Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals


Board of Directors

Nancy Waite-O'Brien, Ph.D.

deprekel 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 is a frequent lecturer on issues related to women's recovery. She has co-authored texts on adolescent treatment and on women's treatment, taught at Chapman University in Palm Desert, California 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 Palm Desert, California; provides Equine Assisted Therapy to clients of Michael's House, a drug and alcohol treatment program in Palm Springs, California; is adjunct faculty in the Equine Assisted Mental Health concentration of the Counseling Psychology department at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona; and consults with the Esketemc Native American Tribal community in British Columbia. In this capacity she provides Equine Assisted Education with a focus on recovery from trauma to adults and young people in that community.

Dr. Waite-O'Brien has a taken a broad approach to educating herself in this field. She is a graduate of the EPONA program and has also participated in workshops offered by EGALA, Adventures in Awareness and Horses of the Goddess and her training in Somatic Experiencing allows her to include this awareness in her work with horses and people.

She lives with five horses, a miniature donkey, four dogs and two cats. Two of her horses, Paxil and Zoloft, have been her antidepressants for over 10 years. Her hobby is riding horses in other parts of the world. She has ridden in Ireland, Estonia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and India and hopes to include Peru in her next riding adventure.

Libby Smith, Ed.D, PhD

deprekelAs the Founder and Director of "Wind Horse Wellness," Dr. Libby (as her students affectionately call her) brings years and years of education, personal experience, and life skills to her business.

As the CEO and President of "Wind Horse Wellness LLC," Dr. Libby (as her students affectionately call her) brings years of education, personal experience, and life skills to her business.

Dr. Libby's educational pursuits have been varied. She holds a Bachelor degree from Northern Arizona University in Applied Sociology with an emphasis in Corrections and Rehabilitations. Her Master's degree is from San Jose State University and is also in Sociology. Her doctoral degree is in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Health and Sociology and was obtained from Northern Arizona University. In addition she has obtained another Bachelors, Master's, and Ph.D. from the American Institute of Holistic Theology in Birmingham, Alabama.

She is an educator, author, international speaker, mentor, Personal Trainer, Yoga instructor (Kundalini Yoga), and an Ordained Minister. She is certified and licensed in Reiki, Regression Therapy, Synergia, and in Equine-Assisted Learning by CBEIP.

She has been teaching for over 22 years at two and four year institutions. Dr. Libby was invited to be a speaker at the International Conference for Science and Consciousness for two consecutive years. Her presentations were in the area of "Social Physics" and "Memes, Mind, and Manifestations."

She has written and published several books which include, "Doc Talks-Pathways Toward Self-Discovery" and "Sex Talks-a Book about Sex and a Whole Lot More." She is currently working on "What’s the Matter?" which she hopes will assist people in discovering and understanding their core beliefs and thoughts, in an effort to improve their lives.

She currently lives in Tucson, Arizona. Her daughter Stacey and three grandsons live in Wichita, Kansas.

Nina Ekholm Fry, MSSc.

deprekel Nina Ekholm Fry's bio will be available soon.

Priscilla Marden, CEIP-ED; ESMHL; PATH Int’l TRI

deprekel Priscilla is an educator and curriculum designer whose focus is on personal empowerment and discovering creative avenues of expression. She is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Horse Warriors™, an equine facilitated mental health and education program in Jackson Hole, WY. She is a lifelong horsewoman, former Pony Clubber, backcountry horseman, Citizen’s Mounted Patrol volunteer and dedicated advocate for equine welfare. Priscilla is a semi-annual presenter at the PATH conferences and is also a professional illustrator and calligrapher.

After 3 years as the head instructor for a traditional therapeutic riding program, she started Horse Warriors™ in 1968, focusing on disenfranchised teens, and quickly grew the program to incorporate parenting education and family communication skills through its Power Ponies™ and Mighty Mustangs™ programs. She served on the EFMHA Board of Directors during its transition period of fully integrating with NARHA (now PATH, International).

Currently the Horse Warriors™ programs have a strong focus on “teaching the teachers”, and offer professional training workshops for EFL/EFP (Horses of the Goddess™) in addition to their multi-year youth and family programs. They also host long and short-term internships for students pursuing careers in EAAT, and work in cooperation with colleges and universities for intern supervision and practicum residencies. Priscilla’s interest is on expanding awareness of the human equine connection for personal healing and global change, and on the importance of heart-centered interactions in relationship. She spends much time designing and implementing curriculum plans tailored to specific educational needs, all of which have a creativity/arts inclusion component.

She lives with her husband, 14 horses, 13 chickens, 2 Corgis, 1 cat, 2 squirrels and an assortment of wild deer on their ranch, The Diamondfly, in Star Valley, WY. Though she loves all the horses, her deepest connections and greatest gratitude for their teaching skills rests with her beloved mustangs, Silver and Gato. She loves creative pursuits, teaching, reading, and spending time with her grown sons and daughter-in-law, and her biological and ‘adopted’ grandchildren.

Maureen Vidrine

MaureenVidrine2 Dr. Maureen Vidrine, APRN-PMH, BC is Director and psychotherapist with Horse Time, Inc., an equine-facilitated mental health and wellness center in Covington, Georgia. Horse Time has served hundreds of children, adolescents, and adults in individual and group psychotherapy and in therapeutic horsemanship lessons. Horse Time has worked with clients and students from residential treatment programs, day treatment programs, mental health centers, county school systems, and self-referred individuals throughout the Greater Atlanta and Athens areas.

Maureen was introduced to vaulting while working in a psychiatric emergency room, when a colleague shared photos of a young man standing on a horse's back. He explained that this was a camper he worked with at Camp Sunshine, a camp for children with cancer in nearby Rutledge, Georgia. He said that his adolescent male campers were angry, depressed, and difficult to engage in activities, but that vaulting was the ONE THING with which they truly connected. Within a few months Maureen had tracked down Priscilla Faulkner, the coach of the Falconwood Vaulters- the facilitators of Camp Sunshine's vaulting experiences. Maureen learned all she could about vaulting from that point on, including taking vaulting classes herself, participating in clinics, reading books, and assisting with competitions, community demonstrations, and group therapy facilitated by Priscilla, who became Dr. Faulkner. As part of her foundational training in equine-facilitated work, Maureen studied with Barbara Rector in Arizona and has since worked with her both on structural development and ongoing activities for EFMHA/PATH and in equine experiential settings. Barbara remains a mentor. Priscilla and Maureen founded Horse Time in 1997 and have heavily utilized therapeutic vaulting, especially for group psychotherapy.

Horse Time clinicians have trained numerous clinical students from universities such as Clemson, Emory, Georgia State, UGA, and the State University of West Georgia. We also are proud to have hosted trainees from across the USA in addition to England, Australia, and Belgium. Special needs served at Horse Time have included cerebral palsy, acquired brain injuries, Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome, Down's Syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, and a variety of other developmental, trauma-related, anxiety, behavioral, mood, psychotic, and substance abuse disorders. Additionally, the program has worked with clients with gender identity and attachment issues and eating disorders. Maureen specializes in treating psychotherapy clients with co-morbid medical issues/physical special needs and in long-term psychotherapeutic work at the barn.

Maureen has been involved in therapeutic horsemanship since 1983, and is nationally certified as a NARHA (now PATH) advanced therapeutic horsemanship instructor and ESMHL (Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning) through PATH. Maureen is also certified as a Special Olympics equestrian sports coach. She is a founding member of the Equine-facilitated Mental Health Association. She has served on their Board of Directors, helping to write their by-laws. She was the first Chair of the EFMHA Standards committee, served as an EMFHA newsletter editor and co-wrote NARHA's (now PATH's) Psychosocial Safety Guidelines for all programs. Maureen has presented on the topic of therapeutic horsemanship and equine-facilitated psychotherapy at conferences and workshops around the country, including national nursing conferences. She is one of a handful of advanced-practice nurses who have published on the topic of equine-facilitated psychotherapy in a juried journal, and she has several publications on adolescent suicide in juried journals.

Maureen attended Emory University's School of Nursing, received her Master's in nursing from Georgia State University, and earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Brenau University. Her thesis research examined human field motion in children with cerebral palsy participating in a therapeutic horseback riding program. She is ANCC certified as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. Prior to Horse Time, Maureen worked at the Crawford Center for Therapeutic Horsemanship in Atlanta and with the equine-facilitated therapy program at Murphy-Harpst Vashti residential treatment center in Cedartown, Georgia. She currently is an Associate Professor of Nursing at Brenau University in Gainesville, GA and sees clients at a local public mental health center in addition to working at Horse Time.

Alyssa Aubrey

BillyAlys2Alyssa Aubrey, CEGE and co-founder of the Equine Guided Education Association (EGEA) has over a decade of experience sharing horses with people for their mutual benefit - mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. The mission of her work is to incorporate horses into human self-development in the service of discovering and contributing the best parts of each individual (horse and human) to the greater good. Alyssa is the founder and executive director of Medicine Horse Ranch located in beautiful coastal Northern, CA., a 1000 - acre fifth generation working cattle and sheep ranch. To date she has worked with over 5,000 clients in both individual and group equine- guided sessions.

Medicine Horse Ranch is a retirement facility and home to 25 senior horses. Alyssa is an advocate, guardian and steward for her equine friends, including end of life care.

In 2014 Medicine Horse Ranch became the Northern California Center for Adventures in Awareness™. Many of our students are intentionally preparing them selves for eventual certification through the certification board for equine interaction professionals. This group includes educators and clinicians as well as a growing cadre of coaches qualified to sit this international exam.

Alyssa is a certified Financial Recovery Coach, and specializes with clients in the horse/healing profession. Her expertise includes managing monthly and long- term expenses, increasing income, decreasing debt and resolving unconscious money habits that impede growth.

She is the author of Finding North Horse: Discovery, Recovery and Transformation Through the Call of the Horse. The book is scheduled for publication in summer 2015.

She enjoys photography, gardening, making pottery, horseback riding and spending time with friends and family. Her greatest joy is embracing a simple, genuine lifestyle on the ranch together with her partner Gary Thornton.