MiMer Board of Directors - and World Wide Collaborators
MiMer works together with other devoted people, organizations and businesses worldwide, who share our visions, missions and goals; to gain and share more knowledge about equines, to do and support more and better research, to implement better equine welfare and ethics, to be able to offer better and more sustainable results from equine assisted therapies, to be able to offer treatment for more people in need, with the help of equines, to better understand the impact of trauma on equines and humans, to be able to offer better education for Equine Professionals and Mental Health and other Human Health Professionals who want to work in the field of Equine Assisted Interventions and Activities.
Below you find our board members and/or people who actively work in and with MiMer in different ways.
Katarina Lundgren MA student (Sweden)
Katarina is the Chair of Board in MiMer and the Director of MiMer Centre.
Katarina is working on her Master's in Cognitive Science at Lund University and has a BA in Language and Literature and another BA in The History of Ideas and Science and Philosophy. She has a 1-year education from Swedish Agricultural University (SLU) in Entrepreneurship in the Countryside/Animal Science. She is also currently doing a Master’s in Psychotherapy with the Metanoia Institute in London, UK. And a preparatory 1-year Art School Education.
She has extensive training in the EAGALA model and is certified in Applied Equine Zooanthropology through Learning Animals. She has taken various other trainings pertaining to equine assisted and nature assisted interventions, horses and their needs and behaviors, psychology, trauma, mindfulness, arts and expressive arts. She is a strong advocate for science-based and model-independent educations. Her main passions are horses and humans – communication and interaction – behavior and language – psychology and cognition – in all kinds of combinations, as well as trauma informed/sensitive and trauma focused care and understanding.
She has owned and managed a farm with a livery yard, riding school/educational center and a business offering hospitality, nature, and horse tourism packages for more than 15 years. For the last 10 years, she has worked with helping people grow and develop with the help of horses and nature and educated about equine welfare. She is currently involved in establishing equine assisted psychotherapy/traumatherapy, other equine assisted interventions/activities and nature-based interventions/activities in different European countries. She travels internationally and gives trainings, workshops, seminars, supervision and writes about equine-human interaction, equine welfare, equine behavior, equine ethics, and equines in therapy and learning programs, as well as human trauma and trauma responses and consequences.
Katarina has a past in the business world as a marketing coordinator, information and communication specialist, educator, project leader and writer/journalist. Besides running MiMer Centre, she runs her own business, Live the Change: www.livethechange.se
As a growth facilitator, psychotherapist in training, trainer, trauma sensitive mindfulness (TSM) instructor and strong advocate for collaborations and teamwork, she always focuses on maintaining awareness of differing perceptions, biases, and the importance of perspective-taking. It is her firm belief that it is in dialogue and through collaborations we grow, not through competing with each other.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Maja Tarka (Sweden, Poland)
Maja was part of founding MiMer Centre in 2013 and is a member of the board in MiMer.
Maja Tarka is an evolutionary biologist with a PhD in animal ecology. Originally from Poland, she has spent most of her life living in Sweden and is currently holding a researcher position at Lund University. She is investigating how wild animal populations differ in their ability to evolve, depending on specific traits, selection types, life histories and ecological settings. Maja is an avid spokesperson for bettering the living conditions of equines, by spreading knowledge and a better understanding of their needs. She has had a great interest in horses for her entire life, and prefered to spend her time walking side by side with her horse, and the other members of the herd. Sadly her horse Benito is no longer with us.
Ulla-Karin Rosell (Sweden)
Ulla-Karin is a substitute member of the board in MiMer.
Ulla-karin has around 30 years of experience working with children and young people at a residential care with complex trauma and attachment problems. She has since 2004 run Kulabodan residential care, where spending time with horses is part of the treatment under her auspices. She also works as a supervisor and educator for various staff groups in care and social work and has done for many years.
Ulla-Karin has a great interest in relationships and interactions between people and between people and horses. She has always had an interest for creating secure and good conditions for horses and humans and an understanding of how trusting relationships and a good environment affect the interaction in a favorable direction.
Horses have always been a part of her life and working with the relationship between horse and human has been an important part of her life the last 20 years. Today she collaborates with a riding school where Equine assisted therapy and learning has become part of the regular business.
Horse welfare and the understanding of each individual's specific need is an important matter for her. She also finds the ability to look beyond a behavior as a constant learning process.
Ulla-Karin has deepened her knowledge and practiced relationship and interaction through various educations such as Marte Meo, Psychodrama, Systemic Family Therapy, Supervisor training etc. Ulla-Karin has been EAGALA certified since 2011 and has attended MiMer Center's Equines in Therapy & Learning Programs Level 1-4 and is one of our accredited trainers.
Advisory Board & Collaborators
Our Advisory Board consists of trusted collaborators and former board members of MiMer Centre.
Marta Sikorska (Pasikonie, Poland)
Marta is a former member of the board in MiMer (2020-2023).
Marta is a modality independent Equine Assisted Learning facilitator, a long time advocate for equine welfare and ethics in equine assisted activities. Marta has over 20 years of experience as teacher and educator and her work now is dedicated to developing education programmes for EAL practitioners and facilitators that are informed as far as equine ethics, welfare and also horse and human trauma.
Her path with horses started unexpectedly after her totally non-horsey family acquired an ex-racing arabian stallion. She’s been living with a small herd of horses since then, learning and growing both as a horsewoman and a human being. Having tried to understand the horse world as an adult she tried many traditional ways of interacting with horses. Her numerous disappointments and unrelenting fascination with horses pushed her to redefine concepts like leadership, freedom and partnership to get to have life with horses. She neither rides nor trains horses.
Marta is also a mediator working in Non-Violent Communication (NVC) approach. Due to her strong connection to children and dedication to her role as a parent she mostly counsels parents, couples, families and teachers. Marta offers supervision to EAL facilitators and practitioners.
She believes in combining horse and human welfare education thus creating a lens of understanding, cooperation and exchange between the two species. She’s created a NGO dedicated to promoting this very idea (www.pasikonie.pl). She loves to teach restoration and stress relief together with horses. She’s a great enthusiast of somatic approach to healing and growth.
Marta works in Polish and English.
Sharolyn Wandzura (BC, Canada)
Sharolyn is a former member of our board in MiMer (2020-2023) and our former program director in Canada.
Sharolyn Wandzura holds a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan and currently offers Equine Guided Leadership & Relational Development programs at Ears Forward Coaching (www.earsforward.com) based out of Azadeh Acres located in Maple Ridge, BC. As a long time student of the horse, she blends Liberty Horse Training, Equine Guided Development & Life Coaching to help clients find their voice, become compassionate leaders and have courageous conversations.
Since first beginning her studies in the field of Equine Assisted Learning & Equine Guided Development in 2006 she has been continually exploring and wanting to learn more to support practitioners and horses working in this field. Promoting education, standards and scope of practice that focuses on the well-being of the entire team, particularly equine welfare is a deep passionate goal of hers. She is thrilled to be supporting the growth of EiT/L (our training, Equines in Therapy and Learning programs) so the latest equine behaviour research and best practices may be available coast to coast in Canada.
Jessie Sams, Animal Behaviourist (UK)
Jessie is a former substitute member of the board in MiMer and our former UK contact person
Jessie is an animal behaviour consultant who completed a degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science at the University of Greenwich in 2012, she is currently doing her Bsc Equine Health and Welfare at the Royal Agricultural University. She is also currently undertaking her Certification with the Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour to become a Certified Clinical Animal Behaviourist. She has been around horses since a young child and prior to working as a behaviour consultant she worked with a wide range of horses in different settings and circumstances including work with showjumpers and racehorses. Jessie competed up to young riders level and produced her pony as a Junior from British Novice to JA.From here she grew a passion for giving horses the very best start regardless of discipline using a holistic approach of the horses psychological and physical wellbeing. After completing her degree she then developed an interest in positive reinforcement training. She also works in a mixed general practice with horses and dogs, many of whom have suffered trauma. Jessie has a special interest in trauma in non-human animals and incorporates trauma informed care principles, neuroscience, Polyvagal and attachment theory into her work. Her approach is integral and focuses on the whole animal with the aim of improving animal – human relationships by facilitating safe relationships and experiences from which a solid foundation and relationship can be built.
Her own business, Animal Trauma Recovery Service in UK you find more info about here: https://www.facebook.com/Animaltraumarecoveryservice/
Debbie Reilly, Consultant, Coach, Trainer & Facilitator.
Debbie is is a UK-based collaborator and co-faclitator and trainer in MiMer workshops and courses.
A lifelong advocate of the horse with a passion for understanding and promoting human and equine wellbeing & welfare, Debbie has dedicated the last 25 years to understanding the horse-human relationship. This has led her to studies in behaviour, learning theory, emotions, attachment theory, mindfulness, trauma, holistic health, and the mind-body connection.
A former nurse, childcare worker, and alternative therapist, Debbie has a particular interest in the impact and resolution of environmental factors including trauma and attachment relationships on horses and humans. She founded the Understanding Equus approach to horsemanship in 1998. A model independent relational approach, with the intent to educate, support and empower people to understand our specific needs and build positive trust-based relationships, with horses, ourselves, and with others.
She maintains a deep curiosity and passion for collaboration rather than competition. As such she has worked with a wide variety of international trainers, coaches, behaviourists, facilitators, and therapists, all within the fields of horsemanship, health, and Equine Assisted Interventions. As unique individuals, Debbie believes we all need to learn to listen to our own inner guidance, whilst maintaining the core principles of a non-judgemental, compassionate, and empathetic approach to the horse and human condition.
You find more info about Debbie and her work at: www.understandingequus.com
Dru Butterfield, trainer and consultant in equine conservation grazing, UK.
Dru is a UK based collaborator in MiMer workshops and courses.
Beautiful Dartmoor, often described as the last real wilderness of South West England, is where I developed my passion for its tough, hardy native ponies. Animals that can withstand Atlantic gales and summer droughts, it's almost as if they were built for the climatic changes we are now witnessing.
Through Equi Phoenix it is a privilege to support the many pony keepers and breeders across the UK helping promote the importance of our Native equine breeds, thus protecting our heritage as we find new uses for equines in the world of conservation to enhance biodiversity through their grazing habits.
My experience of equine conservation grazing has been gained through working with a range of native and non-native breeds, such as the Exmoor, Shetland, Welsh Mountain, Konik and the Carneddau ponies from North Wales
Much of my practical experience was gained through handling semi-feral ponies and managing a 450 hectare moorland site on Dartmoor.
During my time as Chief Executive of the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust, I led a research project to establish the effectiveness of equine grazing on Molinia grass using salt blocks as an attractant. The project ran for six years in partnership with Plymouth University with outstanding results.
For 16 years my equine consultancy has provided guidance, advice and training to private clients, wildlife and conservation organisations, as well as national and regional grazing NGOs across the UK.
In April 2022 I launched Equi Phoenix Ltd, we source and train equines for conservation grazing systems, equine welfare and management advice for those using or considering the use of equines in the conservation grazing sector, site and risk assessments, equine and ranger / warden / volunteer team training.
Irina Dolmatova-Eggers, Project Managment - Leader, Organizer, EAL Faciliatator and Educator (Germany, Russia)
Irina is is a German-based collaborator and co-faclitator and trainer in MiMer workshops and courses.
Irina had been a specialist in organizational transformation and project management working with major international companies for over 14 years and then for the last 7 years she has followed her passion and love of horses and become an entrepreneur. She creates and delivers development and educational programs, conferences for human behavior change through facilitating re-connection with inner and outer nature. In her work she focuses on promoting a mutual welfare for people, horses, and the planet.
Irina holds the IFEEL Method L5 Equine Facilitated Human Development diploma and is on final stage of earning L6 Equine Facilitated Psychotraumatology diploma, she is also the Program Director of the IFEEL Method for Europe.
Sonja Lairila, Equine ethics and -relationship consultant & yoga instructor (Finland, Germany)
Sonja is a long time collaborator and a former member of our Board of Directors.
Sonja has 20 years of experience in different disciplines with horses. Her passion to truly understand equines was evoked by working with many traumatized horses over the years. By being close to horses that had suffered lead her to study equines, and equine-human interaction intensively from different perspectives.
Besides horses, Sonja is a Dynamic Mindfulness yoga instructor, and her passion for movement and mindfulness reaches over to the equine world as well. She is curious about mindful movement experiences, and how that connects to the relationships/interactions with horses. She believes in the power of just being and observing in order to understand, both ourselves, and our equine partners better.
Sonja’s interdisciplinary approach aims to bring a wider understanding and better welfare to the world of equines. Her aim is to help people improve their relationships with their equine partners through mutual understanding and to improve the general welfare and wellbeing of equines (and humans) by education.
Emily Kieson PhD, M.S., PgDip, ESMHL, (USA)
Emily is a former member of the Board in MiMer. She served as MiMer Centre's Research Director from 2019- august 2022.
Emily has a PhD in Comparative Psychology from Oklahoma State University, a MS in Psychology from Oklahoma State University, a B.S. in Ecology and Evolution from Rutgers University and a Post Graduate Diploma in Equine Science from the University of Edinburgh. She teaches and develops courses at Post University and Unity College and serves on the Equine Welfare Committee of the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. Her passion is researching equine behavioral psychology in the context of horse-human interactions with specific focuses on affiliative strategies, social bonding, and positive welfare.
Emily has spent almost 20 years as a multi-disciplinary trainer and instructor in both Texas and Oklahoma and became interested in equine-assisted activities and therapies about ten years ago. She has been trained and certified in a half-dozen models of EAAT and continues to learn about the field. It was during these trainings that she discovered the lack of research in horse-human interactions and became interested (honestly, obsessed) with developing the science in this field. Specifically, Emily is interested in understanding how horses interact with humans in ways that mimic social bonding to help develop better models of equine-assisted psychotherapy that use equine interactions to parallel interpersonal relationships. She also has ambitions of using this to help individuals create better relationships with their horses at home and create more centralized educational resources for horse owners and equine practitioners.
Francesca Gatti (Norway, Italy)
Francesca is a former board member in MiMer and served as our research coordinator between 2019-2022.
Francesca is a biologist (PhD in biotechnology) who has mostly worked in basic and clinical research of animal models of human diseases. Her last research was a randomized clinical trial for complementary horse assisted therapy for the treatment of addictions.
Her scientific interests include human health and wellbeing, biomarkers of stress and disease in human and animals, One Health, animal welfare and wellbeing, animal assisted interventions, innovative and sustainable approaches for experiential learning and personal development.
Promotion of research and knowledge dissemination of equine assisted interventions that look at both human and animal health and wellbeing, through project proposal, interdisciplinary and international collaborations, and organization of trainings and workshops, are her main goals, as board member of MiMer!
Currently she is pursuing a training/education to become a mindfulness instructor and a member of the Equine Assisted Mindfulness (EAM) team.
Francesca is mostly active in Norway and Italy, but very happy to collaborate with the rest of the world!
Kate Causbie (Washington, USA)
Kate is a long time collaborator and a former member of our Board of Directors.
Kate holds a BA in Interdepartmental Studies - Critical Social Psychology from Wittenberg University, and works in a variety of emotional support roles including as a birth doula and trauma-informed mindfulness and yoga instructor. She started spending time with horses as a young teenager, volunteering at a therapeutic riding center as well as exploring various approaches to understanding equine cognition and movement science. During her research for her BA she saw deeper nuance in the power and practices of equine human interactions, and works to find the guidance that ecological thinking, and in particular ecopsychology's ethos, can add to our paradigms in these practices.
You find Kate here: www.wildandpreciousdays.com
Lovsa Cullheim (Sweden)
Lovisa has long experience working with different types of animals. Following her BSC in Journalism and Communication, she decided to study ethology and zoology and pursued a career working with predators (mainly wolves) around the world.
Today, she works as a zookeeper focusing on Nordic animals while also expanding her knowledge about the world of equine-assisted interventions. One of her special interests is rewilding and working towards creating a world rich with wilderness.
She believes that creating opportunities where people can experience wild nature and wildlife is necessary to cultivate an emotional bond and sense of responsibility for the future of our planet.
Her goal is to integrate nature and animal-assisted mental health interventions into the rewilding movement and to facilitate experiences that inspire a sense of belonging. She has recently taken a training in Wildlife Tourism through Rewilding Europe.