Idaho Horse Therapy is a non-profit corporation located in rural Southern Idaho. We use about forty head of horses, from yearlings to saddle-horses, all of which have proven to be very effective clinicians. We feel blessed to do most of our work in our desert setting, where there are few distractions for clients and the focus stays on the horses and what is truly happening. Idaho Horse Therapy utilizes several indoor facilities throughout the Magic Valley where sessions can be conducted in inclement weather. The founders of IHT have over 40 years of experience in equine activities and a major passion for helping others. The combination of the love of horses and the desire to bring the equine experience to others makes for the perfect business. Idaho Horse Therapy is a registered Central Contractor and an EAGALA Military Services Program.
To provide evidence-based Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to any population that can benefit from our services, and, in so doing, effect change in the world at large by increasing the number of emotionally stable, solution-based thinkers who have resources to problem solve when possible and cope graciously when necessary.
Equine Specialist - Johnny U is a certified Level II equine specialist through EAGALA, a model of equine-assisted psychotherapy services which focuses on growth and learning. Throughout his years, as both his spirit and ego have evolved, the only constant in Johnny’s life has been horses. His love of horses helped him connect with his father. It led him to become a professional rodeo cowboy. Johnny learned horsemanship, integrity and the value of a hard day’s work from his father. Father and son became best friends, confiding in one another, never judging, always understanding. After high school in Shoshone, Idaho, Johnny attended Idaho State University on a track scholarship. Following graduation, he became a high school math teacher. But it wasn’t the algebra or geometry that motivated Johnny. “My favorite part of teaching was the counseling,” he says. “Some kids have come back and said, ‘You saved my life because you let me spend time to visit with you.’ That is the best thing.” During his years of teaching, Johnny competed in local rodeos and eventually hit the professional rodeo circuit. In the fall of 1983, Johnny began down a new road and launched a successful music career. For 15 years Johnny U and the Dodge Country Band toured the nation 300 days out of the year. Throughout his music career Johnny recorded 10 albums, his first single, “He’s a Cowboy,” charted in 1984, and he had six top-10 songs in Europe. As country music evolved Johnny U always stayed true to his roots. “I’m very western and very cowboy. That’s who I am. That’s what I do best.” Working in the EAP field has provided a great opportunity for Johnny to combine his love of horses, desire to help youth, and even bridging in things he learned along the way through his music career. Of the work with the horses and youth Johnny facilitates and witnesses, he has this to say, “It is the most wonderful, powerful thing I’ve ever seen.”
Equine Specialist, Marketing Director - Karla is also certified through EAGALA as an Equine Specialist. The daughter of a doctor and a minister, Karla has always been motivated by the desire to help others. She grew up in Southern Idaho and went to university in North Carolina, where she studied English and Psychology. She returned to Idaho in 2011 and has been involved with IHT since 2012. Though relatively new to the world of horses, Karla had the opportunity to be changed herself in her interactions with them, and knew that being a part of bringing that peace to others was the best use of her skills and compassion.
Melissa Boley, LCPC
Mental Health Expert, Trauma Resources Consultant Melissa began her career in social services in 1978 working with incarcerated youth in residential and wilderness settings. She has worked many different venues in social services from Hartford Ct. to Seattle, with diverse populations and age groups. Melissa received her graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England Graduate School in 1986, and has been in Private Practice since 1990 in Sun Valley , Idaho. Melissa specializes in trauma resolution with families, children and adults, and is the founder and Director of The Sexual Abuse Family Recovery Program and Shared Parenting Seminars in the Wood River Valley. Melissa is also an Intern Supervisor for the State of Idaho, a Teaching Assistant for Somatic Experiencing and a TRI Consultant and Facilitator. Melissa is a Somatic Experiencing (SE) Practitioner, and holds advanced certifications in EMDR and family therapy. She is able to provide SE Introductions and is an approved SE personal session provider at the beginning and intermediate levels. She is certified in Touch Trauma therapy with Kathy Kain. Melissa is an avid outdoors woman and world traveler.
Cecilee Torres, LMSW
Cecilee obtained her masters of Social Work from Boise State University in 2009. She served in the United States Air Force, and has worked extensively as a mental health services provider with warriors, both active duty and veterans. She is a certified Mental Health Expert with EAGALA and is pursuing PATH certification. In addition to working with IHT, Cecilee volunteers at Swiftsure Therapeutic Equestrian Center for their PATH program for military and special needs clients. She also works in Shoshone at the Family Medical Center there as an LMSW, bringing her diverse background and unique skill-set to that rural and underserved population. Cecilee uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Play Therapy techniques. She worked at the SUWS Therapeutic Wilderness Program in Shoshone and is a certified surgical technologist, epidemiologist, and yoga instructor.
Melody Kerner, LMSW, MHE
Melody Completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Social Work through Boise State University. She has worked with various populations, from kids in the juvenile justice system through the Department of Health & Welfare, to the elderly and terminally ill through Idaho Home Health & Hospice. Melody was instrumental in establishing IHT’s program with the juvenile justice system. She is certified as a Level II Mental Health Expert through EAGALA.
Christopher A. Edwards, Ph.D.
A licensed psychologist, Chris received his Doctorate in Clinical/School Psychology from Hofstra University in 1994 and completed his internship at the Eisenhower Army Medical Center in 1995. He has over 20 years of clinical experience. He has provided traditional psychological services, such as individual, couples, family, and group therapy, in a variety of settings. These have included military treatment facilities, both as an Active Duty soldier and as a civilian, private practice setting, university counseling center, and non-profit medical center. As well, he has served as the Clinical Director at Tennessee Tech University and the SUWS Adolescent and Youth Programs in Idaho. More recently, he has focused on administrative oversight and program development. This has included the oversight for the development and opening of Embedded Behavioral Health Clinics for active duty military soldiers and oversight of the development of a joint US Army Special Operations Command and US Army Medical Command behavioral health program, providing services to Special Operations soldiers and their families at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina. He recently joined a non-profit healthcare system in Idaho, where he is working as a Child Psychologist, as well as aiding in the development of a Center of Excellence for behavioral healthcare in Southeast Idaho. Chris is a Veteran of the US Army, and was disabled in his service. He proudly served with the 1st Cavalry Division, as the Division Psychologist, as well as with the US Army Special Operations Command, as an Operational Psychologist. He attended Airborne School, SERE School, and the Aeromedical Psychology Training Course.
Nisha N. Money, MD, MPH, ABIHM
Nisha is a board-certified physician in preventative medicine and integrative-holistic medicine, with a sub-specialization in global health. Her recent positions include: Chief Medical Officer for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Integrative Health for the Department of Defense (DoD) in collaboration with the VA; Air Force Flight Surgeon; Medical Commander for Homeland Security and Initial Disaster Response Teams; US Air Force Pentagon’s Chief of Fitness; and Head Physician Epidemiologist for DoD Global Health. Dr. Money’s certifications & military training include: American Board of integrative and Holistic Medicine; US Army Combat Casualty Care (C4); Survival, Escape, Rescue and Evasion (SERE); USAID Foreign Disaster and Humanitarian Assistance, Medical Management of Chemical and Biological Casualties (MCBC), CDC-Harvard Meta-Leadership for Public Health; Advanced Operational Risk Communications; Medical Management Casualty Care; Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Parnterships (MAPP); Military Health Promotion and Wellness; UCLA’s Physician’s Scalp & Medical Acupuncture; Reiki and Energy Medicine, “Neurobics” for neuro-psychological treatment and performance enhancement; Ayurveda and Siddha medicine; Mind-Body-Spirit Medicine therapeutics; and Physician’s Yoga Therapy for chronic disorders.
Keith E. Davis, MD
Dr. Davis is the only physician in Lincoln County, southern Idaho. He has served the rural population there since 1985 by owning and operating Shoshone Family Medical Center. Shoshone Family Medical Center is fully staffed with behavioral health professionals and physician assistants, a nurse practitioner, and a certified nurse-midwife. Dr. Davis is involved in numerous state, national, and international professional organizations, including the Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers/Faith in Action, Idaho rural Health Association, the Idaho Medical Association (President-Elect) and the American Academy of Family Physicians (2014 AAFP Family Physician of the Year). He is involved in Idaho Horse Therapy’s Re-Boot Camp in an advisory capacity for mental health care.
Sifu Donald P. Perry, M Ed
A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Donald has spent most of his life serving in one form or another. He taught at elementary, high school and college levels for over 20 years altogether, learning and using a variety of modalities to better reach each individual student. He has worked as a carpenter and independent contractor and has volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and the Knights of Columbia Projects. He was Artist in Residence at Lenoir-Rhyne College and Emory University. He has taught Wu Shu and Tai Chi to veterans and their families around the country and is devoted to promoting holistic healthcare.
Board of Directors:
President: Mitch Arkoosh
Mitch has served for 18 years on the Gooding School Board, was a Gooding County Commissioner, and is now serving on the Gooding City Council. He has been involved with geothermal, wind, and hydroelectric power projects. Mitch was born in Gooding and has lived there all of his life, except for six years at Notre Dame, where he earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Metallugical Engineering. When he returned, he ran a sheep/cattleman outfit; when the foreman quit, his father, George, asked him to stay–which he did, for the next ten years. In the mid-1980′s, Mitch built a small hydroelectric plant on the Little Wood River and his family sold the sheep and cattle because his brothers wanted to work in the potato industry. That wasn’t Mitch’s milieu, so he went to work for Faulkner Land and Livestock as their office manager, with expanded duties on the ranch.
Secretary: Jason Lugo
Though originally from Utah, Jason spent every summer of his teenage years working on his uncles cattle ranch in Fairfield, Idaho. Later in his adult life he spent many summer boating trips to the Snake River. Falling in love with southern Idaho once again Jason moved his family to Declo in February of 2004 and never looked back. Being a graphic artist and photographer, Jason began to discover this beautiful region through his camera lens. With his experience in producing a Utah magazine for a client of his, it didn’t take long for Jason to conceptualize and bring to live Southern Idaho Living Magazine, which he ran for five years. Today, Jason is still active in southern Idaho as a local musician, photographer, graphic artist and renaissance man. He has provided creative services and graphic design for some of Idaho’s biggest companies, including Idaho Horse Therapy’s signature logo.
Treasurer: Diane Davis
Diane received a B.A. degree in Spanish from Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA in 1975. She worked for the Social Security Administration for five and a half years in clerical positions in the Seattle area, and as a service representative in branch offices in Washington, D.C. She has resided in southern Idaho for 28 years, where she and her husband of 35 years raised their three children. During that time she has worked part-time continuously in a medical office in accounts payable, and part-time as office assistant for a Bible Camp. She continues those positions as well as serving as lay leader for her congregation. Diane is currently in the process of earning a Master of Divinity degree to serve her church. She has been involved in numerous volunteer activities (library board, Education Foundation, Cub scouts and Girl Scouts).