Riding With HEART Staff

Carla Harbourt

Executive Director

Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor &

Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning


Carla came to Riding with HEART in 2011 as a volunteer with her daughter. Growing up on a horse farm, Carla enjoyed riding, as a Pony Club Member, showing and just being in the company of horses. After a career in the fashion industry, then a shift to IT, Carla dedicated herself entirely to being a stay-at-home mom. She became a RWH staff member in 2017 and earned certifications as a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. In 2017, Carla assisted in the creation of an additional program, BraveHEARTs, serving the unique needs of our veterans, law enforcement and first responder community and their families.  Carla lives in Hunterdon County with her husband and two children.

Stephanie Bacon

Stephanie has been working at Riding with HEART for five years. She graduated from Delaware Valley University with a degree in Equine Science and Management and is also a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor who is much loved by students and parents alike.  Steph is also a Certified Massage Therapist working in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, licensed to work on both human and equine clients. She has always believed Riding with HEART is her home-away-from-home and that dedication shows in her teaching and care of “her” horses. Stephanie lives in Warminster, PA.

Certified Therapeutic
Riding Instructor
Volunteer Coordinator
Danielle Romanello
Veteran Liaison
Equine Specialist in
Mental Health & Learning

Danielle first came to Riding with HEART in 2017, as a community-based support provider, bringing her clients for therapeutic sessions. The goal of improving her clients’ social skills, employability skills, and assist them in obtaining and maintaining employment. 

A veteran, Danielle served for 10 years Unites States Army. Bringing this extensive military experience, Danielle is Riding with HEART’s Veteran Liaison, working with participants in the BraveHEARTs Program. She is also a PATH certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning, which, combined with her job experience, makes her uniquely qualified to serve RWH participants.

Danielle holds an advanced degree in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Counseling and provides therapeutic/rehabilitative services to individuals with developmental, and/or intellectual disabilities. Danielle’s undergraduate background is in Labor and Employment Law. She is also in the process of obtaining her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Developmental Psychology.  

Danielle’s time at Riding with HEART has kindled a deep love and respect for horses and the gifts they share with their human partners. 

Samantha Murray

Samantha grew up in Washington, NJ, where she began her riding career with lessons at age five, continuing to ride her own horse for many years. Sam made her love of animals into a career at an animal hospital as a kennel assistant, eventually earning her position as a veterinary technician. In 2015, Sam brought her equine skills to a Saddlebred breeding farm, as Assistant Barn Manager. She continued to grow animal care and administrative talents with her animal hospital positions of veterinary technician and office staff member, while always finding time to pursue her love of horseback riding. Sam lives in Port Murray, NJ with her husband Dan, dog Odin, a variety of cats, a rabbit, and her flock of chickens.

Esther Twombly

Esther Twombly lives in Whitehouse Station, NJ with her husband, cat, and two guinea pigs. She began riding at the age of twelve and strives to always learn more about riding and horsemanship. Esther is a graduate of Wilson College, with a Bachelor of Science in Equine Facilitated Therapeutics. In July, 2018, she became a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. In addition to teaching at Riding with HEART, Esther worked and instructed at Lord Stirling Stable in Basking Ridge, NJ. Esther enjoys working with her students, sharing her love of horses, and seeing them progress and gain confidence.

Certified Therapeutic
Riding Instructor
Cheyenne Blaine

Cheyenne Blaine began volunteering at Riding with HEART in 2018. In 2020, Cheyenne joined the RWH staff as a riding instructor and member of our horse care team. She has been around horses her whole life, riding in various disciplines, primarily, however, her riding career has been competing in hunter/jumper events. Cheyenne is currently a student at the University of Delaware studying pre-veterinary medicine.


Cheyenne lives with her family and her puppy Casper the Corgi.

Riding Instructor

Christina Baxter


Riding with HEART announces the recent retirement of Executive Director, Christina Baxter. The Riding with HEART Program would never have grown to be so extraordinary without Chris’s years of devotion and hard work. Chris’s dedication to Riding with HEART was evident in the countless hours of time she put in to assure an exceptional program.

Chris’s extensive experience as a special education teacher and her horseback riding experience made her a perfect fit for all her roles at RWH. Her outstanding teaching methods were enhanced by her natural intuition of what her riders needed, as well as her sense of humor that made learning fun for her riders.

Riding with HEART offers Chris a heartfelt thank-you for her many years with the organization, first as the mother of a volunteer, then as a volunteer, with many official titles to follow: Volunteer Coordinator, PATH-Certified Instructor, Program Director, and finally Executive Director. The Board, staff, volunteers, and participants join in wishing Chris a retirement filled with happy memories of her time as an irreplaceable part of Riding with HEART.


Riding with HEART offers a wide range of Equine-Assisted Activities to individuals and their families. We provide a comprehensive, inclusive and therapeutic environment to participants with a wide range of disabilities including, but not limited to ADD/ADHD, Autism, PDD NOS, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Spina Bifida, Visual Impairments or Traumatic Brain Injury.  All of the Therapeutic Riding Instructors at RWH are PATH certified and our professional therapists hold proper credentials and /or licenses.

©2019 Riding with Heart

Riding with HEART voted BEST charity in Hunterdon 2020.

Thank you for voting for us!

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Riding with HEART is 501 (C) 3 non-profit organization.  Tax ID # 57-1233216.  Your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.  All donors will receive a contribution letter for your tax purposes.