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Occupational Therapist Courtney Sumpter and her horse, Tank, were determined to make a difference in their small community by offering an alternative treatment utilizing a horse‘s movement to enhance therapy. With their first physician-prescribed client, Northern Michigan Equine Therapy began work out of Shadow Creek Stables in Petoskey.


Word spread quickly about NMET‘s success with occupational therapy using horses. The demand prompted Courtney to seek out a facility that could be dedicated to “Horses Healing Humans.” NMET has now evolved into a fully functioning 32-acre farm named “Winnie Acres” in honor of Courtney's grandmother.

Today, NMET provides over 900 therapy sessions each year with

therapy wins and treatment goals accomplished on a weekly basis.

To harness the healing power of horses to improve lives



Courtney Sumpter, M.S., OTR/L 

Executive Director and Occupational Therapist

A Detroit area native, Courtney began her career with horses teaching therapeutic horseback riding lessons at the nationally recognized Cheff Center, one of the founding centers for equine assisted activities and hippotherapy. During this time, she focused on her riding and teaching skills, while finishing her Masters in Occupational Therapy at Western Michigan University.  


After completing her masters, she immediately started utilizing hippotherapy as a treatment tool for her patients with Stable Possibilities, LLC of Southeast Michigan. She continued to gain horse and treatment experience with a wide variety of disabilities and ages, such as: Cerebral Palsy, Autism Spectrum Disorder, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, CVA/stroke, neurodevelopmental disabilities, SI  (sensory integration), identifying barriers and providing services in support of mental health and many others. 


Courtney is a level one therapist with the American Hippotherapy Association and a certified equine specialist with EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association). Courtney is a passionate therapist who truly believes the horse is the best therapeutic tool for most disabilities. In her spare time, Courtney loves to spend time with her family and friends and continues to improve her riding skills.

Holly Henagan, LMT

HorseSense Facilitator 

Holly grew up riding and caring for horses, as well as being of service to her community. A longtime volunteer and supporter of NMET's programs, we were thrilled when Holly signed on to be the first participant - and graduate!- of our HorseSense training program in the spring of 2022. 


Since completing her certification, Holly joined NMET as a HorseSense program facilitator. In addition to her training under NMET founder Courtney Sumpter, Holly also holds a B.A in Exercise Science from Spring Arbor College and is a licensed massage therapist. As a seasoned personal trainer and leader of community and faith-based groups, Holly's extensive and diverse background in both the physical and mental health space inspires and enriches her equine-assisted work with the healing horses of NMET. 


An avid fitness enthusiast, Holly enjoys spending time outdoors with her family in Harbor Springs and on the farm with her beloved steed, Marcus. 

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Larissa Boyce 

SAVA HorseSense Facilitator 

Larissa Boyce joined the NMET team in 2021 as a SAVA HorseSense Facilitator. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology from Michigan State University and is a Professional Life and Mindset Coach. Larissa has worked as a Sexual Assault Advocate with Courage First, Rise, and Child USA to share her own story of abuse nationwide in order to support victims of sexual assault and promote awareness. Her story was also featured in the HBO Documentary “At the Heart of Gold.” Larissa’s testimony has helped change the sexual assault laws in Michigan as well as pass the World Wide Survivor Bill of Rights.


Larissa is EAGALA certified and has a passion for “Horses Healing Humans” as they have her. She hopes that sharing her own experience will help encourage others to know that they are not by themselves, there is nothing to be ashamed of, and that healing is a journey — one that does not have to be done alone.


Pamela Bell, M.A., CCC-SLP 

Speech-Language Pathologist 

(Summer clients only) 

Pamela is a highly qualified speech-language pathologist licensed in Michigan. She has a nationally certified certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association. Pamela has enjoyed seventeen years of experience helping children with various speech, language, and hearing disorders including: Apraxia, Articulation, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Attention Deficit, Auditory Processing, Augmentative Communication, Cognitive and Learning Developmental Delays and Sensory, Social and Behavioral Deficiencies. Pamela has worked with the Early On population (0-5 years olds) for three years and fourteen years in a school setting serving the K-12 population.

Laurie David 

Advanced HorseSense Facilitator

A Bay City native, Laurie has never known life without horses. A third generation horsewoman, she has endowed the family passion to her two daughters and a generation of 4H kids, serving as club leader and member of the Charlevoix Emmet Horse Council for nine years. Laurie and her 4H club were also members of the US Pony Club, an international nonprofit youth organization that promotes leadership through horsemanship. The club hosted the Great Lakes Region Pony Club Games Rally in 1996. 


A born educator, Laurie enjoyed 28 years as a special ed teacher with Char-Em ISD. Recognizing the extraordinary benefits horses can provide to those with special needs, she attended the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center and volunteered as an instructor with the Exceptional Riders Program in Charlevoix for many years. Laurie was EAGALA certified in 2018 and also teaches basic riding at other local equestrian centers. As eager for learning as she is for teaching, Laurie attends clinics and workshops with professional horsemen at every opportunity.


A seasoned trail rider, Laurie rode the Michigan Shore-to-Shore in the 90s, and continues to relish the trails today with her beautiful buckskin, Gator. When not riding or teaching, Laurie loves the outdoors, dabbling in fine arts and music — playing several instruments — and time with her beloved two- and four-legged friends and family.



Courtney Sumpter, OTR/L

Executive Director 

See Courtney’s Bio Above


Ruth Skop 


Financial Advisor, Charlevoix, MI

Ruth is a life-long resident of Northern Michigan. She and her husband Dave are the owners of Mitchell St. Frameworks in downtown Petoskey, which is in its 27th year of business. In 2007, Ruth decided to pursue a new career at Edward Jones Investments, and currently manages the Boyne City office as an Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Ruth has a long history of community involvement. She is currently President of the Boyne City Kiwanis Club and a proud founder/director of the Kiwanis Boyne City Turkey Trot. She works with Team Boyne via the Boyne City Main Street Economic Development Program. Ruth is also committed to educational growth. She has mentored high school students in the East Jordan High School Strive Program as a Rotarian, coached young athletes on the Petoskey Middle School cross country team, and Petoskey’s Girls on the Run program for several years.

In her spare time, Ruth takes full advantage of the great outdoors. She is a passionate runner and has completed 11 marathons, which included the Boston Marathon. She also enjoys road biking, mountain biking, downhill, classic or skate skiing, snowshoeing/hiking with her dog Jack, and is a new back country backpacker.


Erin Luckhardt

Vice President

Instructional Technology Coordinator, Petoskey, MI

Erin is an educator and community health coordinator who joined NMET as the fund development coordinator in 2020. She has experience designing learning and professional development for youth and adults. She also is an experienced group facilitator and believes that intentional design can provide opportunities for greater learning, chances to get curious, and ultimately, clearer processes and innovation. 


David Dewey


CEO & Founder, Base 10 Consultants, Petoskey, MI

Dave is a technology, business and engineering consultant specializing in process & design automation and creative technology solutions for small to mid-sized manufacturing companies. Making companies and their products, processes and people are efficient as possible is what drives Base 10's success. 

In his spare time Dave enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, soaking in Northern Michigan summers on his boat and enjoying the outdoors hiking with his dog. 



Annie Leskey


Student at Michigan State University, Harbor Springs, MI

Annie is a third year MSU student majoring in interdisciplinary studies in social science, and rides on the MSU dressage team. Annie has been a dedicated volunteer at NMET and is always involved in an extracurricular to better her community. One of her favorites was participating on the Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation — Youth Advisory Committee while attending high school in her hometown of Harbor Springs.



Lindsey Walenga

CEO & Communication Strategist, Siren, Grosse Pointe Park, MI

A born leader and driven entrepreneur, Lindsey is the visionary force behind strategy and growth for both Siren and its clients as Chief Executive Officer. She has the ability to draw potential out of people and ideas in order to achieve results previously considered unattainable.


Leading with bravery and love, Lindsey has grown Siren into a powerful strategic communication firm. Her greatest accomplishments include building a team of people who trust each other and embrace innovation, and leading the company through a season of transformation by strengthening the business process and services, making 2020 the strongest year yet for Siren.

Outside of Siren, Lindsey values her spirituality and journey toward higher consciousness. You can find her raising her family in the community where she grew up and pouring love into old things like Chris Craft boats, historic colonial homes, and decades-long friendships.



Alesia Dobbins

Lawyer, Grosse Pointe, MI

Alesia Dobbins is based in Detroit, MI and is an assistant general counsel at Ally Financial Inc. in the Auto Finance line of business. She advises marketing, corporate and dealer communications clients on consumer regulatory matters. Prior to joining Ally, Alesia was a judicial law clerk for the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan where she assisted Judge Steven Rhodes in presiding over the City of Detroit’s bankruptcy, the largest municipal bankruptcy in history, one of the highlights of her career to date. Before that, Alesia began her legal career as an associate attorney at the Bodman law firm in Detroit. Alesia received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Emory University in Atlanta, GA and graduated magna cum laude from Michigan State University School of Law. 


In her free time, Alesia focuses on her family – including her husband and her elementary-age triplet boys – and enjoys skiing, boating and other outdoor activities in northern Michigan, getting to the NMET farm whenever she can! 

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