Kristen Kallai

Director of Operations
[email protected]

Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Kristen has always had a passion for horses. She moved to Santa Barbara in 2008 and made it her home. After being a stay-at-home mom for 4 years, she came to Hearts as a volunteer. Before long she found herself happily involved in the Hearts volunteer program most days of the week! And while the horses are what she initially came for, it was the people of Hearts that captured her heart. 

Duane Harsh Hearts Riding Santa Barbara

Duane Harsh

Equine & Facilities Manager
[email protected]

Duane came to Santa Barbara in 2012 and found a volunteer opportunity at Hearts as a way to give back and keep himself busy.  It was at Hearts he found his first experiences with horses. His previous skills in construction, race cars and ranch life all found purpose in a new position at Hearts as the Equine and Facilities Manager. Duane is the one who can fix anything and teach anyone.


Kiz Richter

Volunteer Coordinator 
[email protected]

Growing up, Kiz was so obsessed with horses that she wanted to be one when she grew up. She shifted her focus and earned a degree in Environmental Sciences from Indiana University and a Masters degree from the London School of Economics. Kiz moved to Santa Barbara in 1999 and worked in the tech industry doing Program and Partner Management.

As a way to reconnect with horses, and to fulfill the yearning for helping people, she came to Hearts as a volunteer in 2017 and was a long-time Team Captain, as well as part of the barn crew. It was a natural shift to join the Hearts staff in 2021. She and her husband live in Santa Barbara and can often be found doing some sort of outdoor activity with their dog Lily.


Alicia D'anna

Assistant Barn Manager

Was a city girl from New York (in addition to many years in North Carolina and 3 years in Germany) until moving to Santa Barbara in 1991. Living in and around the city did not stop her from loving horses and asking for one every Christmas and birthday. Unfortunately that didn’t go her way, but luckily she found Hearts and started volunteering in 2017, gradually ending her career in art direction and design for catalog companies and joining Hearts staff in 2019. 

Alicia enjoys traveling with her husband to Spain to visit family. At home she likes working out, yoga and attempting to grow a tiny garden. If you know Alicia then you’ve also met her pups, Vivian and Frieda.

Murray Neale

Murray Neale

PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Murray began teaching people with disabilities at the age of 14 when one of her mother’s friends brought a young girl, who was blind, to visit the stable. Murray helped introduce her to the world of horses, and she was amazed by the girl’s reaction. Murray continued to work with her throughout high school. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion for connecting horses and people with disabilities. 

She earned her certification as a therapeutic riding instructor at the Cheff Center in Michigan. While working on her Masters’ thesis in Physical Education, Murray developed a therapeutic riding program for United Cerebral Palsy of New York City. Murray continued developing programs and teaching therapeutic riding while working with the United Cerebral Palsy Center in Sullivan County, UCP in Manhattan, and Winslow Therapeutic Riding in New Jersey.

Murray came to Hearts in 2020 after retiring as executive director of the Charleston Area Therapeutic Riding, Inc. (CATR). During her 23 years at CATR, the program grew from 12 students at a borrowed facility to serving over 175 students on its 30-acre farm, employing two dozen horses and a staff of twenty.

Kelly Gould

Kelly Fields-Meyer Gould

Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Program Coordinator, Assistant Barn Manager

Raised on a ranch outside of Los Angeles, Kelly has been riding horses practically since she could walk. While working as an elementary school teacher, Kelly connected with Hearts in 2022 as the summer camp manager to spend her time off from school combining her passions of education and working with horses. After her first summer on staff, Kelly knew that she wanted to continue spending every day bringing all that horses have to offer to the people who need it most. 

In her free time, you can find Kelly and her partner hiking with their cattle dog Kaldi, cuddling with their two cats Arnie and Oslo, doing yoga, or going out swing dancing.


DeeDee Conrad

Development & Marketing 

DeeDee joins the Hearts team from the Conrad Collective on a consulting basis and handles all fundraising and development. She is passionate about connecting individuals to causes they care about and has a deep respect for the mission of Hearts. 

Lauren Hayes

Lauren Hayes MA, AMFT

Mental Health Professional

Lauren earned her master’s degree in counseling psychology and is a registered Associate Marriage Family Therapist. Her experience includes working in the community mental health and school setting to support adolescents and families.

Lauren’s lifelong love of horses and passion for working with youth led her to volunteer at Hearts many years ago. She received her certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning from PATH in 2017, and has been practicing equine-guided psychotherapy and equine-assisted learning in Santa Barbara for 5+ years

Photography by Emily Hart-Roberts

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