The staff of Courageous Connections not only share their valuable knowledge and expertise, but their passion in supporting others through horses and nature. They expand the reach of our program by bringing their own unique background and education for the benefit of our mission.
Natalie Steilling (she/her)
Natalie Steilling is a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA/L), Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (CTRI), Certified Therapeutic Recreation Therapist (CTRS) and, Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) Instructor. She first became involved in therapeutic horsemanship 17 years ago as a volunteer at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center where she later met Kathy and Sue. After completing her CTRI certification she attended Western Washington University and graduated with a B.S in Therapeutic Recreation. She has since worked at a CTRS in therapeutic horse riding centers and memory care. She recently became a COTA/L and worked in pediatric therapy until she realized she missed working outside with horses. She is excited about implementing all of the skills she has gained over the years into teaching horsemanship at Courageous Connections. She is excited to be a part of something that she is passionate about and helping people to find their value through partnering with horses.
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think”
― A.A Milne
Leah Hutchins (she/her)
Leah started riding when she was 5 years old. She owned and showed two horses starting in junior high school until she graduated from high school. Leah loved to teach horseback riding lessons when she was younger. Her educational background is in abnormal psychology and criminal science. She graduated from the University of Washington with a Bachelors of Science degree in HDFS (human development and family studies). She has been working in Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy classes since 2017 with people ranging from age 4 to 84 years old with a wide range of diagnoses and treatment goals. Her passion for working with people and horses shines through whenever she is around!
“Be the change you would like to see in the world.”
Chloe Wilkins (she/her)
Chloe has partnered with horses her entire lifetime and owes a great debt to the lessons learned from them. She has been invested in the equine assisted services community since 2012 and marvels at the simple engagement with horses that lead to major life transitions. She is a PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Professionally, Chloe has worked primarily with youth and adults who are impacted by Substance Use Disorders both in a clinical capacity and through community-based harm-reduction.
"There is nothing permanent except change."
Carla Woodworth (she/her)
Carla is an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL). She first became involved in therapeutic riding over 12 years ago as a volunteer at Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center (Little Bit) where she met and worked with Chloe Wilkins (CTRI and Courageous Connections Board Member). Carla’s volunteer experience at Little Bit, her own riding experience and research into horse behavior over the year’s has provided her the opportunity to witness and experience the therapeutic benefits of riding, learning horsemanship skills and working with horses for herself and for others of all ages. As a Professional Geologist with a private consulting firm, she has discovered that working with horses has helped her find calm and focus while at work and during stressful times. Her lifelong love for horses and her recognition of the many benefits of interacting with horses inspired her to become an ESMHL and to help share the equine benefits with others. She is grateful for the opportunity to partner with Sue and the horses and minis at Courageous Connections to bring healing, learning and growing through experiences with horses to the community.