AMBER BENNETT, LCMHC
Born and raised in St. Johnsbury, VT on a horse farm, Amber learned at a young age the power that horses have to positively influence human lives.
With a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from UVM and a minor in animal science, Amber went on for a masters in Mental Health Counseling through Walden University.
After completing her masters, Amber took specialized training through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association to provide Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
In her free time, Amber continues to enjoy riding with a focus on reining.
JACKIE GODDARD, MA, NCC
Jackie is from a small town in central Massachusetts. She has ridden horses her entire life and spent the majority of her childhood working and riding at a small Arabian farm where she developed her love for the breed.
Jackie moved to Vermont with her Arabian mare to attend UVM and ride on the UVM Dressage Team. Jackie graduated with her BA in Psychology and Studio Arts. She then went on to get her Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University during which she completed her practicum and internships at the Hope Grows Community Farm Program.
Jackie is currently a rostered non-licensed, board certified psychotherapist. In her free time, Jackie enjoys spending time with her family, pets and the great outdoors! She also enjoys dressage, trail riding and any time at the barn!
A born and raised Vermonter, Kelsey has been working with horses for 19 years.
She started working at Mad River Stables in exchange for lessons in her first year. Learning quickly, in the second and third years she stepped in to help with summer camps and prepping horses for shows. She also learned what it took to own a horse, and ended up buying her first shortly after, who she still loves and rides even in his semi-retired years.
Kelsey then was given an apprenticeship opportunity at the Morgan Horse Farm, with a focus on how to run a large scale operation. Day to day tasks included; large herd management, broodmare management, tours in the given season, and training young horses.
After her apprenticeship, she took over farm maintenance at Steeple Ridge Farm, where she played a key role for a year.
She also worked at Fox Horn Farm as a stable hand for 3 years in the winter and an exercise rider for the school horses.
When she moved to Burlington she took on an active role as a manager for a private farm in Colchester where she worked hand in hand with the owner helping maintain a meticulous barn around very strict guidelines.
Before finding her new home at Hope Grows, she ventured to Ireland at the Coopers Hill Farm. Here she acted as a trek leader for 3 months, trekking out in all sorts of weather, for groups of 1 to 17 riders ranging in ability levels on a variety of terrain, from slow beach rides to fast cross country courses and even a 4-hour mountain trek. As well, she started young horses under saddle and assisted with lessons for 2 advanced riders.
Debbie is a native Vermonter and spent her childhood exploring the beautiful hills, backroads and woods of East Montpelier.
She attended Champlain College and earned a degree in Accounting. Debbie managed a small association in Waterbury for 18 years and worked in Human Resources at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont for over 13 years.
With both her sons now being within a couple of hours drive, she loves taking off to see them, spending time with her two adorable grandsons, or heading to one of her favorite getaways to the coastline of Maine.
Debbie lives in Wolcott with her husband, Steve.
Violet is a high school student at Peoples Academy who began volunteering at Hope Grows four years ago. Through the years, she has learned many important things about working with and caring for horses.
From cleaning stalls to riding, Violet enjoys all aspects of being with horses. She is excited to begin eventing with Cookie this season and working with a young Friesian Quarter Horse cross. She enjoys a challenge and takes all opportunities to advance as a horsewoman.
While Violet’s exact plans for the future aren’t set in stone, she knows that her passion for horses will follow her into her future career.
Elliott Buelter, LICSW
Elliott attended Brevard College in North Carolina as a Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education major before transferring to Appalachian State University and graduating with his Bachelor of Science in Sociology. After working with at-risk adolescents for 7 years in North Carolina, he decided to complete his Master of Social Work at Rhode Island College.
Elliott has been in Vermont for two years now and is loving being back in the mountains. He has seen first-hand how simply being outside in the fresh air and sunshine has the power to create change. Elliott will be providing a recreationally-based therapy known as “Walk and Talk Therapy”. This model perfectly combines nature, therapy, and movement and allows for a great alternative to the traditional in office, face-to-face therapy.
In his free time, Elliott enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, biking, swimming, playing disc golf and exploring new places!