Ann Alden, MA, PATH International Certified Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning,
Certified Equine Interaction Professional-Educator.
Director of Borderlands Center
Ann was born horse crazy, first started taking riding lessons when she was 8 years old, and earned her first horse when she was 13. She owned and operated Esperanza Stables in Tucson, Arizona from 1977 -1986 and served as a Pony Club instructor during that time. She has been providing equine assisted activities since 1986. Ann received a BA degree in psychology from Newcomb College, a BS degree in ecology and evolutionary biology and a Master’s degree in special education and rehabilitation counseling from the University of Arizona.
In the 1980s, Ann bred several horses that became excellent riding horses, dressage horses and therapy horses. These were all either purebred Arabians or half Arabians. By rescuing other horses such as Bureau of Land Management mustangs, she added more diversity to her herd. She specializes in allowing all her horses to express and develop their own personalities and talents.
She began volunteering at Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT) in 1986 and completed their instructor training program in 1988. In 1992 she became a NARHA (now PATH International) certified instructor. She added the PATH International Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning certification when it was first created and is a Certified Equine Interaction Professional as an Educator.
She was hired by Barbara Rector to work for the EFP program at Sierra Tucson, and in 1992 founded The Riding and Rehabilitation Center, a NARHA Accredited Center in Tucson. From 2001 – 2006 Ann provided equine assisted services at L Lazy E Ranch. She is past president of EFMHA (Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association), a faculty member for the PATH International Equine Specialist certification workshop, and a faculty member for the Adventures in Awareness internship. From January 2009 to May 2012 she served as program director and head instructor at CANTER, a PATH International premier accredited center in Sierra Vista, AZ. She served on the PATH Certification Oversight and the Health and Education Committees for 3 years each.
In 2013 Ann joined the board of directors of the Horses and Humans Research Foundation. In addition to hosting workshops in Sonoita at Borderlands Center Ann is working with Barbara Rector, Dr. Ann Baldwin and others to research and develop the equine program for The Hacienda at the River, a new senior living facility in Tucson as follow up to their previous research into the effects of equine-facilitated learning on both the horses and older adults. Plans are also in the works for a new equine program for cancer survivors to take place at Milagro Riding Club in Tucson. Ann is available for private intensives and mentoring
Ann is a faculty member for the PATH International Equine Facilitated Mental Health and Learning workshop and is available to travel to teach this workshop as the equine specialist member of the teaching team. For more information email Ann Alden. Or contact PATH International.
Jennifer Alden Parker
Jennifer has been riding since she was 3 years old and competed in many disciplines before specializing in dressage. She has competed through Grand Prix, is a USDF Learner Judge Program graduate, and graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in Special Education and Rehabilitation. In her 26 years as a professional, she has won numerous Regional and National Championships, has earned her USDF Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals, and has coached several students to the FEI Levels in dressage.
Jennifer is a firm believer in a rider partnering with the horse in order for the pair to reach its fullest potential. She coaches riders of all ages and abilities as long as they have a desire to learn. She enjoys working with horses of all breeds and has trained and competed Arabians, PREs, and Warmbloods to FEI. Jennifer took students to the North American Young Rider Championships in 2006, 2007, and 2014.
Jennifer’s Honors Thesis, entitled “The Effects of Therapeutic Horseback Riding on Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” was the first of its kind to show statistically significant results for students who rode versus those in the control group. She has been involved with equine assisted activities/therapies since 1986 when she first volunteered at Therapeutic Riding of Tucson (TROT) while in high school.
Sum Punk, a 26-year-old red roan Half Arabian and Half Curly Bashkir, came from Al-Marah Arabians. He was a breeding stallion until he was gelded at age 10. He is absolutely adorable, very smart, wise and a great horse to ride. He’s very laid back and confident so he often supports young horses on the trail. Sum Punk’s body language is subtle, so he’s harder for novices to read, but he is very clear in his feedback once you get to know him. He is more independent than most horses, which makes him seem aloof, but he is quite affectionate in his own way.
Aul Kimaya (Maya for short) is 13 years old (DOB May 2004). She observed sessions for a few years while she was maturing. Now she is an active staff member. She’s an elegant moving, Arabian mare who is smart and sweet and loves people. She is a natural healer as evidenced by her table work to sense health issues on people. She is very sensitive, learns quickly and wants to please.
Chance (DOB 2005) is a chestnut 12 year-old Appendix Quarter horse. He’s very affectionate, sensitive and loves attention. He’s really comfortable to ride in the arena and on the trail and enjoys getting out and about. At 16 h tall he has a long stride and loves to run and play with his best friend Cisco. He was given to Ann Alden in 2103 and had some soundness and trust issues to deal with then. The ability to understand why he had some resistance under saddle was key to unlocking his potential as a riding and therapeutic horse. Knowing when he was distressed instead of disobedient allowed the rider/handler to help him work through his discomfort and focus better while interacting with people.
Cisco (DOB 2011) is a dark brown-black mustang gelding bought from the BLM as a 2 year old. He was one of the first 2 mustangs gentled by inmates at the Florence Prison in Arizona, a new program run by Randy Helm. He is quite a fun loving character and loves attention. He is an excellent trail horse and he loves to play with his friend Chance. Cisco has an outgoing, fun loving personality. He loves to get out on trail rides and interact with people. Until he matures a bit more he won’t be interacting directly with students even though he loves attention from his human friends.
Trudy (DOB April 2006) is a 14 .1 h, ½ Mustang ½ Paint bay mare. She is sweet and loves neck rubs. She is a very sensitive mare, yet also very independent. She can be very wary about new situations, but she is becoming more confident. She wants to connect with the people she is interacting with and looks to the human to stay focused and keep the communication consistent, especially when being ridden. She has gained a lot of confidence in the last year when encountering new situations.
Donna Brave (DOB 2000) is a 15 h ½ Arab ½ Curly Bashkir bay mare. Sum Punk is her grandsire. She is very well trained but is dealing with some arthritis now. She loves attention and is very intuitive. She is a natural healer who also excels at table work. She can quickly identify where the person she’s working with has a health issue and then focuses on that spot for several minutes.
Zannzzibarr (DOB 1994) is a 15 h chestnut Arab mare. Her primary role initially was as a broodmare and she is Oldenburg approved. She is Aul Kimaya’s dam and has also produced several excellent Arabian and Half-Arabian sport horses. At 23 she is now retired from breeding. She loves getting lots of attention. Probably because she has never been a riding horse, she can be more excitable sometimes when one of her stable mates is taken out for a ride. She does like equine-facilitated exercises where she can get more attention and spend more time interacting with people.