Director of Programs & Instruction
Melanie has had a life-long passion for horses and riding. She grew up riding hunter/jumpers on the east coast, and as a teenager competed in junior hunter, junior jumper, and 3'6 equitation classes. Throughout college and graduate school, she continued to pursue her interest in horses by teaching riding lessons and exercising and showing clients' horses. During this time, she was also introduced to therapeutic riding and began volunteering as a sidewalker and horse handler at several centers throughout the country. After eight years of nonprofit fundraising and satiating her horse need with weekends at the barn, she decided to change her career and pursue horses full-time. In 2010, Melanie received her PATH International certification and began teaching therapeutic riding at Freedom Woods Equestrian Center in Chicago. In 2012, she moved to Tucson to join TROT as an instructor and equine training coordinator. In her lessons, Melanie works hard to ensure riders understand the fundamentals of riding; feel safe with their horse and their team; and enjoy themselves. Within this safe and fun environment, her students learn confidence and problem-solving, and they advance to become as independent on the horse as possible. Melanie thoroughly enjoys the work she does and feels that her students benefit from her interest and passion.
Growing up in Alabama, horses were the focal point of Carolyn life, including pony club and eventing. She migrated to Arizona for college and later worked as a sign language interpreter, paralegal, and fitness coach before finally finding her dream job at TROT where her passion truly lies.
Cathy retired as a customer service rep for a printing company in Boston 8 years ago and moved to sunny Tucson. After searching for the perfect volunteer opportunity she found it here at TROT. She was a side walker for 3 years and also a member of the training team so when the job as volunteer recruiter came up, the decision and transition was easy. I will be supporting and increasing the volunteer pool that we already have as well as spreading the word about this great place.
Licensed Physical Therapist, Lead Therapist for TROT Therapy Services
Kristen has been a pediatric-based therapist for nearly 15 years. She has extensive experience with evaluating and treating children and adolescents with a variety of diagnoses and needs. She has been working with Trot for 3 years and is now a Hippotherapy Certified Specialist. Both Kristen and TROT are certified by the American Hippotherapy Association. Kristen enjoys working with the clients in the natural environment at Trot and using the outdoor facility to challenge them. She focuses on providing comprehensive, patient and family-centered therapy that the patients enjoy participating in.
Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Equine Specialist
Sierra has been in the presence of horses all of her life and has witnessed their healing powers. She holds an advanced therapeutic riding certification from PATH and views horses as barometers that provide feedback to allow humans to explore the mind, body, spirit and emotion. Sierra is also an iRest Yoga Nidra and LifeForce Yoga Practitioner and trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR). Her office is the beauty that is all around and the horses are her co-therapists. Horses live in the present moment and teach non-verbal communication, life skills, new behaviors, teamwork, empathy, and so much more. It is through their partnership that she is able to guide people on their journey.
Sarah brings to TROT more than 13 years’ experience with nonprofit organizations, working with state, federal and international agencies to advance health services for underserved peoples of Latin America and communities on the US/Mexico border in Arizona. She relocated to Tucson from Washington D.C. in 2006, where she had worked for the World Health Organization. She holds a B.A from the University of Idaho and an M.A. from the University of Connecticut.
Denise became involved with Trot by volunteering as a horse handle and side walker in 1983. She is a NARHA certified therapeutic riding instructor and a special education teacher in the Sunnyside School District. She is thrilled that she has been able to provide my classroom students with the opportunity to ride at TROT for the past 15 years.
Instructor and Equine Health Coordinator
Lauren is a PATH International Certified Riding Instructor and Equine Health Coordinator. Lauren has had a life-long passion for horses and riding. She also brings to TROT more than 12 years’ professional experience with nonprofit organizations, working in public health, advocacy, and leadership development in the U.S. and Zambia. She holds a B.A. from St. Andrews Presbyterian University and an M.P.H. in Health Behavior/Health Promotion from the University of Arizona.
Kaitlin resides on the grounds and oversees TROT’s 18-acre property. She is responsible for the daily care and well-being of the TROT herd, and is an integral part of TROT’s organizational leadership team. Kaitlin continues to pursue her studies in Veterinary Science.