Alejandra Lara is a highly skilled equine professional with over 20 years of experience in Equine Assisted Activities for personal development and Psychotherapy Incorporating Horses. She has created a unique program, Mindful Horsemanship, which uses mindfulness and horsemanship to encourage authentic relationships and connections to self and horses as sentient beings. Alejandra's approach is trauma-informed, emphasizing authentic relationships and connections, and empowering individuals, families, and organizations to connect with themselves and the world around them.
Alejandra enjoys teaching life skills and mindful horsemanship to children through individual sessions, group programs, and summer camps. Her work focuses on social and emotional development, self-control, self-regulation, pro-social skills, respect, and compassion. She provides training seminars, program development, and therapeutic equine wellness experiences in Park City, Utah, and Chile. Alejandra has worked with thousands of individuals and teams in notable nonprofits, corporations, and the private sector.
Alejandra has received national recognition for her work, including being named the credentialed professional of the year by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International PATH Intl. in 2018. She is a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning and Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH Intl. She is also certified as a Mindfulness Meditation Teacher, Natural Lifemanship Level I, credentialed as an Equine Professional for Trauma-Informed Equine Assisted Therapy.
In addition to being the Executive Director at Equellness Center in Park City, Alejandra is the owner of Park City Horse Experience, co-founded REINS, a nonprofit organization that provides a healing space for emotional recovery for both humans and equines, and the founder of the Equine Assisted Learning program at the National Ability Center. Alejandra lives between her home in Park City, Utah, and her family state in Chile, where she continues to grow her community and fellowship of human and equine partners.
Meet Lexie, a passionate educator with a Waldorf education background who has recently discovered her love for equine assisted learning. With over six years of experience teaching in the PCSD preschools and Waldorf schools, Lexie has a deep appreciation for holistic and experiential education, and believes in the power of outdoor learning to support children's social, emotional, and academic growth.
Lexie’s interest in equine assisted learning (EAL) was sparked when she moved back to her hometown of Park City and an opportunity to grow the Children’s Programming at The Equellness Center opened up. She witnessed the transformational impact that horses had on individuals' self-awareness and personal growth, and inspired by this experience, Lexie decided to explore this field further.
Now, Lexie combines her background in Waldorf education with the EAL expertise of Executive Director, Alejandra, creating unique and engaging programs that focus on outdoor learning and experiential education. She believes that horses have an innate ability to mirror and respond to human emotions, and incorporates this understanding into her teaching approach.
Whether working with children or adults, Lexie’s approach is grounded in a deep respect for the individual and a commitment to supporting their growth and development. She believes that learning happens best when it is fun, engaging, and meaningful, and strives to create experiences that are all three.
When she's not working with horses and students, Lexie can be found spending time in nature with her husband and two children and working with her hands, whether that’s with food, yarn, paints or plants! She believes that the natural world has much to teach us, and is passionate about sharing this knowledge with others through her work in equine assisted learning.
Meet Nyle, a dedicated and experienced barn manager and horse coach with over 40 years of experience in the equestrian world. Nyle has always had a love for horses since a young age and has dedicated his life to working with them.
Throughout his career, Nyle has managed and operated several barns and equestrian facilities, overseeing the care and well-being of the horses under his charge. He has worked with a wide range of horses, from foals to seasoned show champions, and is skilled in providing top-notch care, nutrition, and health management for these majestic
In addition to his managerial duties, Nyle is also an accomplished horse coach, helping riders of all levels achieve their goals and develop their skills in various disciplines. He is passionate about teaching riders the proper techniques and principles of horsemanship, and his coaching methods are based on a foundation of respect and compassion for both the horse and rider.
Over the years, Nyle has mentored numerous riders and horses to achieve success in various competitions and shows. His deep understanding of horse behavior and coaching techniques has earned him a reputation as a skilled and knowledgeable coach and mentor.
In his free time, Nyle enjoys spending time with his own horses, exploring new trails, and attending horse-related events and seminars. With his decades of experience and unwavering commitment to the welfare of horses and riders alike, Nyle is truly a treasure in the equestrian community and we are lucky to have him on our team!
Kimberley Labertew, MBA, worked as a management consultant for Booz Allen & Hamilton and CSC Index for over 25 years in different leadership roles, industries, and countries. In 2019, she decided it was time for a change. She asked herself: where in my life do I experience meaning? Being a curious and empathetic person, she decided to use this strength to help others as a Flourishing and Self-Leadership Coach.
Kimberley is currently pursuing a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Positive Coaching. Her zeal lies in facilitating individuals in uncovering their intrinsic talents and in demonstrating to them the means by which they can harness their full potential. She believes that everyone should be given the opportunity to live a fulfilling life.
When she isn’t getting super ‘psyched’ about her favorite topics of creativity, motivation, engagement, learning, and happiness, she loves to ski and travel and learn new languages.
Kat is a passionate individual with a deep love for horses and therapeutic equine activities. She has dedicated herself to exploring the benefits of these activities, and has seen firsthand the transformative power they can have on individuals facing a range of challenges.
In addition to her work with horses, Kat is on a personal journey of recovery from substance abuse. She believes strongly in the importance of authenticity, family, trustworthiness, honesty, originality, sticking to one's core beliefs, and utilizing boundaries to maintain a healthy and fulfilling life.
As a mother of one, Kat understands the importance of creating a nurturing and supportive environment, both at home and in the workplace. She brings a wealth of experience in creating positive and meaningful relationships, and is always eager to help others.
Kat also has a background in Fine Arts, with an emphasis in Art History focused on Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. She hopes to utilize these skills to help develop an arts program within her facility, bringing the transformative power of creativity to those in need.
Overall, Kat is a compassionate and driven individual with a deep commitment to helping others. She brings a unique set of skills and experiences to her work, and is always looking for new ways to make a positive impact in the lives of those around her.
Heidi Dawn Heydt is a retired U.S. Air Force veteran with 22 years of dedicated service. She joined the Air Force in 1995 and concluded her career in 2017. Throughout her military tenure, Heidi had the opportunity to explore 44 countries, primarily in Europe and Asia.
Apart from her military background, Heidi possesses two years of equine experience and is skilled in horsemanship. She possesses a deep passion for the transformative power of human-horse connections and is committed to assisting individuals in finding healing and wellness through equine therapy.
Heidi finds solace in nature, enjoys reading, and cherishes quality time with her family and puppies. She places high value on education and has obtained a Master's degree in Public Health following her retirement from the Air Force.
Having cultivated a strong work ethic and a commitment to excellence during her time in the Air Force, Heidi applies these principles to all facets of her life. Her dedication extends to supporting fellow veterans, and she currently serves as a Certified Peer Support Specialist at the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center located in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this capacity, she concentrates on fostering healing and wellness for veterans diagnosed with PTSD.
We are delighted to introduce you to the incredible horses at the Equellness Center. Our herd consists of three remarkable Norwegian Fjord horses, known for their distinctive appearance, compact yet muscular bodies, thick manes and tails, and their beautiful dun coloration. These Fjords have a rich heritage in Norway, where they were bred for farm work and navigating the rugged fjord terrain. Today, their versatility and gentle disposition make them perfect for therapeutic work.
Joining our team is also a Quarter Horse, who has quickly become a beloved partner in our Equine Assisted Activities. This majestic addition brings a new dimension to our program, enriching the healing and support our clients receive through their gentle presence and innate wisdom.
Each horse, whether it's a Norwegian Fjord or a Quarter Horse, possesses their own intelligence, sensitivity, and unique personality. They astound us daily with their healing power and the profound impact they have on our clients' well-being.
We warmly invite you to visit the Equellness Center and meet our extraordinary herd, including our three Norwegian Fjord horses and our cherished Quarter Horse. Prepare to be captivated by their magic and witness firsthand the transformative experiences they provide.
Send us an email & let's connect!