It is with hugely mixed emotions that High Hopes’ announces the retirement of Sarah Carlson, Training & Education Director since 2013 and member of the national PATH Intl. Board of Directors since 2014.
Patti has been both an innovator and a steady pair of hands; bringing to High Hopes the passion of a life-long horsewoman, the vocation of a teacher and mentor, and the business experience of a career in finance and banking. She has developed High Hopes’ into a world-respected training & education asset for the therapeutic riding industry.
After retiring (the first time around) from a highly successful career in commercial banking, Patti returned to her childhood love of horses, volunteering part-time at a local therapeutic riding facility. Unsurprisingly, this led Patti to High Hopes in 1999 as an Instructor in Training Candidate, receiving her certification later that year and her Advanced accreditation in August of 2000.
Patti spent ten years teaching part-time at High Hopes while also teaching, then becoming Executive Director, at Pegasus Therapeutic Riding with chapters in CT and NY. She transitioned back to High Hopes in 2012 and became Training & Education Director in 2013. “Her passion and talent helped position her in the role of mentor and Training & Education Director. Her thirst for knowledge is second only to her love of this profession and all those who work in the industry,” reflects Kitty Stalsburg, Executive Director of High Hopes. “She thoroughly enjoys attending State, Regional and National conferences where she listens, learns, shares and networks with old and new acquaintances alike!”
Patti has served PATH Intl. as a Lead Evaluator for On-site Workshops and Certifications; an Associate Evaluator for Advanced Certifications; a Lead Site Visitor for accrediting centers; a past Co-Chair of the Certification Oversight Committee; a member of the Education Business Model task force. She has been past PATH Intl. Region 1 Representative, past Connecticut State Chair, past member of the Certification Committee and past president of New England Special Activities Resources, Inc. (NESAR). She participated in the development of projects like the PATH, Intl. On-site Workshop and Certification process and was part of the original team that implemented mentor training and designed the manual to support that training. Patti was awarded the NARHA President’s Award in 2006, which is given in recognition of contributions through outstanding leadership, dedication and service to NARHA and the field of equine assisted activities. Patti was also awarded the NARHA Volunteer Leadership Recognition Award from Programs and Standards in 2010.
We wish Patti and her husband Chris every happiness in their retirement. While as of July 1, 2019, she will no longer be in her role as Training and Education Director, we know that Patti will be forever dedicated to this field and the amazing people in it! Her work at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding, Pegasus Therapeutic Riding and PATH Intl. has impacted many. Patti’s incredible dedication to many participants, parents, and volunteers that she has interacted with over the last 20 years at High Hopes, have been some of her greatest joys. Her professionalism, dedication and personal commitment to her many Instructors in Training and industry professionals have made her an invaluable asset to not only High Hopes but also the therapeutic riding field as a whole.