Our Program Director and head instructor,
Isabella Mastropaolo-Bender, is a graduate of the Lake Erie College Equine Studies Program. She holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Equestrian Facilities Management with a concentration in Therapeutic Horsemanship. She is a PATH Certified Therapeutic Horsemanship Instructor. She has taught Therapeutic Horsemanship at Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, and served as the lead instructor for Mane Stride Therapeutic Riding Program in Oberlin, Ohio. Isabella is a 2010 graduate of Edison High School and grew up on a horse farm in Berlin Heights, Ohio.
Joshua Bender is a 2006 graduate of Perkins High School and a Disabled Navy Veteran. After graduation, he enlisted in the United States Navy and served as a SeaBee - the Construction Corps of the Navy - attaining the rank of Builder 3rd Class . He was on two different deployments, first in Japan and the Philippines, and secondly, in Iraq. While serving in Iraq, he suffered a traumatic brain injury from the repercussions of a Taliban fired mortar. As a result of his injuries, Joshua had to have a shunt placed in his head to maintain fluid levels in his brain and now suffers from epilepsy. In the wake of his disability, he was honorably discharged in December 2010.
Laura Steuk-Mastropaolo is our program administrator, head of marketing , social media, and volunteer training. She is a graduate of Sandusky High School and the University of Michigan. Laura also is lead horse spoiler!