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Our Team:

Allison Wheaton

Executive Director, PATH Reg Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist, EAGALA Equine Specialist. She grew up with horses and knows first hand the therapeutic benefits they bring to our lives. Allison was drawn to Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies because of the power that horses have to help people.  She founded Summit Equestrian Center in 2010 with the mission to improve the lives of children and adults of ALL abilities through interaction with horses. Allison has been a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor since 2007 and is a certified Equine Specialist through PATH Intl and EAGALA, and has taken several courses through the EponaQuest programs.  Having this wide variety of knowledge and experience allows her to be resourceful and help individuals with their unique circumstances.  Her laid back style and contagious energy creates a barn atmosphere that is conducive to laughter, transparency, and fun.  She is the fearless leader of an eclectic “herd” at Summit that includes: our horses, a miniature donkey, a miniature horse, a dwarf miniature horse, two pygmy goats, chickens, a duck, cats, and her two faithful dogs Shelby and Bernie


Becca Snider MA, lmhc

Becca is a licensed mental health therapist. Over the years she has found that in-office counseling is not always an effective treatment option. For many, sitting in an office and talking about feelings is too intimidating to even begin.  For others, they have tried therapy and it seemed to be unhelpful or the therapist was not a good fit.  Some have experienced traditional in-office therapy and know what to say or do and yet continue to struggle to implement those strategies into their daily life. 
 In order to help these individuals she sought certification in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy through EAGALA .Becca believes that participants often need to find the best solutions for themselves and can do so when given the right opportunity. This model allows participants an opportunity to “do” something in each session by working with the horses. Rather than instructing or directing, Becca and Allison facilitate activities that allow participants to experiment, problem-solve, take risks, employ creativity, and find the solutions that work best for them. Participants are able to personally evaluate patterns that occur in the arena and make parallels and metaphorical connections to their life.   
 Becca utilizes an integrative therapeutic approach to empower individuals to meet their personal goals and live the life they desire. She uses cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, solution focused therapy, behavioral therapy, and psychoeducation.  
 Her passion is working with clients using equine-assisted psychotherapy to facilitate positive and lasting change in a relaxed non-traditional therapy setting. She has a great love for and extensive experience working with children, adolescents, and their families. She strives for each of her clients, regardless of age, to leave the barn feeling a little better from their time with the horses, having laughed a little, and taking home some nugget of truth to implement in their daily life.     


Rita Spears

The Summit Hippotherapy team is lead by Rita Spears, Physical Therapist.  She has spent three decades helping children and adults with neurological challenges like cerebral palsy, stroke and head injury.  Rita has been involved in hippotherapy in the Fort Wayne area since 2002 through her Dream Big Therapy.  She is assisted by Jenni Walters and Lisa Chambers, Physical Therapist Assistants and horse enthusiasts.  Jenni and Lisa grew up in the local 4H community and bring great enthusiasm and knowledge to the team.  Lisa worked with Children's Therapy Plusa organization that incorporates hippotherapy in their services.   The Hippotherapy team never fails to be amazed at clients who use equine therapy to discover hope, independence and healing in ways only made possible throught the magic touch of a horse.

 

Our equine staff come to us from a wide variety of backgrounds, from retired show horses and race horses to backyard buddies and family horses.  Many of them are rescues and lend a unique perspective to our sessions.