Meet Our Facilitators


Joanie Mankus

Program Director

Joanie Mankus is a professional Gestaltist who partners with horses to support individuals going through subtle or significant life transitions. Whether an individual is experiencing challenges related to family, relationships, career, or health issues, Joanie’s professional coaching leads clients to regain a clearer sense of their wholeness, purpose, and passion for living a fully expressed life. 

As an LCSW for nearly 10 years, Joanie counseled teens, families, and adults with a variety of life narratives including marital struggles and divorce, children of dysfunctional families, teen pregnancy, addiction, and trauma. She was a member of a first response crisis team at the Columbine high school tragedy. Throughout her professional career, Joanie has experienced firsthand how neglecting the inner human condition can manifest itself in tragic and negative ways. Deep introspection and self-study led her to examine the patterns, limiting beliefs, and behaviors that prevent people from moving forward in their lives with joy. Her extensive study in the field of Gestalt has offered both her and her clients’ solutions that break the cycle and allow change to happen organically. 

Joanie is proud to serve as the Program Director of Hope Held by a Horse. She continues to serve as Director and Secretary for Hope Through Horses, an organization dedicated to providing funding for organizations and individuals committed to and involved in improving the lives of individuals and horse partners through the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method. In addition, Joanie is a part-time instructor in the Touched by a Horse Equine Gestalt Coaching Certification Program based in Elizabeth, Colorado, and founded by EGCMethod® creator Melisa Pearce. Joanie also owns her own fulfilling private practice called Authentic Strides. She holds a Masters in Social Work from St. Louis University and is a Certified Equine Gestalt Coach.

Authentic Strides

Ida Ridgeway

Reiki 1

As an intuitive and ordained minister, I joined Hope Held by a Horse with my gift for energy healing. I have been in training for over two years in intuitive and energy healing development. I am passionate about horses and recognize a common bond in their ability to help people heal. I actively incorporate the three elements – energy, intuition and horses – into my work and the combination of these three fields allows me to connect on a number of different levels with those I work with.

I am also a Reiki 1 practitioner. During my undergraduate work, I rode on the Fresno State Equestrian Team, taking first place at the regional horse show. My love of nature has landed me at the base of Pikes Peak in beautiful Colorado Springs, which provides me opportunities to compete in adventure races, play volleyball and breathe fresh mountain air on trail rides.

Women and horse touching noses

Daelyn Marie Larché-Sigman

Equine Gestalt Coach

I have a passion for spreading positivity and inspiration to others I meet in my life every day. I was an elementary school teacher for 22 years but decided to leave the profession in 2019 in order to follow my dream of helping others heal. I became a certified Equine Gestalt Coach and started my coaching business called Joyful Spirit Coaching soon after leaving the field of teaching.

When my son, Austin, was diagnosed with cancer at age 14 in 2010, I knew I had to find something to do to care for myself so that I would be a good caretaker for my young son. I learned many forms of crafting and began a small business centered around sharing products that spread joy. I became a certified Reiki Master Teacher and completed Healing Touch training at Level 3. I know that the most important piece of my journey with my son was discovering my true purpose in life- helping others heal trauma and live life in joy.

I lost my son to cancer two weeks after he turned 17 in 2013, and felt it was important to learn everything I could about my life through the experience. I later went on to earn my 200 hr certification as a therapeutic yoga instructor in order to offer others another way to find healing, peace, and happiness in their daily lives. I also studied under Dr. Amit Sood, Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, to become a facilitator of his Stress Management and Resiliency Training program.

When I’m not coaching, I enjoy being with my husband and oldest son doing fun things like paddle boarding, four-wheeling in our cool Jeep, and hanging with my horses. I love animals and spend a lot of time hanging out with my dogs. I am a wanna-be mermaid and dream of one day living in a house near the beach with my horses.

Elisabeth Denizot

Equine Gestalt Coach

Elisabeth Denizot, Nurturing Strides, LLC

I am an Equine Gestalt Coach and I work in Boulder County, at my place in Lafayette, CO with my Equine Partners Spirit and Casper. I also partner with Rocky Mountain Riding Therapy and their amazing herd, in Boulder, CO

After 20 years of teaching with the Boulder Valley School District, I chose to fully dedicate myself to helping people heal.

For many years, starting in my early teens until I moved over to Colorado, I rode horses. I loved being in their presence. This eventually led me on a journey to explore the healing power of horses and how I could use them to make a difference in other people’s lives.

Each and every one of us has suffered some sort of trauma in the course of our lives. Because we move on with our lives, we often feel that what we experienced in the past is taken care of. However, traumatic experiences, no matter their intensity, stay imprinted in our cells. Most likely, they stay outside of our awareness. We get triggered and wonder why. And we unconsciously pass on to our children our own unresolved issues. I love working with parents and educators who seek to hone their truth so their children can find theirs.

I am honored to partner with Hope Held by a Horse to assist the courageous women who choose to participate in the program.

Nurturing Strides
Kerry Culhane

Kerry Culhane

Equine Gestalt Coach

My name is Kerry Culhane, I am an equine gestalt coach and owner of Origin Horse Coaching in Elizabeth, Colorado. I am a heart coach and a deep work coach. My motto is “feel it and heal it”. 

Through the course of my own healing and transformation with gestalt and the healing work of our beautiful spiritual equine partners, I have come to the belief that willingness to heal oneself in this way is not only an act of courage but also a journey of self-compassion. EGC coaching is my life’s work and helping people heal is my life’s journey.

Zoe Moraitis

Zoe Moraitis

Equine Gestalt Coach

I have been a horsewoman for many years and have always been drawn to the natural ways horses heal people, whenever I was and am around horses I feel an immediate sense of peace, calm, and happiness. For as long as I can remember I have known I wanted to do something with horses and something to help people. In high school, I discovered Equine Gestalt Coaching and after personally experiencing the powerful and life-changing healing of horses and gestalt I discovered my life’s purpose. In 2021 I completed the Touched By a Horse Equine Gestalt Coaching Method Certification and became a certified Equine Gestaltist.

Being a gestaltist I am combining my passions of guiding and assisting people on their life journeys with the natural power of horses through gestalt with my business Mindful Harmony Coaching, LLC; In both where I grew up, Lakewood, CO, and where I got my start with horses, Littleton, CO. I have the joy of coaching women, teens, and young adults through whatever part of their life’s journey they may be on in both one on one sessions and group settings. When I am not doing my main gig of gestalt coaching, I am feeding my other passion through teaching others how to take care of, work with, and ride horses in a way that honors, values, and listens to the horse first.

Mindful Harmony Coaching
Julie Meyers

Julie Meyers

Equine Gestalt Coach

Julie Meyers is a master gestaltist who partners with horses to help humans heal the wounds of deep trauma. She works primarily with women who are aware of issues from their own childhood they don’t want to pass on to their children, and that they don’t want to recreate in relationships. Toxic relationships, sexual trauma, abuse, and neglect cause limiting beliefs that can paralyze us from moving through life in healthy ways. Julie also works with couples who desire a truly unique way of understanding themselves and each other. She supports her clients to uncover their negative patterns, discover who they truly are, and discard limiting beliefs they hold about themselves so they can move through life in joy. Julie has been an elementary school teacher for 18 years and has seen the effects of trauma on children and families, and on academic and social-emotional development. She has experienced firsthand that when we release the negative effects of stored trauma, we experience freedom. Her ultimate goal is to inspire others to find and become their dreams so that joy becomes the norm.

She is dedicated to empowering women to find themselves, stand in their truth, and truly love and embrace who they are. She is equally dedicated to educating others about the healing power of horses, and how much animals truly matter in our lives.

The true gift of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method is the combination of the profound healing of Gestalt + the power of horses to heal + positive coaching + somatic awareness.

Julie is a dual certified graduate of the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method. She also owns her own rewarding private practice called Serenity Horse. She holds a Masters in Bilingual Education from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and is a dually Certified Equine Gestalt Coach.

Serenity Horse
Cheryl Pierce

Cheryl Pierce

Equine Gestalt Coach

I say I have been around horses since before I was born, I was in my Mom’s stomach while she tended to the horses. Horses were my best and truest friends, and horses saved my life…period.

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles, CA in the 70s and 80s I spent much time alone on the back of my horse in the hills. I did not understand any of the science or woo woo nature of the horse then, I just knew it was the only time I felt really at peace.

I was a Valley Girl, by definition of the 80s movie, and attended the Animal Studies Biological Sciences / Zoo Magnet at North Hollywood High School. I have worked since I was 13, during the summers and after school till I graduated.

During the 90s I worked as an Investigator for a Private Investigative Company mostly tailing suspects for Workers Comp Cases.

I became a Domestic Violence Victims Advocate in the Los Angeles Police Department’s D.A.R.T. program. It was healing for me as I had been a victim myself. I enjoyed working together with the D.A.R.T. Officers and the camaraderie within the department. I was testing with several police departments during this time and made the decision to not pursue this line of work as I ultimately decided I was not comfortable with the possibility I could be in a situation to take a life, no matter how justified it may be. I still loved the thrill of investigating.

I decided to work in security, in the private sector and spent five years in Retail Loss Prevention. I then worked for Twentieth Century Fox in Corporate Security and had the pleasure of working closely with many departments in the course of my work there. I was a Reserve Officer with The Los Angeles School District Police Department during this period as well.

I took a few years off to take care of sick parents and made a move to the Boulder County area of Colorado. I was a Property Manager in Boulder, Colorado for over 8 years and currently work for Touched By A Horse in Elizabeth, Colorado.

In 2018 trying to find a way to share with others, the amazing connection I had always felt around horses, I found Melisa Pearce’s program for Equine Gestalt Coaching at Touched by a Horse. It was quite literally the road map to everything I was unable to articulate and more than I ever knew was possible.

I graduated from the EGCM Certification Program in 2020 and the GCM Certification program in 2022. I am a dual certified Master Gestaltist™.

I believe in the Butterfly effect. I am passionate about offering my service to First Responders and I feel a connection with them and understand the bond they share. If the work I do touches one First Responder’s life and they are able to unburden their unfinished business, I know all the other people they come in contact with will be positively affected. Asking for help is brave, there is NO shame in it and …Equus is listening, and so am I.


All Ears Coaching
Annie Young

Annie Young

Equine Gestalt Coach

I spent my first career as a Pediatric Dietitian working with children with special needs. During that time I noticed that, whether the child struggled medically, emotionally, or physically, the parents struggled right along with them. There were services to support and nurture the child, and yet there was nothing in place for the parent, whose pain and trauma was as significant. Once I became a parent myself, I realized that parents of normally functioning children also take on the agony of their children, and sometimes more than the child themselves. Parenting is hard. Experiencing worry and self-doubt is common. It’s easy to be hard on yourself for not doing or being more.

Now I specialize in helping parents reconcile the overwhelm, worry, and fear in a way that maximizes self-compassion. I apply principles of Gestalt and the wisdom of horses to restore, renew, and revitalize parents which, in turn, supports the family as a whole.

Learn more about me and Sawubona Ranch at

Sawubona Ranch
Annie Young

Chris Chapman

Equine Gestalt Coach

I have been a leather craftsman since 1970, and spent years creating museum-quality reproductions of European, Early American and Native American garments and artifacts, including bead and quill work. I had received many accolades for my art, but it had not been financially rewarding. In 1987 I moved from Minnesota to the mountains of Colorado, 700 feet above the Roaring Fork Valley outside of Aspen – and I knew I’d come home – surrounded by nature; a cacophony of birds and wildlife, mountains and ranches, deep valleys and wide open high mountain pastures, sagebrush and trees. It’s a perfect place for a lifelong “maker of things” to create, and the birth of my daughter Kaytie, in 1991, inspired a monumental change of direction in my work. I began creating and developing what I call architectural leatherwork, an innovation that paid off in many ways: I’m proud to say that not only was I eventually able to earn a good living entirely from my art, but have had many pieces of my work – which is appreciated in homes and estates around the world – featured in several books and magazines.

My daughter’s father abandoned her when she was 8 years old, and I knew she needed something bigger than her broken heart to heal her. Intuitively I was guided to seek out opportunities for her to connect with horses, and so the healing began in the form of a big sorrel Paint horse named Bob. Shortly after this, I was introduced to my own soul horse, Cowboy: a magnificent liver chestnut and white Paint with a huge presence, and thus began my own healing journey with horses. Cowboy passed when I was going through chemo, but I believe he led me to Skye, one of my coaching partners, and a catalyst for monumental shifts in my life.

I have always been a survivor: an abusive childhood and relationships, breast cancer, and 20+ years of single parenthood are just some of the challenges I’ve faced. But I hit my bottom at age 63. A near-death experience as the result of a horse accident resulted in a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and debilitating PTSD that left me broke and brokenhearted, feeling that everything I had worked for or thought was important was gone. My ability to do my artwork was compromised for months and I was often alone, waffling back and forth between crippling anxiety and depression. I had to attach to something that made sense to me. I needed some kind of validation, something that called me, something literally worth living for. As I had when my daughter needed healing, I listened to my intuition, which guided me to the Touched By A Horse Equine Gestalt Coaching program. The three years of training to become a certified EGCM coach was an unexpected journey, helping me to reach a profound level of healing, and to connect – and re-connect – even more deeply with the horses in my life and heart.

I have been a privileged recipient of and witness to the healing power of Equus over the course of my training, and I now look back at each of my horses with the realization that they were willingly doing their healing work for Kaytie and me for years before I truly understood it. Each horse has had a different life lesson to teach me – even the accident that nearly killed me, has saved me. Each one of them called me in so they could teach me and show me a different heartfelt way. These magnificent sentient beings have all encouraged me to follow and trust my intuition, open my heart, find my voice and speak my truth. They have encouraged me to listen deeply to them, and to listen to and trust my heart. They have helped me heal.

And now it is my honor and privilege, in partnership with my horses Woody and Skye, to combine Gestalt coaching with the healing power of horses, art, and the natural world; to share and coach others along their healing journeys from trauma and life transitions, with the intention of helping them live lives that are not merely about surviving, but thriving. I look forward to working with you.

Sawubona Ranch
Annie Young

Katie Zk Hegge

Equine Gestalt Coach

Katie has come down a long road of adventure and discovery through ups and downs (as everyone does), but with a consistent desire for overall improvement. Through health challenges including two bouts with melanoma (both fully recovered and clear!), IBS, sensitivities and allergies, and infertility treatments which led her to the “dark night of the soul” experience, and eventually, searching for her destiny. This pursuit led to the combination of her love of nature and animals with a continuing spiritual quest that has expanded her understanding of life, death, and everything in between, to what it means to be truly healthy and whole. Albeit constant and never-ending, the search for present-moment awareness is far more successful and fun with support and understanding from those who have been down the same road and she could not have done it alone. Many teachers and guides along the way have helped her find the path of healing that now has her on the side of helping others. In partnership with the beautiful and sentient Buttermilk, Katie is now ready to support others along their healing path as well.

Annie Young

Melissa Clark

Equine Gestalt Coach

I grew up in a family that had its fair share of mental health and alcohol abuse issues. There was a lot of fighting, violence and avoidance strategies used that made for a toxic home environment. Like any other child raised in a household like this, it was difficult to understand what was happening around me. As I grew up, I fell into similar unhealthy relationship patterns that had been modeled for me. It wasn’t until I became a single mother at age 19 that I made a vow to myself to give my daughter a different start in life.

I went to college to become a teacher and earned my degree in Behavioral Science, with an emphasis in psychology, and Elementary Education, and later Early Childhood and Special Education.

Through these programs I became aware of how important early childhood experiences are for the development of our brain, personality, our relationship to ourselves and how we engage in relationships with others. I became very interested in this connection between our mental health and relationships. I realized that the human connections that we have in our world growing up are very indicative of the types of relationships we will have as adults-unless we proactively change the cycle.

After teaching for over 10 years, I decided to return to school for my Masters in Social Work to gain a deeper understanding of mental health and relationships. This conceptual understanding helped me discover the reasons why what happens to us in life can influence our behaviors, especially in relation to others. However, I found that the traditional education around mental health focuses more on diagnosing and treating symptoms and is really lacking in providing an effective way for helping people heal from their past experiences.

I found this missing link when I entered into the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method program, through Touched By A Horse. Through this program, I not only learned Gestalt-a highly effective method for helping people heal past wounds and discover who they are once they have released them, but also what incredible healers horses are for people. I experienced their healing first hand and have grown into a more authentic, happier, and peaceful version of myself because of it. This approach has changed my life, and my relationships, and I am very excited to be able to utilize this form of healing in my own therapeutic coaching practice.

My experience and educational background has given me a highly compassionate and empathic view of mental health and relationship issues, as well as the skills to be able to help others show up more fully in their lives and in their relationships.

Annie Young

Brenda Moberly

Equine Gestalt Coach

I am proud to be a 2017 Graduate of the elite Touched by a Horse Equine Gestalt Coaching Method Certification Program. This two year curriculum includes over 400 hours of intensive hands on Core training, comprehensive weekly classes, private coaching sessions and a written exam. This certification also requires continuing educational requirements.

I am nature and animal lover. I have rescued, and hand raised many species of animals. When I was 12, I rode my bike 5 miles out of town and purchased 2 horses with my babysitting money, (without my parents knowledge or permission). I have shared my life with horses ever since. I am a small breeder of quality Paint and Quarter Horses. I am compelled to enrich other’s lives with these incredible beings, and to preserve & ensure the heritage of the all-around horse lives on. I have competed/shown horses in my past, but now focus on honoring the wisdom and healing gifts the horses have to share with us. I have two beautiful daughters & am blessed to live with my animals. I enjoy taking photos of sunrise and sunsets, and of animals both domestic and wild. I hope you enjoy my photos I have included on this site.

I thank the Good Lord for leading me to Melisa Pearce and the Touched By a Horse Certification Program, as I am called to Make a Difference.

Annie Young

Teresa Sappington

Equine Gestalt Coach

Born and raised on a farm and a cow/calf operation in Northern Colorado, I have always appreciated and loved all animals, but especially horses. I attended Aims Community College where I received a Computer Aided Drafting & Design Certification. Drafting was a career that I loved for many years. I spent the last two years at the engineering firm where I worked, training as a Plumbing Designer. In 2008, I became a statistic of the economy as I was laid off and had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. It was at that point, that I began searching for a new path. In December of 2008, I was first introduced to the Equine Gestalt Certification Program (EGCMethod). I was immediately intrigued and began researching the program. I realized I could join and pursue two of my biggest passions: horses and helping people. Having an office in my barn greatly appealed to me! I knew this was my path! It wasn’t until January of 2015 that I began the certification course with Melisa Pearce, founder of Touched By A Horse and the EGCMethod Certification Program. Completing this program in 2018 opened my path to be able to partner with horses while assisting people on their journey to a new perspective and way of life. At Dream Weavers, we thrive on creating a safe and creative environment in which individuals are able to resolve the obstacles that are blocking them from moving forward in their lives.

Annie Young

Kelli Lanphere

Equine Gestalt Coach

We’re “inspired to make a difference” by helping others move confidently in the direction of their dreams … to create and live the life they have imagined through a journey of self-discovery inspired by the wisdom of horses …

We sincerely appreciate the opportunity to be of service … to help you discover your passion and pursue the dreams that INSPIRE your SOUL!

Kelli Lanphere is Co-founder, Director and President of Hope Through Horses, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit with the mission to “Share the Healing Power of Horses and Transformative Coaching with the World”. They offer scholarships to those wishing to become TBAH Certified EGCM Practitioners. They provide grants to TBAH Certified EGCM Practitioners for Client Outreach Expenses. They provide grants supporting TBAH Certified EGCM Practitioner Client Coaching Services.

Annie Young

Kirstin Johnson

Equine Gestalt Coach

Hi, I’m Kirstin. I am a Equine Gestalt Coach, Lover of life, and Guide to the Soul. My passion is to work with people who are waking up to the idea that there is more to life than what we were told and what we have experienced.

Horses give us a great gift of presence with the ability to know when we are showing up and standing in our truth or fooling ourselves. They are powerful healers sensing where we are blocked in our energy system and work to clear our blocks so we live a life more in joy. They stand with us when we are most vulnerable without judgement. They can show us how we are showing up in the world.”

Using the Equine Gestalt Coaching Method (EGCM), Changing Leads is about supporting people in waking up to who they are meant to be.
Our partners in this process are horses. Horses are master healers, their vibration is much higher than ours, they live without much distraction and are aware in each moment because their life depends on it.

Annie Young

Gwen Regenwether

Volunteer Coordinator

I am so moved by my interactions with the horses and the connections I made with the coaches and the women. The ability for a horse to teach you to command your body and mind was so profound to me. I was always excited to attend this event but I had no idea it would make the impact on my life like it has.

On Dec 31, 2020, I was diagnosed with HER2+ stage IIB breast cancer. I was told that this was induced by pregnancy. So, with a 2-year-old and 14-month-old, I had 6 rounds of TCHP, bilateral mastectomy, and 20 rounds of radiation. I am in current treatment with Kadcyla.

I have been married to my loving husband, Justin, for 9 years, we have two beautiful girls, Molly and Maisey , and a chocolate lab, Abby. I am a Registered Nurse and have worked in Cardiology, Emergency Room, Medical floors and currently working away from the bedside focusing on documentation and quality reviews. I love cooking, baking, and gardening.

Before my diagnosis, I had planned to start horseback riding lessons and find an organization to volunteer. That was all put on hold.

After I was diagnosed, I knew that God was going to show me His purpose with this journey. When I came across Hope Held by a Horse everything came full circle for me. I just know that I am supposed to be a part of this program. I couldn’t believe how my interactions with my horse, Gracie, truly changed me in such a small amount of time. A weight was lifted that I didn’t even know needed to be. This experience is life changing! I am so excited to be the Volunteer Coordinator for Hope Held by a Horse.

Annie Young

Jennifer Williams

Equine Gestalt Coach

You were all so warm and compassionate and gently pushed me out of my comfort zone just enough, but not too much. It was a pleasure to spend the day with all of you and your equine friends.

Jen G.


Phone: (720) 316-6178
Email :

12035 N Piney Lake Rd
Parker, CO 80138
Program Location:
Happy Dog Ranch
7811 W Titan Rd
Littleton, CO 80125

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