We are Horse Warriors™
Spiritual warriors do no harm, inflict no pain, and cause no suffering. They work to set things right by good example...Warriorship for them in no way entails aggression on others; rather it means having integrity, being brave, and standing forthright but peacefully for all that supports life. Their war is for safety, sanity, and respect."
Stephen McFadden, Ancient Voices, Current Affairs: The Legend of the Rainbow Warriors
Horse Warriors™ is an equine based empowerment program serving people of all ages in a series of empowerment workshops. We are a national professional training center for people working in the field of Equine Facilitated Mental Health and Learning. We also offer a free program for those on the cancer journey, their caregivers, and their families.
Who can participate?
Anyone who needs our services!
What are the different programs?
• Power Ponies™: Parenting Programs provide structured, educational, encouraging equine facilitated empowerment for children ages 6-11. Students learn to teach and model safe, healthy development of personal boundaries, clear communication, creative self-expression, exploration of feelings, and positive interactions between themselves and their parents. Classes meet 5 days a week for 3 hours a day - sessions are 1 week long. Parents accompany their children 3 of the 5 days and work with their children and their horses. All family sessions are co-facilitated by licensed counselors, and equine sessions are taught by certified equine professionals.
• Mighty Mustangs™: Open to families with children ages 7-11 who have participated in a full season of Power Ponies™. Classes meet 5 days a week for 3 hours a day - sessions are 1 week long. Parents accompany their children 3 of the 5 days. Parent sessions are co-facilitated by a licensed therapist.
• Horse Warriors™: Open to youth ages 12-18. Students apply and are recommended to the program by a teacher, therapist, counselor, etc., who knows the student well. Programs run year round; students meet for 2 weeks during the summer, Monday-Friday, from 9am-4pm, and for monthly discussion/art groups during the academic year. All students do 30 hours of community service per year. Upper level students become mentors for the Power Ponies™ and Mighty Mustangs™ programs. Course includes relationship building, horsemanship, social skill development, art, creative writing, public speaking, and academic assistance. Parent involvement in programs is required, and parent/child activities are co-facilitated by a licensed family therapist.
• Women & Horses™: Open to women with an interest in horses. Course is 3 days long and meets from 9am - 5pm each day. Content includes relationship building, horsemanship, creative self-expression, riding, obstacle training, and trail riding. Suitable for riders of all levels - beginner to advanced.
• Horses of the Goddess™: Six-day (intensive) professional training for instructors and therapists. Content includes relationship building, curriculum development, integration of equine and mental health professionals in therapeutic programs, creativity projects for equine programs, mental health theory and practice, somatic experiencing, horsemanship, riding, and discussion.
• Cancer Kickers™: FREE programs for those on the cancer journey. The program contains elements of skill development, artistic sharing, camaraderie and positive, forward movement into beliefs and practices of seeing oneself as healed. Participants move towards a place of joy and discovery where they can be challenged by new experiences and succeed.
How does it happen?
Each student gets a horse during the summer months of the program. Groups are small and intimate, with personal and emotional safety maintained at all times. HW students meet one full day a week throughout the summer. Riding and horsemanship skills are taught progressively in an arena, and when students are safe and comfortable with their horses, we ride out on the trail. Days are spent (rain or shine) out in the backcountry.
Journaling is a key component of the program. All students receive instruction in art and creative writing; everyone has solo time during the lunch break for working in their journals and reflecting. After journaling, we have time for optional sharing of our work and observations with the group. Then we continue with our riding throughout the afternoon.
In the non-riding months of the year, participants meet monthly for day long retreats/discussion groups. Discussions are adult supervised but student driven. This gives students a forum for exploring ideas, problem solving and sharing experiences. Students who need academic help are given free tutoring from our broad base of volunteers. We use the model of "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz as a framework for coping with peer pressure, maintaining confidentiality and removing emotional charge from much of what is perceived through adolescent filters:
Be impeccable with your word
Don't take anything personally
Don't make assumptions
Always do your best
We teach young people skills that enable them to have a solid, appreciated, and recognized voice in the world by cultivating healthy and creative self-expression. We teach, model, and encourage the values of compassion, kindness, personal responsibility and accountability, volunteer involvement with community, and respect for the well-being of ourselves, our horses, and our environment.
Diamondfly Ranch is the home of the Horse Warriors™ residential retreats and equine professionals' training programs. With a bunkhouse, guest rooms in the main house, a 100' x 200' outdoor area, barn, tack room, and easy access to trails, it is a perfect place to relax and bask in the company of wonderful horses and like-minded horse enthusiasts.
OUR STAFF & BOARD
Priscilla Marden, CEIP-ED
PATH, Int'l. Certified Instructor; ESMHL
Priscilla is the co-founder of Horse Warriors™ and co-owner of Diamondfly Ranch. She teaches all phases of the programs. Priscilla is the former Co-Chair of the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals, a former board member of the Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association, and is a current member of PATH, Int'l. She volunteers with the Jackson Hole Citizen's Mounted Unit and is a professional illustrator and designer, spearheading our year-round arts program and HW curriculum. She has been trained by horses since the age of 8 and is wildly partial to Mustangs and Corgis.
Nancy Waite-O'Brien, CEIP-MH
PhD; SEP; Licensed Psychologist; Visiting Instructor
Dr. Nancy Waite-O'Brien is a psychologist, educator, and author with over 30 years of experience in addiction treatment both in the U.S. and in the Caribbean. In 2004, she was named one of sixty most influential women in the field of addiction treatment by Counselor Magazine. She is a frequent lecturer on issues related to women's treatment, taught at Chapman University in Palm Desert, Ca. 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 all clinical services and training. She is a former board and current advisory board member of the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals, as well as a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner.
Cheryl Renzulli, MA; LAT
Board President; Counselor
Cheryl, current President of the Board, has been a part of the Horse Warriors™ organization since 2002, when she and her son participated in Power Ponies™. Since then, she has pursued her passion for horses and developed her equine facilitated interaction skills through our Professionals' Training and Women & Horses workshops, and through volunteering with our parenting classes. Since 2016, she has helped facilitate our family programs and is indispensable to our communication skills development! She has her own counseling business, Grand Teton Counseling, and she lives in Jackson with her husband.
Grace has been riding with us as a student since she was 9 years old. Rising through the ranks (and ALL our various programs!) she has become an excellent mentor, and this year is the Co-Instructor for our Mighty Mustangs™ program. She has been part of our "Horse Trainers" team, helping introduce new horses into the program, utilizing her excellent patience, kindness and perseverance skills. We are grateful for her past experience and excellent work ethic!
Board Co-Secretary; Instructor
Corinne is a retired elementary school teacher with a focus on child development and reading. She is one of our art instructors, program mentors and arena staff, and helps care for the horses at the Diamondfly. She received the "Teacher Who Makes a Difference" award in 2015, and currently volunteers with the Star Valley Arts Council, in addition to her time at Horse Warriors™. Our students and horses appreciate her kind, positive and caring attention to their needs!
Board Treasurer; Facilities Manager
Brett is a watershed and forestry management consultant with a focus on forest protection and biomass-to-energy development. In addition, he has had careers in worldwide logistics management and Aerospace engineering. Brett helps maintain the facilities at the Diamondfly and cares for the horses. His expertise in fiscal management has significantly helped with our long-range planning and program sustainability. (He is a pushover when it comes to to equine begging, so he is a favorite with our herd!)
Lisa is Chief Operations Officer for Atmospheric Data Solutions, a family business founded in 2017. She has spent over 20 years in corporate finance, investor relations and private investments in various publicly traded and privately owned companies. After completing her degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), she worked for both international and regional banking institutions throughout Southern California. However, she considers herself an entrepreneur. She owned and operated The Flower Girl, a wedding floral design boutique in California for 10 years. Lisa spends her free time pursuing multiple philanthropic interests such as Make‐A‐Wish and Boys Hope
Girls Hope of Southern California. Lisa has been a board member for Irvine Swim League, Orange County House Concerts, National Charity League and National League of Men and is currently a member of The Johns Hopkins University Parent Council.
One of Patti’s favorite life experiences has been her involvement with Horse Warriors™. In addition to her background in microbiology and chemistry, 50 years in a family business, with 5 of those as a financial business analyst for a bank, Patti brings a solid skill set to helping with the sustainability of our organization. Volunteering with Power Ponies and Mighty Mustangs since 2015 reminds her of the unforgettable connections between kids and horses she experienced while raising her family. From a youth sports coach (soccer mom) to organizing and leading a 4-H Horse Club (teacher and trailer jockey), she is deeply familiar with the bonds of teamwork and relationship that foster confidence and growth. Patti recently joined the Horse Warriors™ Board, while continuing to volunteer in the programs, where an exciting future awaits (including more mountain riding!).
Pilar Bass grew up in Jackson Wyoming She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from University of Oregon, and currently splits her time between Seattle, WA and Wilson, WY. She is the president of a family corporation that specializes in commercial and residential real estate. Her board experience includes serving on the board of pARTners and on the board of the Rose, an entertainment venue in Jackson, Wyoming. She previously served multiple terms as a board member of her condominium association.
Pilar has a lifelong love of animals. She shows and breeds Golden Retrievers and has two horses that she raised from yearlings. In her spare time, she paints and dabbles in photography. Pilar has a profound respect for Horse Warriors™ and the unique way it provides guidance and lifelong skills to the youth it serves.
Sophie and her 4 siblings grew up on a small family farm, and was homeschooled throughout grade school. Although she did not have horses at the farm, she found her passion for horses at a young age. From volunteering at various horse facilities, to being in 4-h during her teenage years, Sophie has found ways to incorporate horses throughout her life. At age sixteen she began her journey to find the best path to help people - specifically adolescents - through animals.
Sophie graduated from San Juan college with an associates' degree in Psychology, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Anthrozoology at Carroll College. Through learning from amazing organizations like Horse Warriors™ Sophie hopes to one day create a business of her own, incorporating horses and other animals into her practice.
LaDean is a DCS high school graduate from rural South Dakota. Together, with her parents and 3 older brothers, her family runs a small farm containing livestock and crops. LaDean stays involved through school activities, community service, Christian events, and other hobbies. Her passions and interests also feed into her workplaces which include the local vet clinic, and the local hospital. She has a passion for helping people and enjoys spending her free time outdoors and with animals.
Her love for animals, especially horses, has been evident throughout her life, and she has taken every opportunity to further her interests. She plans to follow her interests and pursue a degree in Equine Therapy. LaDean hopes to grow in knowledge and understanding through Horse Warriors™ as well as help everyone around her.