Emily Kieson holds a PhD in Comparative Psychology, a MS in Psychology, and a graduate degree in Equine Science. Emily also holds multiple certifications in various models of equine-assisted activities and currently serves as Chair of the Equine Welfare Committee with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH). Her current research focuses involve looking at equine affiliative behaviors to study how horses create and maintain social bonds and how those can overlap with human affiliative behaviors for application in management, horse ownership, equine-assisted activities, and indicators of positive welfare in horses with and without humans. She also has a passion for supporting sustainable systems of horse management and husbandry that promote physical and psychological welfare of the horse while simultaneously supporting sustainable ecosystem practices on small and large scales (for both feral and domestic equids). Emily currently develops and teaches courses at universities in the fields of psychology, animal-human interactions, animal-assisted interventions, animal behavior and training, and animal welfare and ethics.
Christine (Chrissy) Rudd is a PhD Candidate at Texas Tech University with a research interest in equine wellbeing in horse-human interactions, specifically within the context of Equine-Assisted Services. She received her undergraduate degrees from Averett University in Equestrian Studies and (human) Communication Studies, then received her Master’s degree in Equine Science from Aberystwyth University. She is the Chair of the PATH, Intl. Equine Welfare Committee and has a professional background in training event horses and riders, working ranch horses, and equestrian tourism before she transitioned back into the world of Equine-Assisted Services where she rediscovered her heart’s calling. Chrissy is an advocate for horse sports and incorporating horses into services for human therapeutic benefit, but she believes that every sector of the horse industry can and should improve their practices to be more ethical, responsible, and prioritize the wellbeing of the horse.
Samantha Hemrich has almost 20 years of experience working with animals and is dedicated to improving animal welfare and wellbeing in all species through better education and application of research. She also has a passion for the mutual learning between humans and animals and the potential for healing in partnership with animals.