Meet our Staff

kimber1

Kimber Main Hirsch, B.A.,Ed., M.A. SPED., Graduate Certificate in Autism

Availability: Weekends, After School by Appointment for children with special needs.

As President and Chairman of RETREAT, "Ms. Kimber" has been working with children with special needs for over 25 years and working with horses for almost 35! A Native El Pasoan, she has a Master's in Special Education with a Graduate Certificate in Autism, and is a Certified Special Education Teacher in Texas and New Mexico. As an expert in Autism and Pervasive Development Disorders, as well as children with diagnosed behavioral disorders, Ms. Kimber designs and conducts all of the lessons for children with special needs. Ms. Kimber has advanced training in evidence-based intervention practices such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), TEACCH, PECS, RDI and other methodologies, which she incorporates into her riding therapy. She is also proficient in American Sign Language (ASL).
Formerly an in-home ABA Therapist, Kimber received her ABA training at The University of Washington and has over 20 yrs using ABA techniques with children with special needs, most of whom were on the Autism Spectrum.
Ms. Kimber grew up with horses and has been actively riding since 1983.  Over the years, she has taken numerous classes and clinics in specific riding techniques in both Western and English disciplines, as well as advanced level "train the trainer" courses. She has been teaching riding since 1993.
In 1994, while working as an in-home ABA therapist and volunteering as the leader of the only all-disabled Girl Scout Troop in Western Washington, she introduced a non-verbal child with autism to horseback riding and, miraculously, within two weeks he said his first word: "horse." From that point on, her dedication to special needs children and her love of horses merged, and she has been working with and developing equine programs for children with disabilities ever since.

"I incorporate both therapeutic riding techniques and hippotherapy approaches in order to achieve developmental goals with special needs students. When working with a child with special needs I am willing to evaluate an Individual Education Plan (IEP) and incorporate some of the same goals into a class. I am also willing to coordinate our exercises and activities with other caregivers, such as O/Ts, P/Ts, SLPs or M.D.s. In special circumstances, I am willing to attend an Annual Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting, so that your child receives unified goals across the board that are consistent with our therapeutic riding goals. Most of all, though, my goal is that all of my students gain the self-confidence and skills to safely ride and have fun around horses. They are truly majestic animals and can provide a lifetime of love with the proper knowledge."  

Meet Our Team

We have one of the most advanced teams of riding instructors, each with their own specialty. Take a second to get to know them!

Lauren Hirsch, Instructor

Teaches: Horses 4 Home Schoolers, Weekend Group Lessons, After School as Required.

Ms. Lauren is an English Riding Specialist who works with youth of all ages. She has been riding for 25 years. Lauren also assists in lessons for children with special needs. Interesting fact: Ms. Lauren competed in a Western-Style Gymkhana riding in an English Saddle and gave all those cowboys a run for their money!

Sarah Johnston-White, B.S., Psych., Instructor

Teaches: Horses 4 Home Schoolers, Weekend Group Lessons, After School as Required.

Ms. Sarah received her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from U.C. Boulder and is currently preparing for Graduate School at NMSU, where she'll pursue a degree in Clincal Counseling. During her time in Colorado, Sarah worked in a Behavioral Hospital. Sarah plans to pursue a career in Hippotherapy working with children and adolescents with emotional, intellectual or physical disabilities.

Madeline Laiz, BCJ, Instructor

Teaches: Horse 4 Home Schoolers, Weekend Group Lessons, After School as Required.

Ms. Maddy has a Bachelor's in Criminal Justice and previously worked at a shelter for battered women and children. She is now working on her Master's in Social Work and wants to pursue a career as a clinical social worker. Maddy has been riding for over 20 years and specializes in Western Pleasure and Rodeo games.

Hannah Smith, Instructor

Availability: Weekends and by Appt.

Ms. Hannah is a specialist in Dressage, Hunter/Jumper and English Riding. She has been riding, including competitively, for over 20 years and works with our advanced riders. Hannah is a tremendous asset at the barn.

Sam Jenkins, Facilities

Availability: 24/7 if needed!!

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.... if it IS broke, call Sam!! Sam grew up on a working cattle ranch and is our resident jack of all trades. From welding fences to building saddle racks, Sam keeps the place running!

Les Hirsch, Adminstration

Availability: yes, dear.

Les is Kimber's husband of 25 years. That pretty well explains his role around the barn...