Our Story

In an effort to meet a growing need for effective therapy for individuals with special needs, Courage Reins was founded in 1998. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, the cause has been charitable in nature since its inception. We strive to make our services available to all who seek alternative therapy, no matter their income or ability to pay. Because of this, we rely heavily on donations in order to create sponsorships for our riders and offer our services at a reduced price. To date, this goal has been accomplished thousands of times over, which is a wonderful thing, but we’re always seeking additional funds to continue supporting Utah’s children. (Click here to donate.)

In 2001, the land where Courage Reins stands today was purchased by a donor for the purpose of giving Courage Reins’ a permanent home. That purchase and subsequent donations allowed Courage Reins to increase the quality and quantity of its sessions. Such generosity continued in 2017, when the program was again gifted the significant donation of a new indoor arena, which supports the growing demand for equine therapy. This massive project was fully funded by donor dollars, making Courage Reins one of the premier private equestrian centers in Utah. The generosity of our donors moves mountains in our ability to serve.

Situated at the base of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains in Utah, Courage Reins is only minutes away from Salt Lake City and Provo. With 11 acres of fenced, irrigated pasture and two indoor arenas, our horses are happy and healthy here. Our offices, reception/observation areas, and indoor arena are all heated and cooled, allowing programs to run year round.

Since opening nearly 20 years ago, Courage Reins has seen tremendous growth. The organization now has 14 staff members, more than 100 active volunteers, and a herd of 20 donated horses. We’re thrilled to welcome more than 100 participants each week who come from throughout the state to find healing, happiness, and strength. Our programs have evolved to include equine-assisted therapies such as Therapeutic Riding, Hippo and Enhanced Therapy, Psychotherapy, Growth & Learning Activities and Natural Horsemanship. As the Board of Trustees and staff of Courage Reins, we’re committed to continue providing high quality, effective, and exciting programs and services for years to come.

 

Our Staff

Angie Moody

Angie Moody

Program Director

Angie sees every day at Courage Reins as a gift. Knowing she’s given daily opportunities to make positive impacts on our students and their families fills her with hope. Like her team members, she looks to the special relationships between our riders and horses to serve such a mission. It’s a remarkable bond to witness.

Angie feels blessed to be surrounded by a driven team, made up of individuals who always want to improve and grow as teachers. As a mentor and leader at Courage Reins, she assists her talented team in achieving such goals as she keeps them excited about the work they do and the impact they make.

Background: BA, Post Graduate Studies in Education, Part of a leading edge High School Special Needs Program in England, Attendee to Parelli Horses Helping Humans Workshop, Currently L2 At Liberty, L3 Free Style, and L4 Relationship w/ Horse.

Will Marriott

Will Marriott

Executive Director

Will believes every American child should go through a cowboy/cowgirl stage—decked out in chaps, boots, and a hat day and night. He sure did, but it wasn’t just a phase. It became his life’s passion. He now trains and owns horses and is happiest when sharing the beauty and joy of horseback adventures with friends and family.

Early in his career, Will worked in therapeutic and other horseback riding programs, only to realize the industry as a whole could greatly benefit from a stronger business background/foundation. This led him to study business and ultimately earn a master’s degree in accounting, as well as a CPA. Concurrently, Will discovered his passion for non-profit work as the director of a small boy’s ranch program. With his education, professional background, and heart for humanitarian ideals, he considers his position at Courage Reins a dream job. Here, he can apply his business know-how with his love of the human-horse relationship, as he works with others to improve the lives of those with special needs.

Annamarie Reed

Annamarie Reed

PATH Registered Instuctor

Annamarie loves working with people! Getting to know our riders and their families is one of the sweetest things she experiences working at Courage Reins. Her heart celebrates as she see her patients’ smiles and witness their progress. She feels therapeutic horses are a gift from God and miracles happen when horses and people work together.

Before joining Courage Reins, Annamarie worked in Early Intervention as part of the Provo Early Education Program (PEEP), where she helped infants and children (up to age three) with disabilities and special needs. She started riding horses in BYU’s Equestrian Program more than 25 years ago. These two areas naturally came together for her as a volunteer for Healing Strides, a therapeutic riding program in Virginia. There, she was mentored by Carol Young, a talented and wise director, who helped her prepare for the PATH certification process.

Brenda Lyman, OTD, OTR/L

Brenda Lyman, OTD, OTR/L

Consultations and Supervision of the Enhanced Therapy Program

Brenda brings that rare combination of specific Hippotherapy training along with a personal knowledge and ownership of horses. She has been a registered occupational therapist for 33 years with a specialty in pediatric practice. She has owned & operated a Hippotherapy practice for more than five years and worked with Courage Reins assessing clients and setting up treatment programs for more than 10 years.

Background: Doctorate in Occupational Therapy, Professor and Associate Dean in the Division of Health Professions at the Salt Lake Community College, and a graduate level certificate in Hipppotherapy through Western Michigan University.

Christa Muller

Christa Muller

Therapeutic, Enhanced Therapy and Natural Horsemanship Instructor

Christa believes in the power horses have to heal. She works at Courage Reins because horses are her passion and she loves connecting them to children in need. Courage Reins provides her opportunities to teach and foster the deep and abiding relationship that can be formed between human and horse.

Background: BA, MA (Organizational Development & Environmental Studies), PATH trained, Parelli Certified, Educator-Intermountain Healthcare (20 yrs), and Therapeutic Art Instructor.

Gina Smith

Gina Smith

Volunteer Coordinator, Therapeutic, ET and Natural Horsemanship Instructor & Facebook Manager

Using horses to help those with disabilities is a dream being fulfilled for Gina as a part of the Courage Reins team. Her deep love of horses and what they do for the spirit of mankind has been joined with her love for those who come to Courage Reins, both volunteers and students. Wonderful things happen here and she lives to be a part of them.

Background: Raised on a Cattle Ranch, Accounting Degree, tutored autistic children, and raised 4 children.

Jen Pierson

Jen Pierson

Barn Manager

Working at a therapeutic riding center was foreign to Jen, having come from a background of competing and training horses. She’s gained a whole new outlook on life since joining the Courage Reins team.The joy she receives stepping foot onto the property is unlike any she’s known before. She feels privileged to work with such incredible staff members, volunteers, and horses.Jen hopes to be somebody who makes everybody feel like somebody special. She can honestly say, there is no greater feeling than the one you experience here at Courage Reins.

Background: Professional horse trainer for 10 years, riding instructor for 15 years, National B rating (United States Pony Club), attended Area IX eventing championships at age 14, Wasatch Range Eventing Association(WREA) Jr. Rider of the year, WREA Training Division champion, Utah Hunter Jumper Association(UHJA) High Training Jumper champion, UHJA JR/AMATEUR Jumper champion, and UHJA Training Jumper champion.

Katie Celaya

Katie Celaya

Senior Barn Manager, Therapeutic & Natural Horsemanship Instructor

Since coming to Courage Reins, Katie has connected her vocation with her love of horses, finding her true passion. She is always in awe at the innate ability horses have to meet you where you are, as they encourage and reinforce your strengths and challenge you to change. The horse’s way of being can touch our hearts in a way few others can, and she feels privileged to get to share that with others.
Background: Masters in Psychology School Counseling, licensed school counselor, and extensive background working with special needs children.

Sara Sok

Sara Sok

Natural Horsemanship Instructor, Barn Manager

Sara has always been fascinated by horses and loves working with kids. When she moved to the area and started volunteering at Courage Reins, she fell in love with what is done here. It brings her great joy to connect children with horses and watch them become more independent. Most days, she leaves feeling she’s gotten more out of her work than she even put in.

Background: Study ecology and field biology at St. Cloud State University, work with younger children both as a daycare provider and a kindergarten paraprofessional, and completion of Level 1 Parelli Skills.

Our Board of Directors

Adam Petersen

Adam Petersen

Board Member

Adam Petersen is currently Assistant Vice President at Verisk Analytics, responsible for marketing operations and analytics. Adam is a solution-minded operator, trusted problem solver, and servant leader who has a passion for understanding markets, customers, workflows, and technologies in order to bring forth products and services that delight people and improve organizations by changing the way they work and live for the better. Adam has assimilated a diverse set of industries and excelled in business-to-business, business-to-consumer, and non-profit arenas.

Adam enjoys riding and working with horses in any environment but takes particular pleasure in team roping with friends as time allows. Adam speaks freely of his love and appreciation for the horse and the unique gift they are to those willing to look into the mirror of a horse’s eyes and be open to the mutual learning relationship that will undoubtedly unfold. Adam grew up around an extended family of horsemen, trainers, and rodeo champions. He is quick to explain that he knows what real horsemen and cowboys are and points out respectfully that he is not one, though he aspires to become such.

Originally from Granite, Utah, Adam now lives in Alpine, Utah, with his wife, Lisa, and whichever of their four treasures/kids are home at the time. Adam and Lisa both serve habitually though their church, youth programs, aging citizen communities, and on other business boards and committees.

April Powell

April Powell

Board Secretary

April Powell is the Human Resource Manager at Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough. With more than ten years of experience in Human Resources, her passion for helping individuals to become their best selves is what has fueled her career path. April is a member of both the Salt Lake and National Society for Human Resources Management and is a certified Human Resource Professional.

April lives in Taylorsville with her husband Ben. Together, they have four children. April loves working with young people to help them develop into successful adults.

Brad Arnold

Brad Arnold

Board Member

Bradley C. Arnold, M.D. FAAP is a pediatrician and partner at Alpine Pediatrics in northern Utah County. He grew up in Utah, Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Australia, and Canada before attending Brigham Young University. He served an LDS mission in the Germany Munich Mission. Bradley attended medical school at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He completed his residency in Pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. He was then asked to serve as Chief Resident there after completing his residency. He is a Board Certified Pediatrician.

Bradley joined Alpine Pediatrics in 2002 and has worked there ever since. He became acquainted with Courage Reins through recommending patients to the facility for equine therapy. He has seen the miracles and magic of the therapy offered at Courage Reins and has been excited to volunteer on the Executive Board since 2013. He enjoys being a part of this team.

Bradley and his wife, Kristin, reside in Alpine, Utah. They are the parents of 5 children. He enjoys traveling, skiing, sports (especially BYU sports!), and spending time with his family.

David G. Wilkins

David G. Wilkins

Board President

David is a Managing Director with Marsh in Salt Lake City. He is a trusted partner and advisor to many public and private corporations both middle market and Fortune 500. His expertise is analyzing risk and helping clients build risk financing, transfer and mitigation programs and strategies. David served for several years on the board of directors of One Voice Children’s Choir and many other community organizations. He spends many hours working with the youth in scouting and other programs. He loves to travel and has been on five of seven continents and 46 of 50 states.

David’s greatest adventure has been being a dad to eight amazing children. Together with his wife, Kristie, they have worked on their greatest dream – to have a family. David and Kristie (and seven of their children) live in South Jordan, Utah. David’s love of horses comes from his father and grandfather and from watching three of his children interact and gain amazing life skills from horses.

Jim Andrus

Jim Andrus

Board Member

James A. Andrus, CPA, is the Office Managing Partner for Piercy Bowler Taylor & Kern (PBTK). James graduated from Southern Utah University and began his career with a national CPA firm in Las Vegas where he spent 10 years in public accounting before moving to Utah to develop a franchised food operation. James returned to public accounting in Salt Lake City in 2000 where he has developed a diversified practice with client concentrations in local governments, technology, construction, non-profits, and family-owned businesses. He is licensed in Utah, Nevada, and Indiana and is a member of the AICPA, the Nevada Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Utah Association of Certified Public Accountants. He has served on many different boards and committees such as past Treasurer of Associated Builders & Contractors, and is currently serving on the Local Government Advisory Committee for the UACPA and as a board member or advisor for various non-profit and youth groups.

James lives in Highland with his wife Leslie. They have 4 children and enjoy sports and the outdoors. He and his wife both were raised on a farm in Southern Idaho and love horses.

Shelli Gardner

Shelli Gardner

Board Member

Shelli Gardner was raised in beautiful southern Utah. Today, she calls Alpine, Utah, home. She’s an enthusiastic entrepreneur and founder of two businesses — Stampin’ Up! and Brick Canvas at Thanksgiving Point. While semi-retirement is a goal of hers, Shelli still spends much of her time between the businesses. Learning to live a slower-paced life, she enjoys riding horses with her husband, practicing Bikram yoga, and spending quality time with family doing just about anything together. Although she has been less actively involved with Courage Reins until recent years, Shelli has always been inspired by and supportive of the worthy cause.

 

Sterling Gardner

Sterling Gardner

Board Member

Sterling Gardner grew up surrounded by the red cliffs of southern Utah, in the small town of Kanab, and continues to enjoy beautiful Utah on horseback. Sterling’s profession was that of a general contractor, specializing in custom houses. After years of construction in southern Utah and the Las Vegas area, he retired and moved with his family to Alpine. Becoming involved with Courage Reins in 2000, Sterling volunteers with lessons, works to make sure the facility and property are maintained appropriately, and consistently serves on the board. He is still amazed by the little miracles that happen with the students who ride at Courage Reins. He and Shelli have been blessed with five daughters and 17 grandchildren.

Tim Anderson

Tim Anderson

Board President

Tim is a senior partner at Jones Waldo Holbrook & McDonough where he serves as the managing attorney of the firm’s St. George, Utah, office. Having practiced law for over 38 years, he has also been involved in public service and charitable causes. He was a founding member of the United Way for Washington County in the early 1980s, which set up the first cancer treatment center to deal with the down-wind effect on Southern Utah caused by nuclear tests in Nevada; served on the Board of Business and Economic Development for the State of Utah 1993-2001; was a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Utah 2005-2013; and is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of University Health Care 2009 to present. Tim was also an Honorary Commander of the 388th Fighter Wing at Hall Air Force Base during the Winter Olympics, where he got to sit in the back seat of an F-16 as he earned his 9-G certificate. He’s proud to say, he did not throw up.

Tim lives in St. George with his wife, Kathryn. They have seven children and six grandchildren. Tim loves horses and especially other people who love horses.

Will Marriott

Will Marriott

Board Member - Executive Direcor

Will believes every American child should go through a cowboy/cowgirl stage—decked out in chaps, boots, and a hat day and night. He sure did, but it wasn’t just a phase. It became his life’s passion. He now trains and owns horses and is happiest when sharing the beauty and joy of horseback adventures with friends and family.

Early in his career, Will worked in therapeutic and other horseback riding programs, only to realize the industry as a whole could greatly benefit from a stronger business background/foundation. This led him to study business and ultimately earn a master’s degree in accounting, as well as a CPA. Concurrently, Will discovered his passion for non-profit work as the director of a small boy’s ranch program. With his education, professional background, and heart for humanitarian ideals, he considers his position at Courage Reins a dream job. Here, he can apply his business know-how with his love of the human-horse relationship, as he works with others to improve the lives of those with special needs.