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About Us

Family Background

As fifth generation Marin County residents, the Freitas sisters and their family are part of the rich agricultural history of Marin County. Beginning in the early 1900s their family ran and operated dairy ranches where their father grew up hunting, riding horses and ranching. Their father continued the family tradition of raising cattle in West Marin. The three young sisters would ride around on their ponies while he and his ranching partner roped, branded and doctored the cattle. The sisters continue to ride together, often times with their father, in the beautiful West Marin countryside.

 


PROGRAM DIRECTORS

Nancy Freitas LambertNancy Freitas Lambert, PsyD
EAGALA Certified Equine Specialist
Licensed Clinical Psychologist, PSY 23070

Nancy Freitas Lambert is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the treatment of trauma and addiction. She began her graduate studies at Dominican University in 1998 with a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. She received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the Wright Institute in Berkeley in 2005. She has a private practice in San Rafael and Point Reyes Station, where she works with clients who are in recovery from addiction and past trauma. Nancy believes strongly in community support and has focused her career on active participation in helping those in need. She is the Director of the Ritter Center Outreach Program, where she provides weekly supervision to the intern-therapists. For the last five years, she has served on the Board for Marin Services for Women, a chemical dependency inpatient facility, and she is also a Board member for West Marin Senior Services and The Freitas Foundation.

Nancy grew up riding horses. At age ten, she was given a young colt to raise and train, by her father. During that time, she spent most afternoons with horses. Usually riding all over the hills in San Geronimo Valley, she also spent time showing horses at Dickson Ranch, both in English jumping class and also western play-days. On the weekends, she rode out in Point Reyes Station with her sisters and her father. Although in time, she pursued other interests, her love and passion for horses never wavered. In the last decade, Nancy has integrated horses back into her life. In the last six years, she has attended many horse clinics focusing on horsemanship, working with cows, trail riding, and basic horse knowledge. She lives in West Marin with her husband, three dogs, three cats and six horses.


Megan Freitas NealeMegan Freitas Neale, M.Ed
Certified Waldorf Educator
Secondary Education Credential

Megan Freitas Neale is an educator and therapeutic riding instructor. After graduating from UC Santa Barbara, with a BA in History, she moved to the mountains of Colorado to pursue a Masters in Education and a secondary education teaching credential. Megan taught high school social studies before beginning her own family. Later her children led her to discover Waldorf Education where she eventually became a fully certified Waldorf teacher and returned to her passion for education, teaching grade school students. It is through the fundamental relationship between education, movement and the natural world, specifically horses, that she has found a learning edge for her students. Megan is a skilled therapeutic riding teacher for children and an active equine specialist. Megan's commitment to community involvement has led her to be an active volunteer in Waldorf education, teacher training and for her local community. She is currently serving as a Board member and Secretary for The Freitas Foundation.

As her children developed their own love of horses, Megan became involved again with horses on a daily basis. Beginning with their first family pony, Milo, Megan and her family have engaged in breeding, training, running summer pony camps for children and equine injury rehabilitation with many horses over the years. Megan has co-managed a small equine boarding facility in Point Reyes Station since 2005 enjoying the daily contact of caring for horses. She lives in Inverness, California, with her husband, two daughters, six horses, three ponies, two dogs, two goats and a cat.


Diane Freitas PhillipsDiane Freitas Phillips
EAGALA Certified Practitioner

Diane Freitas Phillips studied psychology at San Francisco State University before entering the computer industry where she worked for over 15 years. In 1988 Diane began her career working for Steve Jobs at NexT Computer, Inc. In 1992 she moved to Steve Jobs’ Pixar Animation Studios where she experienced their string of successes; Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2 and Pixar’s Initial Public Offering. After eight years at Pixar, she opted to stay home and raise her two young children. Diane volunteered regularly in her children’s schools and interacted with the Board of Trustees helping determine policy for various issues such as nutrition and authentic assessment. She became interested in alternative educational methods that embrace individual learning styles. In 2009 she worked with filmmakers Tom & Amy Valens on an inspiring documentary film about alternative education entitled "August to June" (www.augusttojune.com). Diane currently serves as a Board member for The Freitas Foundation.

When she was two years old, Diane was given her first pony. She fell in love with him and had a deep love for horses throughout her childhood. In the last decade she has reconnected with horses in various ways. Beginning with Frosty, a frisky young pony for her children, she embraced the joy of caring for and riding horses again. Later she took a job at a local stable mucking stalls and riding boarded horses on the trails of the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed in her spare time. With her children growing up and venturing out in to the world today, Diane continues to integrate horses back in to her life by taking riding lessons, attending clinics and riding the trails of Marin with her sisters and father. In 2011 she became certified in the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association model of equine therapy (www.eagala.org). Diane lives in Fairfax with her husband and two children.


ADDITIONAL STAFF

Laurie HuntLaurie Hunt, MFT
Marriage and Family Therapy

Laurie Hunt is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who grew up in Marin County. Upon graduating from Mills College with a BA in Cultural Anthropology, she moved to Southern Spain. She had fallen in love with the Spanish culture while living there in high school and in college. After teaching English for two years in Spain, she returned to the Bay Area to work as a production manager for Chaiken and Capone clothing. Later, using her passion for other cultures, she secured her ideal job combining travel and writing for a business journal in Lisbon, Portugal. When her father died unexpectedly, Laurie 's life turned upside down with grief. It was during this challenging time she knew that she wanted to be a psychotherapist, and graduated from Pacifica Graduate Institute with a Masters in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Depth therapy in 2004. After graduating she was a bilingual school counselor while developing her private practice. She recently took a job with the County of Marin supervising ACASA which is a Spanish speaking peer counseling program for older adults.

Laurie is thrilled to be a part of Wonder Equine Therapy for as a young woman she developed her own powerful relationship with horses. This experience sparked a belief that horses easily serve as a dynamic force that can inspire change. She is earnest in her desire to guide people to their true sense of self, recognizing equine therapy as a special means for discovering a sense of empowerment. Laurie lives with her husband and two young children in San Anselmo.


Kim MacLean RDH,CCHT
EAGALA Certified Equine Specialist
Registered Dental Hygienist
Certified Clinical Hypnoptherapist

Kim has been a resident of Marin for over 30 years. Originally she grew up in North Dakota and was the daughter of a farmer/cattle rancher.These early years shaped her love for the outdoors and provided her with many hours of horseback experience, working cattle and 20 mile cattle drives twice a year . In second grade she attended her first Little Britches Rodeo. She competed and won the steer riding event. After beating the boys and winning her first belt buckle she was hooked! . She traveled with the little britches circuit and performed at intermissions standing on the back of her horse twirling a baton. She went on to join the local 4H Horsemanship Club and the Maude Evans Saddle Club whom honored her as their Rodeo Queen. Kim trained 3 horses and competed with two of them in North and South Dakota by the age of 16. Some of the events she enjoyed were Halter Class, Western Pleasure,Western Riding,Reining,Barrel Racing , Pole Bending and Goat Tying. She was chosen Miss Teenage South Central North Dakota and highlighted horseback riding as her talent. She is a member of Novato Horseman's and more recently attended a month long natural horsemanship intensive. She has had 1 horse for 17 years and rescued 3 others.

Kim received her Dental Hygiene degree from the North Dakota College of Science. After moving to California and living in S.F. she was president of the San Francisco Dental Hygiene Society. Currently she practices general and periodontal dentistry in Marin.

Combining her work with people and being a lifelong horse enthusiast lead her to become a Certified Equine Specialist. She feels her work with Wonder Equine Therapy is a respectful way to introduce people to horses and give them an opportuniy to have empowering insights about themselves through their experience.

Kim and her husband enjoy living in Novato and developing Ridge Ranch. (www.ridgeranch.net), a second site for Wonder Equine Therapy. Her 93 year old father-in-law resides with them along with their horses and 2 dogs. She has two grown step children who help out with the horses occasionally.

 
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"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