July 28, 2014

Contact: Devon Sachey,  Program Director
Phone: 805.964.1519


Parenting With Awareness An Equine Facilitated Workshop for Families

July 28th, 2014. Santa Barbara, CA. In a move designed to foster parental awareness and improve inter-family interaction and communication, Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center in partnership with Mindful Horse Therapy and Whole Heart Equine today announced an Equine Facilitated Parenting Workshop targeted to local families with children aged 6-16 on August 16th, 2014.

“Parenting can be challenging,” said Kirby Gillispie, Executive Director at Hearts, “Collaborating with groups like CALM and the Santa Barbara Youth Project has cemented our belief that working with horses makes an impact with local families.”

Hearts has  29 years of experience providing equine assisted activities and therapies for children and adults with unique needs in the Santa Barbara County. Organizations that collaborate with Hearts  include the Alpha Resource Center,  the Cancer Center, Jodi House, the Braille Institute and Hillside House.

“Equine facilitated psychotherapy is a unique experience that strengthens our emotional intelligence, helping to identify strengths and challenges families may face,” said Mary Ann Evans, Ph.D., Founder of Mindful Horse Therapy and workshop co-facilitator. “The staff,  volunteers and horses at Hearts provide a safe, open environment for this kind of work.”

Dating back to WWI, equine-facilitated psychotherapy gained official recognition in the US in the 1990’s with the creation of the EFMHA (Equine Facilitated Mental Health Association). As  herd animals, horses naturally read body language and can act as mirrors to the way a human being  communicates. This, in turn, can provide insights into interpersonal and family dynamics.

“This powerful form of learning focuses on the development of trust, bonding, and open communication. It is useful for defining healthy roles within the family,” said Corey Cardenas, Founder of Whole Heart Equine and workshop co-facilitator. “We look forward to facilitating this event and collaborating with Hearts to provide additional equine-assisted learning opportunities  in the future.”

The Parenting with Awareness workshop takes place on Saturday, August 16th, 2014 at Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center. Families with children ages 6-16 are encouraged to pariticpate, please visit  for fees and additional information.

About Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center Hearts is a premiere accredited therapeutic equestrian facility in Santa Barbara, dedicated to increasing the capabilities and independence of children and adults with special needs.  Established in 1985, Hearts has increased the health and happiness of individuals with disabilities or injuries for 29 years.  Hearts also honors US Veterans for their service and assists with the challenges of reintegrating into civilian life.

About Horse Wisdom for the Soul Founder Mary Ann Evans, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical neuropsychologist with over 22 years in private practice and previous university teaching experience.  She has been a serious equestrian for nearly 40 years, riding dressage, as well as founding and instructing at a therapeutic riding program for disabled students.  She is a NARHA/PATH certified instructor.

About Whole Heart Equine Founder Corey Cardenas has been riding since she was three. Trained and certified by EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth And Learning Association) and HIGH (Horse Inspired Growth and Learning), she is fortunate to have an amazing mentor, Suzi Landolphi of Big Heart Ranch, who has shared her expansiveness and inspiration.

May 5, 2014

Contact: Kirby Gillispie, Executive Director
Phone: 805.964.1519


Focused on Abilities Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center Annual Horse Show, May 18th

Santa Barbara, CA.  Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center will be hosting their Annual Horse Show on May 18th, 2014, from 9am-4pm, at their riding facilities located at 4420 Calle Real in Santa Barbara, California. Event highlights include a Veteran’s color-guard, a BBQ, and an awards ceremony.

Hearts works closely with riders of varying disabilities to strengthen, inspire, and encourage their overall well-being. By employing equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) the Hearts Horse Show celebrates student’s abilities by showcasing their skills in various classes held throughout the day.

“This is an event we look forward to all year,” said Devon Sachey, Program Director. “Not only is it a time for our students to demonstrate their riding skills, but it’s also a time for us to acknowledge the incredible generosity and efforts of the supporters, families and volunteers that help make this work possible.”

 The Hearts Horse Show is free for spectators and the public is encouraged to attend.

More details about the Horse Show 

When: May 18th, 2014, 9:00AM to 4:00PM

Where: Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center, at 4420 Calle Real, Santa Barbara, CA. Directions can be found at

Activities include: The Horse Show, rider demonstrations, face painting, a special Veteran’s tribute, Welcome and Information Pavilion. A BBQ lunch will be available for purchase.

About Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center Established in 1985, Hearts employs equine assisted activities to inspire, strengthen, and motivate children and adults with special needs. Hearts is a 501(C) 3 non-profit organization and is recognized by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH) as a “premier center” — the highest possible level of accreditation, demonstrating a superior level of adherence to national industry standards.

February 9th, 2014 

Contact: Kirby Gillispie, Executive Director
Phone: 805.964.1519


Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center Announces New Program Director to Develop Veteran and Therapeutic Riding Programs

Wednesday, February 9th, 2014. Santa Barbara, CA. Today, Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center announced the appointment of Devon Sachey, previously of the YMCA Camp Carter Equestrian Center in Texas, as Program Director. Sachey will be responsible for all aspects of the therapeutic horseback riding programs, including a new, specialized focus on veterans.

“I am extremely excited to be a part of Hearts,” said Sachey. “Horses have always been an important part of my life, and I believe in their ability to bring joy and hope to people suffering from a variety of physical and cognitive challenges. Whether you’re an adult with Alzheimers, a child with autism, or a veteran with PTSD, Hearts has produced incredible results. I look forward to being part of those moments.”

Born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA, Sachey has over 25 years of equestrian experience. Growing up on the Raintree Ranch Equestrian Center, she participated in the Tecelote Pony Club, placed in competitive events, and taught riding to both children and adults. Sachey served in the US Marine Corps for five years and was commended for her superior performance. She went on to receive a BA from Northwood University, then served as Interim Director and Riding Instructor at the YMCA Camp Carter Equestrian Center in Forth Worth, Texas. Later, she became the Operations and Markeitng Director of Bardsley Products, Inc.

“Devon is uniquely qualified to guide the continuing growth and development of the therapeutic riding programs at Hearts,” said Kirby Gillispie, Executive Director of Hearts. “Her in-depth equine knowledge, business acumen and military background is a perfect match for our needs.”

Established in 1985, Hearts has primarily focused on individuals with physical, emotional, and/or cognitive disabilities. Moving into 2014, Hearts looks to make an impact with veterans, further developing their “Hearts for Heroes” program, in which any veteran is entitled to receive free lessons and equine interaction, depending on their needs. “A disability does not have to limit a person from riding a horse,” says Gillispie. “We’re here to help with that.”

About Hearts Therapeutic Equestrian Center Established in 1985, Hearts employs equine assisted activities and therapies to inspire, strengthen, and motivate people of all ages and capabilities.