic settings. Volunteer work on, with, and for the horses in numerous community programs offered at Loudoun Therapeutic Riding in Leesburg, Virginia was enriching and inspiring. As one of the oldest and largest facilities in Virginia, Mary Kay describes LTR as “a prime example of another dedicated group of talented professionals fully committed to meeting the needs of their community, and serving the greater good.” To that end, she participated in the first Masterson Method Pilot Course developed and given by senior Masterson Method Instructors in 2015 who explored and refined a future, additional Certification of Masterson Method Equine Specialist (MMES), specifically designed for use in Therapeutic settings, and emphasizing the importance and significance of ‘giving back’ to the horse. In addition, Mary Kay attended a Workshop developed by Natural Horsemen (and MMCPs!) Mark and Chrissy Rashid, designed especially for MMCPs and Students interested in bringing the many benefits of Aikido Martial Arts to the practice of Equine Bodywork and Horsemanship as well. Mary Kay wishes to express her appreciation and admiration to each and everyone in the Masterson Method organization for their outstanding professional Programs, Seminars, and Mentorships, and the dedication, inspiration, generosity and integrity they instill in service to horses and the people who care for them.

Photo of Natalie ConcaNatalie Conca

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
natalie@leadchangestherapy.com
(Midlothian, VA)

Natalie Conca, CTRS, ATRIC, Advanced PATH Int’l Instructor, and now MMES, is a board certified Recreation Therapist and Consultant specializing in community inclusion for special populations. She utilizes over 10 specialty certificates in the aquatic therapy industry and has nearly 20 years of experience as a recreation therapist managing staff and treating clients in her multidisciplinary private practice, Lead Changes Therapy Services, Inc. Natalie is vice president of the Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia, is currently on the faculty for the Aquatic Therapy & Rehabilitation Institute, and served on the staff at Loudoun Therapeutic Riding in Leesburg, VA for 14 years. She rides and competes dressage at Oakdale Equestrian Center in Powhatan, Virginia. In 2019, Natalie obtained her Masterson Method Equine Specialist (MMES) certification. She was inspired to take this journey after attending a demonstration at Morven Park by Mary Kay Burkhart, a Masterson Method Certified Practitioner and Equine Specialist. She loved every minute spent pursuing Masterson Method both with the Masterson Method Team and the horses from many backgrounds that continued to amaze. Her goal is to use her certification as a way to give back some love to therapy horses everywhere, assist therapeutic horsemanship centers in keeping their therapy herds healthy and happy, and to help individuals with special needs benefit from the bond a horse can offer through touch and patience. In addition, she plans to assist with Jim Masterson’s goal of introducing the bladder meridian technique to as many horses and humans as possible so that we can all learn how to speak the horse’s language better.

Photo of Tracy DesiderioTracy Desiderio

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
sgtdesi@gmail.com
(Colorado Springs, CO)

I first became involved with horses in 2000 when I became a Mounted Police Officer for an agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. We worked our horses hard and they took on a lot of stress. I later became a Detective and Investigations Sergeant, where I felt the stresses which were placed on officers, families, victims and dispatchers. Much of this stress led me to go back to working with horses when I retired in 2017. I moved to Colorado and found a home as a volunteer with StableStrides. I began to see how the horses could help so many people. And, like I saw with the police horses, the therapy horses took on much of the stress from their clients. I met MMES Jen Sweere at StableStrides and she introduced me to The Masterson Method. I saw first-hand how Jen was helping our therapy herd and I became interested in it myself. My first step was to become a PATH International certified Equine Specialist, then I decided to work on my MMES certification. With everything I’m learning my goal is to help first responders (human and equine alike) deal with their stress through equine therapy and The Masterson Method.

Photo of Megan DushinMegan Dushin

Masterson Method Certified Practitioner
Masterson Method Equine Specialist
Megan Dushin Equine Bodywork, LLC
megan@megandushin.com
(St. Paul, MN)

Megan grew up on a horse farm in New York and learned much about living and working with horses through her mother, the commissioner of their area US Pony Club. She loved training, competing, teaching and coaching in her childhood and teen years—helping both horses and their riders find connection. After a 25 year hiatus—filled with raising a family and deepening her understanding of body- and movement-based therapies—she came upon The Masterson Method® and its use in equine-assisted learning and therapy programs. Having volunteered in several EAL/EFP programs and worked with people with disabilities in residential and school settings, this application of The Masterson Method was what drew her in. She then pursued her certification as a Masterson Method practitioner, followed by her certification as a Masterson Method equine specialist. Megan’s goal as a bodywork practitioner is to listen to horses and release any underlying physical issues to improve performance and well-being. As an equine specialist, she enjoys fostering awareness and the deep connection people find with horses through learning how to give back with The Masterson Method. Megan continues to enjoy practicing mindfulness and body awareness and weaves that focus into all of her work with horses, whether partnering with an EAL/EFP program to lead bodywork sessions or providing a Masterson Method equine bodywork service to horses. “Frankly,” she says, “I have to pinch myself every morning because being on this path is almost too good to be true!”

Naomi HarpestadNaomi Harpestad

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
naomiharpestad@gmail.com
(Mayville, ND)

I was very fortunate to have been raised on a farm in rural North Dakota.  I was the youngest of 6 and was riding on a pony with my sisters before I could walk.  My memories growing up are of spending days in our pastures with our horses.  We had a herd of over 40 at times.  We raised Arabians and had 4-5 foals each Spring.  Along with my sisters, I would work with the young foals.  We would do our best to teach them the basics of being handled, leading and being tied.  Looking back, I realize they really taught us the basics.  We also had many riding horses.  We rode for pleasure, around our small town and rural roads.  It was a very good way to grow up. I am also lucky to be married to my high school sweetheart for 31 years.  We have raised three boys and have kept horses in our lives.  Our middle son was born with special needs.  It was during his younger years, when he wanted to ride, that I began to see horses in a new way.  The Arabian gelding that would prance and dance when I rode him, was quiet and soft when our son was near.  That same gelding became his riding horse.  This opened my eyes to a new level of connection that horses offer. When I talk to friends or people I meet about my love of horses, they either tell me they love horses too – or they tell a story of a horrible horse experience.  It has become my goal, with my son and our herd of seven horses & one pony, to bring a positive horse experience to others.  There is a group of students from the area alternative school (children with special needs) that come out weekly to be with our horses as well as other friends and family that come often to get some horse time. I discovered The Masterson Method when one of our geldings started having back issues.  I found videos of Jim doing The Masterson Method online and knew I needed to go to the clinic!   My son and I went to that first Masterson clinic together.  He has gained so much confidence when his horse responds to his touch it is truly priceless. The MMES training for me fits right into what we are doing and what we can offer other equine therapy programs!  What a great way to teach others, all ages and abilities, how they can so softly connect with a horse and help them release tension.  On a side note, in my life as a fitness instructor, I use the MM concept when I am teaching classes!  Now more than ever I cue to “pause & breathe” and “less can be more”!  It is good for humans to “stay and wait for the release” too! As for my horse life, my goals have grown.  Along with providing a place for humans to have a positive horse experience, I want every horse to have a positive human experience!  Masterson Method teaches us just that.  Thank you to MMES program (especially to Lise Lunde) for the training that allows us to spread this gift to the horses who give so much to all of us.

Cortney Honey

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
little_cortney@yahoo.ca
(Ottawa, ONT, Canada)

Cortney was born and raised on a dairy farm. Her family has always had horses so she was able to experience them, as well and many other animals, from a very young age. After her family sold the dairy cattle she became more involved with horses. She sees and feels so many benefits these wonderful creatures can bring into our lives and strives to share this with others. Cortney enjoys training and giving presentations. Throughout her career at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, she has worked with many unique individuals on some very interesting files. She feels fortunate for this experience as well as having had the chance to develop herself as a trainer specializing in Tactical Communications. In her private life, she enjoys teaching horsemanship and equine-assisted learning activities while taking every opportunity she can to continue to grow and learn. From the day she was introduced to The Masterson Method she knew it was something very special for horse people and non-horse people alike to enjoy. She feels it ties many things together from her past and draws bits and pieces of things well worth sharing that she has observed and experienced. She feels a strong link to horsemanship, overall wellbeing, and equine-assisted learning. Cortney is looking forward to sharing some of her knowledge and experience in The Masterson Method with others in the equine-assisted learning setting so they can go on to experience and share this wonderful gift themselves.

Kelly Jefferson PhotoKelly Jefferson

Masterson Method Certified Practitioner
Masterson Method Equine Specialist
kj.dj@suddenlink.net
(Austin, TX)  

Following a 20 year detour, I am so grateful that I found a path back in to the horse world.  I now spend my time volunteering at therapy barns, doing Masterson Method equine bodywork for clients, and riding my heart-horse Strider.  From the day I discovered Masterson Method, the trajectory of my life changed in a whole new direction. I’m certain my clients’ horses are happy as well.  I am honored and amazed by the spirit and kindness of horses — their ability to connect and heal is endless.  During my Masterson Method certification fieldwork, I knew there was something going on with Masterson Method that transcended “bodywork”.  If you’ve done the Bladder Meridian, then you know what I’m talking about. I always wanted to somehow combine Masterson Method bodywork and equine therapy, but I didn’t know how.  Naturally, when I heard about the new Masterson Method Equine Specialist certification, I jumped on it. I honestly did not sleep the first night, my mind spinning with excitement. I recently completed The Masterson Method Equine Specialist certification and I am so excited to spread the word. I am fortunate to make the barn my office, and horses my clients.  I could not be happier.

Photo of Jody KlingmanJody Klingman

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
jodyklingman@gmail.com
(Oelwein, IA)

I grew up on a farm in NE Iowa where my journey with horses began. We had 4 quarter horses that I spent a lot of time with as a child and developed a lifelong love for these animals. I grew up, married and had a child of my own. My career was in healthcare and I spent 15 years working in a Mental Health Facility as a caregiver. I never forgot the horses that I loved as a child and felt called to find a path back to horses. I began volunteering for a nonprofit horse organization Chiron Inc. in 2017. Working with the horses has had a profound impact on my life, and my journey in personal development. I have also witnessed the positive impact it has had on the lives of others. Horses are natural healers, they give so much. I wanted to find a way to give back to them and that is when I discovered the Masterson Method. I took my first weekend seminar in 2018 and have practiced on our herd at Chiron. The herd at Chiron Inc. has not only benefited physically but has benefited from the connection and communication that this method offers. I will be incorporating the MMES in to our programming at Chiron Inc. to help as many horses and people as I can.

Photo of Teresa Pool, Masterson Method Certified Equine Specialist

Teresa Pool

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
Transitions for Business Equine-Facilitated Coaching
teresa@transitionsforbusiness.com
(Dallas, TX)  

I came to horses late in life after hitting a personal and professional plateau in my long career as a transition and leadership coach.  I felt challenged to offer more meaningful and profound growth experiences to my clients.  Coaching with horses was gaining momentum so I jumped on board and left my plateau behind. Through equine-facilitated learning sessions, the horse became the coach and magical things happened.  In 2014 I found my tribe at Solace Equine Center where we partner with addiction centers to work with adults in rehab and share that magic with them during their healing process.  No two sessions are the same and the horses somehow know to bring the perfect lesson to each person.  I have always been drawn to giving back the gift of healing to our horses and found The Masterson Method to be the perfect tool.  There is always a queue waiting for me at the barn!  We have also incorporated the MMES approach into our work with clients so they can be part of the powerful giving/receiving cycle.  It has become one of the favorite programs for both humans and horses.

Photo of Dawn RickDawn Rick

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
midwestgirliowa@gmail.com
(Sherrill, IA)  

My horse story starts when I was eight years old, with my calf Pokey and I jumping hay bales together, followed by my first horse purchase, Buck, when I was in fifth grade – using the money I saved working on our family farm.  In 2001 the direction of my life changed drastically when I had a conversion experience with Jesus Christ.  Soon after, I heard the story of Kim Meeder, who started Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch for at-risk kids. I was hooked on the idea of therapeutic riding. With it, I found a way to share my love of horses with other people.  In 2012 I received PATH’s Registered Riding Instructor certification. Shortly thereafter, we started a ministry working with a small group of volunteers and participants at our property near Sherrill, Iowa. This past summer, my veterinarian recommended that I check into The Masterson Method to see if it could help my horse with an unexplained soundness issue. After treatments, my husband and I were amazed at the responses, improved movement and attitude of my horse, Job. So the story continues with another piece of the puzzle put into place with The Masterson Method Equine Specialist certification. Our horses work hard for us, both physically and mentally, and they deserve the best that we can do for them. So it is really exciting to get started, helping therapy center horses and their participants.

JenniferSweere

Jennifer Sweere

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
PATH Int’l Equine Specialist for Mental Health
jenben8@msn.com
(Palmer Lake, CO)

Jennifer has always loved horses, but it took awhile to take the step to have them be a part of her life. She decided, during a crucial growing time, to say, “Yes” to many things in life and horses were one of the most influential of those choices. She began volunteering at Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center in Elbert, CO in August of 2014. She loves everything about the time she spends there. She learned her horse know-how from so many of the people (and horses!) there. There have been many life opportunities that have grown out of that initial decision to live life to the fullest. She loves all the ways a horse can help a human, but most especially, in the area of psychotherapy and learning. For her, a turning point, an arrow of direction, happened when she was taking the PATH International Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning workshop. The instructor posed the question of, when the horses have done their jobs for us, “How can we restore them?” That resonated with what Jennifer wishes to accomplish with her life… to heal, to restore. The Masterson Method helps us help the horse. When the Equine Specialist part of The Masterson Method was proposed, Jennifer was on board right away. It is a wonderful way to teach people to give back to the animals that give so very much of themselves to us. A side note (that is anything but a side note!) is that Jennifer adopted a retired therapy horse, a 24-year-old Paint named Lito, from the riding center she volunteers at and now also works at as an ESMHL instructor.

Photo of Liz Williams

Liz Williams

Masterson Method Equine Specialist
liz@collaborationzone.com
(Alameda, CA)

I was a horse-crazy kid, longing for the connection with a horse that I’d read about in books.  My mare and I had our moments, but they were nothing like what I saw Jim Masterson achieve.  I wanted that connection with a horse and I wanted to share it with others, so I jumped at the chance to be certified as an Equine Specialist. Soon after, I added the Masterson Method® Bladder Meridian Technique to the therapeutic facilitation curriculum I was developing for Connected Horse, an equine-guided program for persons with dementia and their care partners. It has been a joy to see what giving back to the horses does for Connected Horse participants. It is remarkable to see how speaking the horse’s language helps humans to connect with each other. I look forward to bringing that connection to more horses and humans.