Elizabeth Santilli– Program Director
Elizabeth grew up riding horses and started volunteering at the age of 12 at a therapeutic riding facility. She grew a love of horses and working with people with disabilities. During high school she was employed as barn staff at Ramrod farm. Elizabeth attended St. Andrews Presbyterian College and majored in Therapeutic Horsemanship Program Management. As part of her training during college she interned at Turning Point Therapeutic Riding and High Hopes Therapeutic Riding. Out of college she accepted a position with Bit By Bit Therapeutic Riding in Oologah, OK as the head instructor. Upon moving back to RI in December 2010 she acquired 2 horses that were previously therapeutic equines and started teaching a few clients, maintaining her certifications through PATH Int’l as a registered instructor and as an Interactive Vaulting Instructor. Elizabeth currently serves on the PATH Int’l Interactive Vaulting committee and is the RI State Chair for PATH Intl.
Hayley Houghton- PATH Intl Registered Instructor/ AHA certified Hippotherapy Instructor/ COTA
Hayley Houghton has been a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant for the past 9 years. Growing up with horses it was only natural that she would become certified in hippotherapy right after graduation. This experience led her to Gaits of Harmony, first as a volunteer, then as a therapist as the program grew. Through Liz’s guidance she received her PATH Instructor Certification in July 2016. Although she is busy working a full-time job and completing her Masters in Occupational Therapy from New England Institute of Technology, she can’t stay away from the farm. She enjoys her Wednesday afternoons bringing in and feeding the horses and spending time with her boy Willie. She also enjoys watching her therapeutic riding clients grow into independent riders, and watch her hippotherapy clients complete tasks on the horse that they weren’t able to do before.
Billy Santilli- Barn Staff
Billy has always had a love of all animals. He has had and cared for dogs, cats, a monkey, and parrots, all kinds of reptiles, tarantulas and now horses. When he met Liz he had always loved horses but had never been around them in this capacity. As a quick learner Billy jumped right into the barn life and caring for all of the horses and pig. Billy then left his job in the carpentry world to work full time at the barn next door to Gaits taking care of 8-10 horses. He currently works barn chore hours at Gaits as well as taking on all of the farm maintenance, snow blowing, and managing the grain/hay/sawdust and all the upkeep of the barn. Billy is a wonderful asset to Gaits of Harmony and the care he gives all the horses. He jumps into lessons when needed and loves to see the effect of riding on all the participants. Billy would like to pursue a certification in Therapeutic Driving in the near future.
Haley is one of only two PATH Intl. certified Equine Specialists in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHLs) in the state of Rhode Island. She has devoted her efforts to serving the community in an attempt to raise mental health awareness. Her commitment to populations dealing with addiction, anxiety, depression, and PTSD has driven her to seek out the most successful treatment options in the field. Haley is a self-proclaimed advocate for equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT), and strongly believes it to be a breakthrough in modern treatment for mental health issues.
Haley began her journey into the equine field as a result of an internship she completed during her undergraduate career at The University of Rhode Island in 2011. Her placement site at a local nonprofit organization gave her a firsthand look at the benefits the community appeared to be receiving as a result of EAAT. She began volunteering for a number of privately owned barns and stables throughout Rhode Island, expanding her knowledge on equine behavior, maintenance, and safety. Two short years ago, Haley attended a PATH Intl. continuing education workshop hosted by Gaits of Harmony. Since then, she has remained a committed volunteer, donor, and advocate for mental health awareness, utilizing EAAT as her primary treatment modality.
Haley graduated from The University of Rhode Island in 2014 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology, minoring in Gender and Women’s Studies. She went on to graduate from Johnson and Wales University in 2016, with her Master of Science in Counseling. Her concentration was in Addictions Studies. During her program, she worked as a Crisis Intervention Counselor at AdCare RI. Currently, Haley works full time as Intake Coordinator and Clinician at Polaris Counseling and Consulting RI.
Haley’s next milestone is to become a published author of academic research articles in scholarly journals. Her research study on the correlation between EAAT and mental wellness is currently in its beginning stages.
Lyn Ingalls-Volunteer PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Barn Staff
Lyn Ingalls is a lifelong “horseperson”, having taken her first riding lesson at the age of eight, and becoming the proud owner of her first horse at the age of ten. She rode hunter/jumpers and competed around the state, but much preferred trail riding and sharing her knowledge of horses and riding. Lyn ran her own small boarding facility, and has been a traditional riding instructor for almost 50 years. In the late eighties, she became involved with Therapeutic Riding as a volunteer with the very first Therapeutic Riding Center established in RI, Merrylegs. She later volunteered with In Harmony Therapeutic Riding and earned her PATH Intnl. Instructor Certification in 2000. It was here that Lyn met Gaits of Harmony future founder, Liz Santilli, and joined her at the beginning of that organization in 2014. After 20 years with AT&T, Lyn is now happily retired, and is pursuing her passion as a Therapeutic Instructor at GOH.