Our Team

WE ARE A GROUP OF DEDICATED PEOPLE AND HORSES COMMITTED TO CREATING A CULTURE OF CONNECTION

EquiShui is made up of dedicated and compassionate  people who are committed to the belief that we can create a culture of connection through transformational equine therapy and other experiential programs.

MEET THE STAFF

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JIMMY DOWNES

Advanced certified EAGALA trainer

Jimmy is the founder of Relatively Stable, LLC providing EAGALA model equine therapy on his farm in Sandy Hook, CT. He has owned horses for the last 27 and has provided horse care and was a trail guide at Green Chimneys in Brewster, NY.  

 

Last year he introduced the EAGALA model to the Military Wellness Program at Holliswood Psychiatric Hospital as well as for the substance abuse clients at Arms Acres Treatment Facility.  At EquiShui, he is the main EAGALA trainer that facilitates Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) activities.

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VICKI L. SMITH

EAGALA Advanced Certified Mental Health Counselor/Equine Specialist

Vicki is an EAGALA Advanced Certified Mental Health Counselor/Equine Specialist at Relatively Stable as well as a certified Meditation Instructor and Reiki Master who utilizes horses in practice to help facilitate positive change, balance, peace, and healing.

 

She is also trained in other trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy modalities. At EquiShui, Vicki partners with Jimmy to facilitate Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) sessions and Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) activities. Her goal is to expand her knowledge in other methods of holistic healing so that she can bring a holistic healing approach to mental health and learning to my community. 

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KAREN L. ARTHUR

LCSW, BCD

Karen L. Arthur is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice for over 20 years.  She is an EMDR therapist and consultant, also trained in EFT (tapping), Ericksonian Hypnosis, Thought Field Therapy, Psychosynthesis, and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, as well as the main psychotherapeutic approaches.

 

She has studied extensively in mind-body healing therapies including shiatsu, martial arts, yoga, meditation, and contemplative care of the dying. She teaches yoga in the Sivananda tradition and conducts workshops on EFT.Ms. Arthur combines her passion for both horses and psychotherapy as an EAGALA certified mental health practitioner.  She strongly believes in the therapeutic presence of horses to help humans heal. She has a general practice with specialties in trauma, anxiety, grief, stress and sports performance enhancement. At EquiShui, she leads our Equine meditations and children programs.

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MORGAN LAVELLE

Equine Specialist

Morgan is an equine specialist and has worked with horses for over 20 years. She got on her first horse when she was three and started taking serious lessons when she was 10. 

 

She worked as the head client groom for an Equestrian Olympian for a year and in the past has taken part in jumping competitions like Hunter jumper. She loves horses and provides loving compassionate care to our healers and other horses (16 total). She also facilitates equine assisted leaning activities as part of our children and teens program. 

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KIRSTEN REISTER

International HorseTrainer & Clinician

Kirsten Reister is an international  horse trainer and clinician. She is also the proud owner of POSITIVE WAY HORSEMANSHIP, LLC. that provides horse boarding and training services as well as teaching people natural horsemanship.

Kirsten has been in love with and riding horses since she was 2 years old and her mission is to enlighten people on the highest of partnership that can be achieved with horses. she works with horses and people alike and instills the groundwork to develop a solid communication.

She does not teach the sport of riding. She teaches connection. She teaches riding skills while stimulating the horse/human connection. At EquiShui, she leads our therapeutic horsemanship lessons.

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CHRISTOPHER CIESZKO

Recreational Therapist

Christopher is a recreational therapist and his passion is working with children. In the past he has worked with special needs children and at risk children from the Children's Village Programs.

While he is not teaching children, he helps to take care of the horses and also facilitates portions of our Children & Teens program.

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NING TENDO

Program Director

Ning has over 8 years of experience as a digital Transformation consultant at Deloitte Digital. She has experience working on large scale global implementations spanning all phases of the Software Development Life Cycle as well as the project management space. At Equishui, Ning manages and directs programming and supports fundraising activities.


Ning also has an M.A from Columbia University in clinical psychology with a concentration in the spirit mind body connection. She has also trained in conscious breathing and has been training as a spiritual healer with world renown spiritual healer Ron Young for some years.

 

MEET THE HEALERS

At Equishui, we are blessed to have stable full of healers who are passionate about helping people heal. Their gentle spirits and calm manners provide a welcoming environment for people coming to our farm to heal their minds, inspire their hearts and  reconnect to themselves, others and the world.

Meet our equine healers below! All of our ponies are wonderful happy boys and girls and are thrilled to be in the EquiShui program.
Little Bit

Little Bit

Little Bit is the matriarch of the bunch at 23. She is a cute Paint who loves doing tricks. She is the resident circus pony that loves to entertain the children. Fun Fact : Little Bit's mother, Misty, was purchased at an auction and Little Bit was born 2 days later much to everyone’s surprise!

Hunter

Hunter

Hunter is a 10 year old Arabian/Shetland cross. He is a bubbly ball of personality. He is skilled at teaching people how to build relationships because of his kind and honest personality. He is very communicative and if you are not doing it right, he tells you. He loves teaching people the language of horses and how to treat every living being with respect

Little Matias

Little Matias

Little Matias is a 12 year old Chincoteague pony from Assateague Island in the states of VA and MD. He is good with kids with special needs because he is a fabulous mirror of emotional states. Fun Fact: Every year, the Chincoteague ponies swim across the Assateague Channel from Assateague Island (where they live all year) to Chincoteague Island for an auction hosted by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. Little Matias made the swim to come to us.

Belle

Belle

Belle is a 9 year old Connemara pony. She is very gentle and has the sweetest disposition. Piper and her are best friends and you can't see one without the other. Fun Fact: In her previous life, she was a show pony in children's competitions and was donated when her previous owner grew older and could no longer ride her.

Piper

Piper

Piper is a 9 year old Arabian with a bit of a feisty side. She loves working with children and is really able to match their energy at the same time nurture them. Her best friend is Belle and you can usually see them hanging out together in the paddocks.

Sunny

Sunny

Sunny is a beautiful 20 year old Welsh pony who spent her life as a show pony and a school pony teaching young children to ride. She loves children in particular and is always a favorite among them. Fun Fact: She loves having a fan club!