Marie Aparo

Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Marie joined the Hidden Acres team in April of 2022 as a Path Intl advanced therapeutic riding instructor (ATRI) and ESMHL certified as an equine specialist in mental health and learning, she is also a trained mentor through Path International. She brings with her 21+ years of experience & knowledge in the field of therapeutic riding & equine assisted activities and therapy. When not working at the farm, she helps to run her family’s business. She enjoys her free time riding & camping with her horse JR. She is also a member of the Connecticut Trail Rides Association & The Connecticut Horse Council.

Rebecca Caruso

LCSW, Clinical Program Director
Rebecca joined the Hidden Acres team in 2014 as a PATH Intl. certified therapeutic riding instructor. She also maintains certification as an equine specialist in mental health and learning. Rebecca has more than 20 years experience as a licensed clinical social worker with experience working with children, adolescents, families and survivors of trauma and abuse. After spending a year as the interim Program Director of Hidden Acres, she is now the Clinical Program Director, focusing on serving populations with mental health issues and social/emotional challenges through equine facilitated learning and therapy. She is also developing Hidden Acres programs for mindfulness, self awareness and self discovery. Rebecca enjoys horseback riding, cross country skiing and hiking in her time away from the farm.

Amy Coulter

Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Amy joined the Hidden Acres team in 2018 as a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Amy is a graduate of Syracuse University and The University of Texas School of Law. A horse owner for over 20 years, she is passionate about helping our participants form life-changing connections with horses. As a breast cancer survivor, Amy credits her relationship with her horse, Hootch, as being an essential part of her treatment and recovery. Amy lives in Barkhamsted, CT with her husband, Miles, and their two dogs. (Hootch lives just down the road…!)

Anthony “Tony” Cota

Garden Director
Tony joins us this year as Garden Director. A lifelong organic grower, he was introduced to the concept of living soil and no till gardening about a decade ago. He has learned through his research that providing a habitat where living soil thrives naturally, the overall quality and yield of the plants increase dramatically. The plants become vibrantly healthy and resilient, nutrient dense, and pests and disease decrease. Tony continues to expand his knowledge of living soil habitats and we are so grateful to have him on our Hidden Acres team!

Jennifer Johnson

Media Producer

Jennifer has been a media industry professional for over two decades. Prior to joining Hidden Acres TRC, she worked in television and film as a gaffer, grip and camera assistant. Most recently, she was a director of photography, photographer and editor for a busy video marketing team . When not working, Jennifer enjoys capturing photos & videos of her family, reading and writing. She loves working with the staff and horses at HATRC and strives to tell a story with her work.

Sandy Lee

Director of Development

Sandy joins us with 20+ years of experience supporting non-profits in fundraising, event planning, marketing, and budget management. She is a past board member of the United Way of Naugatuck and Beacon Falls, where she served as their marketing chair and believes wholeheartedly in advocacy and living united. Sandy currently sits on the Board of Directors for The Exceptional Sidekick, Inc. supporting their mission to place psychiatric service dogs with disabled youth. She is truly thankful to be part of the Hidden Acres team dedicated to helping people change their lives for the better.

In her time away from the farm, Sandy trains dogs, bakes cookies, and enjoys hiking with her two adult kids and their dogs. We are thrilled to have Sandy as part of our team.

Amy Lopez

Therapeutic Riding and Therapeutic Gardening & Nature Instructor

Amy Lopez, Path International CTRI has been riding horses for twenty years. She loves working outside, has worked with dairy goats and has organic vegetable and cut flower farming experience.

Amy became a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor in early 2020. Her favorite part of being an instructor is making a connection with her riders and helping them achieve their goals using their own strengths. An avid learner, Amy is excited to continually learn and improve her teaching methods to be able to further meet and exceed the needs of her riders. Outside of teaching, Amy loves to spend time with her two dogs, do creative projects, and hoop dance.

Nancy Moore

Barn Manager
Nancy Moore is our Hidden Acres Barn Manager and PATH Certified Therapeutic Carriage Driving Instructor. Lifelong horseman with a background in hunters and over 20 years of carriage driving experience.

Suzanne Porter

Specialist in Equine Facilitated Mental Health and Learning

Suzanne Porter joined Hidden Acres in 2022 as a Path certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Suzanne became a therapeutic riding instructor in 1994 and taught riding for many years, while raising her family. She has been a special education teacher for over 27 years, working with children with learning disabilities, attention problems, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. Certificated in Trauma Informed Instruction, Suzanne became an Equine Specialist in 2018 while providing carriage driving lessons for veterans with PTSD. A strong proponent of the therapeutic value of animals, Suzanne and her two therapy dogs, Luna and Phoenix, have provided pet therapy to hundreds of children and adults at universities, elementary schools, and Aetna. When not working, Suzanne rides, hikes, and does cross-fit.

Aurora Proulx

Barn Staff
Aurora started volunteering at Hidden Acres two years ago as a freshman in High School. She recently got promoted to work on the weekends and care for the horses. Aurora is currently a junior and taking a horse management class. She has many years of experience riding and caring for horses. She has ridden both western and English and currently takes lessons at Hidden Acres to expand her riding skills. She also has tried barrel racing. Aurora has enjoyed gymnastics most of her life. We are so excited to have her on our team!

Juan Sampedro

Facilities Manager

Juan has been working at Hidden Acres Therapeutic Riding Center going on two years. Aside from taking care of over 80 acres of property, he often makes himself available to feed and care for our horses. He spends his free time enjoying sports, especially basketball.