The Mission of the Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP) is to promote voluntary, independent certification by examination and verification of professional experience for those who incorporate equines into their mental health or education/coaching practice.

The CBEIP is based in the U.S. with Canadian and Australian representation on the board. Examination is internationally accessible and applicants from all over the world are welcome. The CBEIP provided its first examinations in 2007.

Certified practitioners abide by the CBEIP Code of Ethics.

Board of Directors

The CBEIP Board of Directors actualizes the Mission of the Board.

Stephanie Holdenried , CEIP-ED, Co-Chair

Stephanie Holdenried is a 6th generation partner in a Californian family ranching business. Her primary work, however, is as an equine facilitator. She creates and facilitates programs drawing from life on the land, being in business with family, and a multitude of lessons learned from the horse.  

Stephanie contributes to inspiring the next generation of land stewards and leaders through innovative programs like Marin Ranch School, a learning program for 8-13 year-olds, combining horse-ranch management and on-the-ground horse skills with equine therapy.

She regularly facilitates teens in recovery programs and teaches leadership with horses to kids from underserved communities through Ocean Riders of Marin, where she also serves on the Board of Directors. 

Stephanie continues to expand her work with business leaders, mastermind groups, and ranchers through networking events, private retreats, and one-to-one mentoring.  Stephanie graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.

Eleni Argy, BA; CEIP-ED, Co-Chair

Eleni Argy is the Founder of Sheez Like the Wind Equine Experiences as well as Equine Experience International, based in Sydney, Australia. With an Honors degree in Humanities from Harvard University, further graduate studies in Social Sciences, and a Diploma in Gestalt Therapy, Eleni specializes in working with youth and families through a successful career in community services, mental health support, and education. 

Eleni is a certified Practitioner in Integrative Wellness and Professional Life Coach, as well as a Master Practitioner in Tibetan Usui Reiki. She incorporates holistic health and well-being practices, as well as HeartMath and Post Traumatic Growth principles, into her work with horses and people.

Eleni has devised and facilitated alternative learning programs through countless educational institutions and community organizations worldwide, and has been a lecturer and facilitator in various colleges and universities across the globe. Eleni’s innovative experiential learning programs in Equine Assisted Education, Therapy, and Well-being support an ever-evolving international community, through a global network of humans connecting in a meaningful way with horses.

Janet Schieferdecker, MBA, CEIP-ED, Treasurer

Janet is a leadership development coach and facilitator who works with the help of horses. She is passionate about helping leaders and their organizations shift from reactivity and toxicity to creativity, positivity, and vibrancy.

Janet believes that the most essential way for the world to become balanced is for each of us to embody our highest values. And she has found that partnering with horses enables humans to create a strong body reference experience for how we really want to show up in the world.

In the 20+ years since she left her international corporate career, Janet has coached/trained hundreds of executives worldwide. She holds an MBA from London Business School, is an NLP Master Practitioner, a Certified Equine Interaction Professional (CEIP-ED), and a Horse Dream Licensed Partner.

Linda Kraft, BA; BEd, CEIP-ED, Secretary

Linda graduated from the University of Lethbridge, Alberta Canada in 2002 with a combined degree of Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in Kinesiology with a Minor in Community Health Focus.

For the past 10 years, she has been teaching at a rural school in Irvine, Alberta Canada in addition to being the school’s Athletic Director.

She teaches Physical Education and Health Studies to junior high students in addition to facilitating the school’s Equestrian riding program and recently an Equine Interaction program for Junior High Students. In addition to this, she started an ‘Equestrian Club’ that will commence again for its 3rd year in the spring. The Equine Club takes place after school where kids ranging from grades 3-9 get to come out and be mentored by professional rodeo athletes, equine professionals, and trainers. Linda lives on a ranch near Irvine, AB Canada with her husband, a daughter who is 11, and a son who is 7 years old. Linda serves as a board member on Irvine Minor Hockey Association as a tournament coordinator. She is also recently a new board member of the Irvine Agriculture Society where her vision is to see an indoor riding facility built next to the school, allowing for greater accessibility for students to be able to participate in equine-assisted learning throughout the school day.

Linda is the owner/operator of ‘Avalon Equine’, and her main area of expertise is in supporting pre-teens’ and teens’ self-esteem by focusing on confidence building, resiliency, self-concept, self-awareness, and how to express and manage emotions effectively. Another area of focus is in corporate and group programs focusing on team building, relationship development, self-awareness, conflict resolution, and group collaboration problem-solving techniques. She is also passionate about the elderly community and the benefits that equine interaction has to offer our senior citizens.

Gaby Fabian, CEIP-ED

Gaby Fabian is a Certified Equine Interactive Professional – ED with over a decade of experience facilitating horse/human experiential workshops.

In 2009, Gaby Fabian coined the term Equine Guided Recovery™, referring to a coaching practice for clients in treatment for addiction, trauma, co-dependency, and relational issues.

She facilitates weekly equine recovery sessions at Medicine Horse Ranch on behalf of adult treatment centers, as adjunct staff and support for their clients.

Gaby has now developed “The Equine Guide to The Four Agreements” based on the work of Don Miguel Ruiz.  These life-affirming principles from the Toltec tradition (Be impeccable with your word, Don’t take anything personally, Don’t make assumptions, and Always do your best), provide a unique focus for both personal and professional development. In 2016, Gaby presented this groundbreaking work at the 12th Annual International Association for Horse-Assisted Education (EAHAE), which hosted colleagues and participants from 13 countries.

Gaby is the licensed HorseDream partner for the state of California and offers Horse Assisted Education to businesses and organizations through “Train the Trainer” and “The Art of Leadership” seminars. In her spare time, Gaby enjoys spending time with her equine partners Shannon and Billy and enjoys serving as a multidisciplinary respite service provider at the Marin Humane Society where she is reminded of the many benefits of humble empathic connections with all kinds of other species.

Anne Barnfield, Ph.D.

Dr. Anne Barnfield has been a full-time faculty member at Brescia University College since 1995, teaching various psychology courses including introductory, child development, psychology applied to sport, and ethics in psychology. Dr. Barnfield is co-author, with Robert Kail, of the textbook Children and Their Development: Canadian edition, published by Pearson Education Canada.

Before coming to Canada in 1992, Dr. Barnfield worked as a researcher in the Neurochemistry Department of the National Hospital, London, England. Her recent research interests are in the field of behavioral and cognitive effects of sport participation.

Currently, Dr. Barnfield is involved in research on the benefits of sport participation for children, particularly those with special needs, and applications of Equine Assisted Therapy, with a focus on anxiety disorders, particularly PTSD in Military Veterans and First Responders.

This recent research has been run with the aid of SARI Therapeutic Riding (SARI TR), near London, Ontario. Dr. Barnfield holds a B.Sc. from the University of London, Great Britain, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Sussex, Great Britain. She is an Associate Professor, Psychology, in the School of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brescia University College, Affiliated with Western University.

Cathrin Wilbanks, MS, NCC, CEIP

Cathrin serves as a full-time faculty member at Asbury University in Kentucky, teaching in the psychology department and equine program.

Over the last year, Cathrin had the privilege of spearheading a new major in Equine Assisted Services at Asbury. The new major focuses on providing higher education in the field of EAS to students who seek to pursue a career in Adaptive/Therapeutic Riding, Equine-Assisted Therapies, or Equine-Assisted Learning. Developing this program has been a dream come true for Cathrin, who is very passionate about meeting the need for higher education services in the field of EAS for current and future practitioners.

Cathrin was born and raised in Germany and came to the US in pursuit of a BA that provided her with education and training in Equine-Assisted Mental Health at Asbury University and later on an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in Equine Assisted Mental Health from Prescott College in AZ. Cathrin then continued to pursue her license as a professional mental health counselor in GA, practicing at community mental health agencies and non-profit programs, offering nature-based psychotherapy and experiential learning services that incorporate equines and other farm animals. Cathrin also assisted in the development of programs that desired to integrate nature-based and animal-assisted mental health services to their existing program offers. Cathrin is a CEIP-MH and also holds a certification in integrative mental health services (CIMHP)

When Cathrin is not working or playing at the farm with her co-worker and co-lecturer, Eclipse, a 25-year-old Shagya Arabian, you will find her somewhere adventuring in the great outdoors with her husband Mike, their two children Micah and Evie, and their trusted canine companions, Layla and Buddy.

Judith Emond, BSW, AMHSW, Masters Family Therapy, Grad Cert Bereavement Counselling, CEIP-MH

Judith is the founder of Heart to Heart Equine Assisted Therapy a service providing psychological therapies in the presence of horses located in rural Victoria, Australia.  Judith is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker (AASW), Clinical Family Therapist (AAFT), Bereavement Therapist, and Equine Interaction Practitioner- Mental Health.

Judith has extensive counseling experience working with individuals, children, young people, and families and she provides professional clinical/external supervision to allied health and mental health practitioners.

Judith provides evidence-based treatments to deal with emotional and psychological difficulties drawing on a range of treatment modalities such as animal-assisted therapy, somatic experiencing, behavioural and cognitive interventions, relaxation, grounding and mindfulness strategies, social engagement, family relationship therapies, and bereavement interventions.

Including horses in her practice has greatly enhanced the outcomes of service users. Judith is extremely passionate about advocating the unconditional support and spiritual healing that horses offer humans. 

Kathryn Ryan Langdon, MA, LICSW, CEIP-MH 

Kate is the Founder and current Managing Partner of Congruency Psychotherapy, an Equine-Assisted Mental Health Treatment and Learning Center located in rural Minnesota. Kate along with her certified Mental Health colleagues and staff offer mental health treatment and learning within the horse environment and with the inclusion of horses. Kate has worked with adults, families, and children for over 30 years.

She has developed an expertise as a trauma-informed therapist with a specialty in building relationships and working in partnership with adults and families toward behavioral change. 

She is a certified equine-assisted mental health therapist and has extensive training in DBT and EMDR. She has earned master’s degrees from Columbia University and UST/SCU.

Nikki Nickolson , CEIP-ED

Nikki Nickolson is co-facilitator of Avalon Equine. In addition to holding a diploma in Child and Youth Care Counseling where she has served as an asset to both school and community settings in the forms of mental health facilitation and behavior management, Nikki has spent the majority of her life dedicating it to horses.

She holds a strong knowledge of horsemanship and enjoys teaching it and its benefits to others. She lives by the rule of being a “lifetime student”, knowing that horses and humans alike are always teaching and encouraging us to become better versions of ourselves.

Nikki lives on a small place outside of Medicine Hat with her two young boys, multiple horses, a couple of dogs, and a couple of cats.

She strongly believes in raising children within a society that enhances childhood by living in harmony, helping one another, and building strong relationships. She also believes this happens when there is a strong individual foundation and that our equine friends are equally incredibly great and humble about helping build those strong foundations.

Past CBEIP Board Chairs

Alyssa Aubrey
Nina Ekholm Fry
Libby Smith
Priscilla Marden
Nancy Waite-O’Brien
Molly DePrekle 
Shanti-Hill Gauer
Don Zimmerman

If you are interested in becoming a board member or serving on a CBEIP committee, please send a letter of inquiry along with your CV to [email protected]