"The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact with the rare elements of
grace, beauty, spirit, and fire."     – Sharon Ralls Lemon

Our Model & Our Team

Katie has always had a passion for horses and a deep desire to see people succeed. She found the perfect fit for her dual passions in equine-assisted development. Katie understands the desire for authentic relationships in life, which horses naturally offer. Katie founded Willow Equine in 2012 to serve those looking to escape the chaos of everyday life, achieve personal growth, or develop team building skills. In 2018, she founded Soul to Sole Connections, a program focused exclusively on the mental health of veterans and their families.

 Eagala, an international non-profit, has set the standards for professional excellence, in how horses and humans work together. They work to improve the quality of mental health of individuals, families and   groups worldwide. Watch a Vimeo on Eagala.

  Eagala has a distinct, experiential framework, designed to allow clients the latitude to discover, learn and grow from the horse -  human relationship. Willow Equine abides by the Eagala Standards:

  1.) Activities are Ground Based (No riding or horsemanship needed or taught)
2.) Team Approach ( Horses, a Licensed Mental Health Professionals & an Equine Specialist are in every session)
3.) Client Centered & Solution-Oriented ( Watch a Vimeo on the Sessions)
4.) Adhere to a Code of Ethics
Ashton is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), National Board Certified Counselor, and certified Eagala mental health specialist. She holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the UNC-Asheville. She has extensive training in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST). Ashton has experience with a variety of populations including adult and adolescent Borderline Personality disorder and borderline traits, in-home therapy with teens at risk for out of home placement due to behavioral issues, substance use and dual diagnosis, teens in residential placement for sexual acting out behaviors, grief and palliative care counseling, and children and teens with autism spectrum diagnoses.

Ashton believes in the calming and uplifting effects animals can have in increasing mindfulness and tolerance of stress and painful emotions. She feels the Eagala model offers the perfect blend of nature and evidence based practices. Ashton has an office in Mooresville and Winston Salem, NC and she accepts private pay, BCBS-NC, and Cigna. Her number is 704.883.6969. Visit her website!
Katie was introduced to Equine-Assisted Personal Development in 2009, and is Advanced Eagala certified Equine Specialist. She is the Director of Horse Business Whisperer, a program dedicated to the business growth of equine professionals. Katie is a certified Leadership Coach as well as a Master Practitioner for the Energy Leadership Index, which is on the Forbes Top 10 Coaching Tools. She is a Certified 48 HR Breakthrough Coach & Trainer that allows clients to look beyond "their box" and onto their higher self. Katie works to align client's spiritual & financial success using the Sacred Money Archetypes. Her intuitive passion lies with embracing Horse Medicine for Higher Purpose and balance. Her unique skill sets, combined with the power of the horses, drive clients across the finish line in life and business! Connect with her!
Katie Stankiewicz, CPC
Phone: 704.237.0644
Ashton Burdick, LCMHC
Hunter is a Marriage and Family Therapist (MFT-A). She holds a Master's Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Appalachian State University and a Bachelors Degree in Psychology from the UNC-Charlotte. Hunter believes that all people are inherently creative and innovative. Through our creative spirits we are able to find unique outcomes to help heal. We all seek a closeness to others through deep and meaningful relationships and therapy is a way we can help those relationships develop in a healthy way. She works with clients by looking at each relationship in their lives rather than focusing only on the individual.
Hunter Adams, MFT-A
Hunter works with clients experiencing depression, anxiety, life changes, relationship conflict and is especially passionate about working with children and families affected by special needs, such as autism. Hunter also has a deep understanding of chronic illnesses and their impact on mental health and overall functioning. Her office is at Thrive Counseling & Wellness in Mooresville and she accepts private pay, BCBS and Medicaid. Her number is 980.231.1177. Connect with her!
Jennifer specializes in working with women to heal wounds from trauma, and teaches tools to empower self and build relationships. She is experienced in partnering with individuals to restore strained relationships and overcome difficulties resulting from Separation/Divorce, Emotional, Verbal, Physical, Spiritual, Sexual Abuse. Jennifer's expertise is in using experiential activities in order to go deeper than "talk therapy". She is passionate about teaching you how to establish healthy boundaries in relationships, how to value and love yourself, and how to connect with your spirituality.

In addition to her private practice, Jennifer is a Contract Therapist at Onsite Workshops near Nashville, TN where she leads Experiential Intensives for individuals and couples. Jennifer is EMDR trained. It is her desire to provide a safe, judgment FREE place for you. Jennifer owns Freedom Counseling, with an office near Birkdale, and accepts BCBS-NC & private pay. Her number is 704.796.1918. Connect with her!
Jen Roach, LPC
Animal assisted therapy has been a passion of Julia's since getting her Masters from the University of North Carolina. Julia has been working professionally with horses since 2014. She enjoys working with animals to help people understand and cope with their trauma or situations, because she has seen what it has done not only for others, but herself. Sharing this type of healing experience with others, is not only exciting but an honor.

Julia works with adolescents, young adults and adult clients with a range of mental health and other life problems. She has background in working with severe and persistent mental illnesses, domestic violence, relationships and more. Julia is a true believer of the Eagala model and incorporates her Gestalt and other therapeutic ideologies into her sessions. She is part of Davidson Family Therapy and her office is in downtown Cornelius, NC. She accepts private pay, BCBS-NC and Aetna. Her number is 704.912.4095. Read her Blog! Connect with her!
Julia Rose, LCMHC-A
Laura earned her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from UNC-Charlotte. Laura has over fifteen years of experience working with children and families in the field of mental health and substance abuse. She has worked in the school, community, and University setting. Some of her specialties are trauma, grief and loss, and helping individuals with adjustment. She teaches college-aged students in the areas of Emotional Wellness and Crisis Counseling and is on a local non-profit board helping meet the needs of vulnerable children.

Laura enjoys helping clients overcome obstacles, discover their passions, and meet their fullest potential. She utilizes and integrates Cognitive Behavioral therapy, Solution Focused therapy and an existential approach when working with clients. She takes time to make each client feel valued and heard. She is a part of Integrative Wellness Solutions and her office is in Mooresville. She accepts private pay, BCBS-NC and Medicaid. Her number is 704.584.9115. Connect with her! 

Laura Finney, LCMHC-A
Horses have been a part of Mary's life since the age of six. Growing up, she enjoyed dressage and combined training. At age 22, Mary sold her horse to study at Duke Divinity School and pursue ordination in the United Methodist Church. In 2004, Mary completed a Doctorate of Ministry in Pastoral Psychotherapy. She is a North Carolina Certified Pastoral Counselor. Her work includes psycho dynamic therapy with individuals, couples, families and groups. She is an adjunct faculty member of Davidson Centre of the Professions. She holds degrees from Centre College, Duke Divinity School and Graduate Theological Foundation.

Mary found the Eagala model to be a perfect integration of blending her love for both horses and the art of psychotherapy. Mary has a private practice in Huntersville and accepts private pay, BCBS-NC and AHO. Her number is 704.560.0525. Connect with her!
Morgan believes that horse play an integral part in personal development. She enjoys providing the opportunity to cultivate personal growth, integrity, trust and responsibility in an equestrian environment of love and respect. Morgan enjoys and appreciates all aspects of horses. Her heart lies in the relationship with them.

Morgan grew up handling, riding, showing and breeding horses. She graduated from Virginia Intermont College with a B.A. in Equestrian Studies. Morgan owns Kindred Equestrian, is a certified American Riding Instructor (ARIA) and became Eagala certified in 2018. She also is a PMFE (Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field Therapy) practitioner, which is drug-free alternative therapy to improve cellular function. Morgan also  completes in agility with her two Parson Russell Terriers! Eddie is Nationally ranked as the #1 PRT for 2017 and has 5 Master Agility Championships. Lux is just starting her agility adventure! Read her Blog - Savvy Sippin' Mom

Morgan Rhodes
Mary Kinken, D.Min
Maria has always had a passion for helping children, teens, individuals, couples and families cope with difficulties in their lives. Her desire is to help clients experience healing and life change through faith-centered therapy. Maria is a Licensed Professional Counselor. She received her BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a MA in Christian Counseling from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. She has attended the Advanced Eagala training as well.

Maria has experience in working with a wide range of struggles to include depression, anxiety, stress, communication, martial affairs, divorce, childhood trauma and teen issues. Maria is Level II Certified through Eagala, EMDR trained, DBT trained and Prepare/Enrich Certified Facilitator.  Maria is a part of Kannapolis Counseling Group, and her office is in Kannapolis, NC. She accepts private pay and BCBS-NC. Her number is 828.387.5735. Connect with her!
Maria Russell, LCMHCS