Meet the Team 2017-08-03T21:27:17+00:00

Staff Members

Michele Bruhn
Michele BruhnExecutive Director


A native of Woodstock, Illinois, Michele’s career has spanned nonprofits, and equine management sectors. She served for eight years in the recreational therapy department at a behavioral residential treatment center for at-risk youth outside Chicago, Illinois. There, she created a partnership with a local therapeutic riding center, and served as the liaison and director of a campus-wide therapeutic riding program for the 150 residential treatment clients. Prior to that, Michele served as a barn manager and trail boss on a 2,000-acre ranch in the Ozarks of Missouri. She has been riding, training and showing for almost 30 years and has worked with people of varying disabilities for over 12 years.  She holds a degree in psychology from Northern Illinois University, is PATH International Certified and is in the process of earning Advanced Certification through PATH .


Jamie Brunson
Jamie BrunsonVolunteer Coordinator
Jamie grew up in Missouri with a strong love for horses! She began riding at the age of six and was active in 4-H for 10 years. She became competitive in Barrel Racing, competing in rodeos all over the Midwest for 8 years. Jamie taught horseback riding lessons and lead summer camps for children at a stable while attending the University of Central Missouri, where she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She always dreamed of one day working at a therapeutic riding center, where she could combine her passion for helping others with her love for horses. It took relocation to beautiful Colorado and six years of working in the corporate world before discovering CTRC through volunteering two years ago. It quickly captured her heart and she feels incredibly blessed to now be working for CTRC! Jamie also loves yoga, cooking and spending time with family and friends!
Lindsey Moloznik
Lindsey Moloznik Barn Manager
Lindsey was born and raised in Maryland and has been riding horses since she was 4 years old. She was also an active member of her 4-H Horse Club for 10 years. Although Lindsey started riding hunter/jumper, she eventually switched over to Equestrian Vaulting. She competed as a vaulter for 4 years. She discovered training was her passion, while training a vaulting horse for a local team. Lindsey graduated from Virginia Tech in 2011 with a BS in Animal and Poultry Sciences, with an Equine Emphasis. After college, Lindsey worked as Barn Manager for two years at Rose Hill Farm, in Bridgehampton, NY.
Emma VanNostrand
Emma VanNostrandBarn Assistant
Emma grew up on an 80 acre farm in Southwest Michigan, with her mother and her horses.  From a young age, she knew horses were her passion.  After graduating high school, and completing her first year of college, she decided to pursue a career in the horse industry.  She moved to Aiken, South Carolina in the fall of 2013, taking a job as Barn Supervisor in at a 25 horse barn, focusing on a mixture of natural horsemanship and eventing.   After nine months of experience, she took a job at The Stable on the Woods, also in Aiken, as a professional groom and rider for three-day event and hunt horses. Her time was spent managing a string of performance horses, as well as daily duties for a 45 horse barn and competing her own horse.  In May of 2016, she made the move west, working as a Wrangler at a ranch in Buena Vista, Colorado.  She spent her days leading rides, helping to maintain a 60 horse herd, and falling in love with the Colorado way of life.  Deciding she couldn’t bear to leave the state after the summer season was over, she went searching for the perfect job – and found it in CTRC!  Spending every day caring for, and getting to know the horses that are a part of the CTRC herd has made this position one of the best jobs, and she is so happy to be spending her time with the great staff, volunteers, and horses that go to make CTRC such a special place.
Katelynn Fontenot
Katelynn FontenotOffice Assistant

Katelynn’s passion for animal assisted therapies lead her to obtain a BS in Human Services with a concentration in mental health and counseling. She became a part of CTRC in the summer of 2014 and since then could not part from this magical place. Katelynn has the up most respect for the staff, volunteers, horses and riders that keep CTRC functioning as a profound example of the impact equine assisted therapies has on everyone involved. Her fondness for the human animal bond does not stop at horses, as she is heavily involved in the rescue world. In her spare time, she helps place homeless animals into adequate forever homes. She is appreciative of the opportunities CTRC has given her, and looks forward to contributing to the life changing work that takes place.

Casey Gordon
Casey Gordon Development Assistant

Casey earned her BA in International and Intercultural Studies from Pitzer College in 2012. Her lifelong love of horses sent her to work on a draft horse powered farm following college. Afterwards, she worked with several community garden nonprofits in development and marketing. Casey now splits her time between teaching yoga and working to support CTRC’s development efforts.

Rachel Lichty
Rachel LichtyInstructor
Rachel Lichty grew up riding horses with Hidden Beech 4H Equestrian Club near Traverse City, MI.  Rachel showed locally and participated in high school equestrian team. After becoming an Equine Specialist with EAGALA in 2016, she continued her education of therapeutic horsemanship with PATH Intl. as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor.  “I love sharing my knowledge of horsemanship with others and I believe horses are therapeutic for so many reasons.  I feel very grateful to be a part of CTRC’s team.


Katie Da Costa Santos
Katie Da Costa SantosTherapeutic Riding Instructor
Katie grew up in upstate New York, riding hunter/jumpers at a local stable. She began volunteering and working at a therapeutic riding stable nearby when she was a teenager and immediately fell in love.  Knowing that she wanted to pursue a career with horses, she moved to Colorado to work on a degree in Equine Science from Colorado State University. She spent a summer leading trail rides on a dude ranch in the Black Hills of South Dakota. Katie also spent a semester abroad in Ireland in their equine program, where she learned more about Eventing and training horses. She graduated in 2014 with her B.S in Equine Science and began working at a small animal vet hospital as a veterinary technician. However, she knew she wanted to get back into equine assisted activities and started to work on her PATH certification. Katie became a PATH Intl Registered Instructor in 2016 and is extremely excited to join the CTRC team in the fall of 2016.

Certifications: PATH Intl Registered Instructor

Chris Overholt
Chris OverholtTherapeutic Riding Instructor
Christine grew up on a small farm in rural Idaho riding with her grandpa and mom. Active in 4-H, FFA, and the Idaho State Horse show association Christine found the excitement of competition with the life lessons from the horse. When the time came to attend college she found a way to enroll right along with her horse at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana. Riding both Western and English riding disciplines kept her busy though she eventually fell in love with the western sport of reining. She got the opportunity to work with Pat Mitchel in Shepherd Montana and Don Murphy in Brentwood California. Upon graduation in 2001 with Bachelor of Science Degrees in Equine Science with a training option and Business with marketing and management emphasis, she ran In The Works Performance Horses where she trained horses and gave riding lessons. The call of the unknown captured her and she moved to Denver, Colorado in 2003. She lasted three months without a horse before she was taking riding lessons to get her horse fix then three months later her dad had pity on her and brought Sugar to Colorado. She is now settled down on a little two horse farm in the heart of the city with her husband and children. She teaches lessons from home as well as at the Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center in Longmont, CO. She believes in the calming and healing powers that a horse has that can fulfill the dreams of a horse crazy child or adult which opens world no other activity can.

Certifications: PATH Intl Registered Instructor

Annette Gruba
Annette GrubaTherapeutic Riding Instructor
Annette has always loved horses and ridden all of her life (literally since she was 3 years old). In the summer of 1999 she began volunteering in the therapeutic riding program at Winter Park’s National Sports Center for the Disabled. After Annette’s first year with NSCD, she became a volunteer instructor and continued to do so for the next 7 summers. In 2005 she earned PATH Intl’s Registered Instructor certification and started teaching at CTRC in the summer of 2006. Annette enjoys playing with her son, riding her own horse and skiing with her family at Winter Park. She has always felt that horses are amazing animals and is fortunate to witness their amazing ability to work with humans every time she teaches a class.

Certifications: PATH Intl Registered Instructor

Lisa Strother
Lisa StrotherTherapeutic Riding Instructor
As a Colorado native, Lisa has always enjoyed being outdoors and around horses. Lisa grew up with horses and fell in love with what they had to offer at a young age. She discovered the world of therapeutic riding as a young teenager and has always felt that it was her calling when she ‘grew up’. After many years, and two beautiful children, she refused to ‘grow up’, but is so thankful to fulfill her dreams as a therapeutic riding instructor. Lisa continues to ride and increase her riding skills in the hunter/jumper circuit with her horse India. She feels that there is always so much to learn, and just as much to be shared.

Certifications: PATH Intl Registered Instructor

Erica Zimmerman
Erica ZimmermanTherapeutic Riding Instructor

Horses have been a part of Erica’s life as long as she can remember! Erica grew up riding on the East coast before competing for Indiana University’s Equestrian Team. While at IU, Erica began volunteering at a therapeutic riding barn and became hooked! After graduation, Erica began working on becoming an instructor herself. During this time, she spent six months interning at the Therapeutic Riding Center of Israel. After returning to the States and completing her instructor certification, Erica packed her bags and moved to Denver! In 2016, Erica received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Denver, with a focus in family systems and animal assisted interventions. She is a Licensed Social Worker in the state of Colorado and has experience working with a variety of mental health backgrounds.

Degrees & Certifications: Licensed Social Worker, Master of Social Work, Animal Assisted Social Worker, PATH Intl. Certified Instructor I, PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning


Jill Valenti, PT
Jill Valenti, PT Hippotherapy Therapist
I’ve been a PT for 24 years (Yikes!!!), primarily in pediatrics. I have worked in the NICU, the schools, home health, hospital setting, private practice and for the past 10 years with Dayspring’s Early Intervention Program. I am NDT (neurodevelopmental treatment) certified, certified in infant massage, have experience with sensory integration and have been doing hippotherapy for 17 years at CTRC.

Certifications: PATH Intl Registered Therapist in Hippotherapy / PATH Intl Registered Instructor

Amy Seelig, CC-SLP
Amy Seelig, CC-SLPTherapist
Amy began at CTRC in 1996 as a volunteer while she was a graduate student in speech language pathology at C.U., Boulder. After living in Oregon for a few years, in 2001, Amy returned to her native Colorado and began working at the Anchor Center for Blind Children in Denver. In 2008, Amy decided to connect her life-long love of horses with her therapy for young children. She successfully pursued this passion by working closely with other therapists experienced in hippotherapy, completing her AHA (American Hippotherapy Association) Level I and Level II courses and obtaining her NARHA Registered Instructor certifications. Amy is thrilled to be part of the joy, enthusiasm and wonder of CTRC and to have a job that she absolutely loves! Amy lives in Erie with her husband, Eric, her black lab, Jetty and her calico, Minna.

Degrees & Certifications: Special Education Teacher / PATH Intl Registered Instructor / AHA Registered Instructor

Beth Large, OT
Beth Large, OTTherapist
Beth earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Kent State University and a Masters of Occupational Therapy from the University of North Dakota. Beth has worked with people with disabilities in a multitude of settings, including working for a wilderness-based high school offering rock climbing, backpacking, and camping. Beth has been a certified equine assisted activities instructor through PATH International since 2010, and a certified interactive vaulting instructor since 2014. Beth has presented at several regional conferences and an international webinar on utilizing American Sign Language with clients. Beth has a particular interest in addressing  hearing and vision challenges, sensory processing difficulties, and functional limitations to help her clients become more functional in everyday life. She believes in the unique features of the equine environment, which appear to cut through barriers and allow individuals to thrive!

Certifications: PATH Intl Registered Instructor / PATH Intl Interactive Vaulting Instructor

Jennifer (Jenn) Varra, MS, OTR/L
Jennifer (Jenn) Varra, MS, OTR/LTherapist
Jenn began her journey with CTRC in 1990 as a volunteer, while pursuing her BA in Psychology at CU Boulder.  In 1995, she moved to Boston to attend graduate school at Boston University; she earned her MS in Occupational Therapy in 1998.  Jenn made her way back to Colorado that same year, where she started her career in OT.  Over the years, Jenn has worked in a variety of treatment settings with a variety of clients of all ages.  Jenn began volunteering again with CTRC in 2010, as horse leader and side walker.  Jenn believes strongly in the therapeutic benefits of the movement of the horse, as well as the human-horse connection, and in 2016 decided to integrate hippotherapy into her work as an Occupational Therapist.  In her free time, Jenn enjoys skiing, rock climbing and rafting with her family, and riding her horse, Tucker.

Certifications: PATH Intl Registered Instructor

Board Members

CTRC’s Board of Directors is dedicated to superior planning, guidance and assessment of CTRC’s programs, direction and perpetuity. CTRC’s Board encompasses a broad level of experience, diversity and management skill. The Board engages in strategic planning, performing a monthly review, measurement and revision of strategic goals.

Deborah Durand President
Joel Schaap Vice President
Marianne Lahr Treasurer
Heath Irwin Board Member
Steve Sellars Board Member
Margrit Lent Parker Board Member
Kadie Hughes Board Member
“Our strategic plan serves as our agency’s “navigational chart” and we have faithfully adhered to the course we have mapped. CTRC has strong and seasoned leadership, both at the Board level and at the management level. This leadership has allowed our agency to be visionary and build for the future while still staying focused on exemplary daily operations. It has allowed us to navigate extremely rough waters and even when we are sailing on calm seas, we are continually preparing for the changing times. As the Chair of the Board, I feel I can speak for the whole Board, and say we take great pride in our progress and our ability to not only maintain a stellar organization, but to continually vision and build for CTRC’s sustainability.” – Deb Durand, CTRC President