Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center

Our Staff

Rebecca Caruso, LCSW, Clinical Program Director

Rebecca joined the Hidden Acres team in 2014 as a PATH Intl. certified therapeutic riding instructor. She also maintains certification as an equine specialist in mental health and learning. Rebecca has more than 20 years experience as a licensed clinical social worker with experience working with children, adolescents, families and survivors of trauma and abuse. After spending a year as the interim Program Director of Hidden Acres, she is now the Clinical Program Director, focusing on serving populations with mental health issues and social/emotional challenges through equine facilitated learning and therapy. She is also developing Hidden Acres programs for mindfulness, self awareness and self discovery. Rebecca enjoys horseback riding, cross country skiing and hiking in her time away from the farm.

Angela Kennedy, B.S. TRI; Program Director and Volunteer Coordinator

Angela recently graduated from the University of New Hampshire where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Equine Science and a concentration in Therapeutic Riding. Angela obtained her PATH Intl. Therapeutic riding instructor certification in 2015. She has over 17 years of experience in Hunter/Jumper competition, and riding. Angela has been an important part of the Hidden Acres team since September of 2019. She has served in a capacity of instructor, volunteer coordinator and is now taking on a new role as Program Director of our therapeutic riding program. We are all excited to have Angela lead the farm in a new direction with the entire team!

Nancy Moore, Barn Manager

Nancy Moore is our Hidden Acres Barn Manager and PATH Certified Therapeutic Carriage Driving Instructor. Lifelong horseman with a background in hunters and over 20 years of carriage driving experience.

Amy Coulter, Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Amy Coulter is a PATH certified instructor and a specialist in Equine Facilitated Mental Health and Learning. Prior to moving to Connecticut in 2007, she was a therapeutic riding instructor at Lancaster County Therapeutic Riding (now Greystone Manor Therapeutic Riding in Lancaster, PA. Amy is a retired attorney specializing in school law and special education.

Anthony “Tony” Cota, Garden Director

Tony joins us this year as Garden Director. A lifelong organic grower, he was introduced to the concept of living soil and no till gardening about a decade ago. He has learned through his research that providing a habitat where living soil thrives naturally, the overall quality and yield of the plants increase dramatically. The plants become vibrantly healthy and resilient, nutrient dense, and pests and disease decrease. Tony continues to expand his knowledge of living soil habitats and we are so grateful to have him on our Hidden Acres team!

Katherine “Nina” Levenduski, Barn Staff

Nina has had a lifelong interest and love of horses starting in early childhood. Riding lessons started as soon as she was old enough, and as a teenager she rode and cared for her own horses at home. While a student at Skidmore College, Nina participated in the college riding program and polo team, and took summer jobs in a variety of equine settings, including as an exercise rider and polo groom. After over a decade of working as a professional geologist, Nina decided to change careers and looked for ways to bring horses and a healthier lifestyle back into her life. She attended Equine Husbandry courses at Post University, has worked and volunteered for the past several years at therapeutic riding centers, and hopes to become a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor. Nina is also a yoga instructor trained and registered with Yoga Alliance and Accessible Yoga and currently owns a quarter horse named Lumiere. We are so grateful she has joined our team!

Aurora Proulx, Barn Staff

Aurora started volunteering at Hidden Acres two years ago as a freshman in High School. She recently got promoted to work on the weekends and care for the horses. Aurora is currently a junior and taking a horse management class. She has many years of experience riding and caring for horses. She has ridden both western and English and currently takes lessons at Hidden Acres to expand her riding skills. She also has tried barrel racing. Aurora has enjoyed gymnastics most of her life. We are so excited to have her on our team!

Jennifer Johnson, Media Producer

Jennifer has been a media industry professional for over two decades. Prior to joining Hidden Acres TRC, she worked in television and film as a gaffer, grip and camera assistant. Most recently, she was a director of photography, photographer and editor for a busy video marketing team . When not working, Jennifer enjoys capturing photos & videos of her family, reading and writing. She loves working with the staff and horses at HATRC and strives to tell a story with her work.

Juan Sampedro, Facilities Manager

Juan has been working at Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center going on two years. Aside from taking care of over 80 acres of property, he often makes himself available to feed and care for our horses. He spends his free time enjoying sports, especially basketball.

Sandy Lee, Director of Development

Sandy joins us with 20+ years of experience supporting non-profits in fundraising, event planning, marketing, and budget management. She is a past board member of the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, where she served as their marketing chair and believes wholeheartedly in advocacy and living united. Sandy currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Exceptional Sidekick, Inc. supporting their mission to place psychiatric service dogs with disabled youth. She is truly thankful to be part of the Hidden Acres team dedicated to helping people change their lives for the better.

In her time away from the farm, Sandy trains dogs, bakes cookies, and enjoys hiking with her two adult kids and their dogs. We are thrilled to have Sandy as part of our team.

 

Sarah Thorpe, Volunteer Coordinator

Sarah Thorpe joins us as Volunteer Coordinator. Sarah was born and raised in Woodbury, Connecticut. She attended Nonnewaug’s Agri-science program in 2008 and graduated from Central Connecticut State University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Social work. 

Sarah has always had a passion to help individuals with various needs through equine assisted activities. 

From 2017 to 2021 Sarah built her skill set working as a volunteer coordinator at a PATH accredited program in Central Connecticut. In 2019 Sarah and her husband, Corey purchased their home and now tend to a small hobby farm tucked into the woodlands of Litchfield County. Most recently, in late March of 2021, Sarah and Corey were given the gift of parenthood; Welcoming Annie Mae, their first born into the world! 

Amy Lopez, Therapeutic riding instructor

Amy Lopez, Path International CTRI has been riding horses for twenty years. She loves working outside, has worked with dairy goats and has organic vegetable and cut flower farming experience.

Amy became a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor in early 2020. Her favorite part of being an instructor is making a connection with her riders and helping them achieve their goals using their own strengths. An avid learner, Amy is excited to continually learn and improve her teaching methods to be able to further meet and exceed the needs of her riders. Outside of teaching, Amy loves to spend time with her two dogs, do creative projects, and hoop dance.