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Our Humans

Equi Evolution

Sam Thorpe
Founder & Director

Sam has always had a deep love for horses. She grew up riding and helping care for the horses on her family's farms. As a teen she struggled with her own mental health and found peace in the barn. Her empathy and compassion for those struggling to find their own place in this world are what drove her to start these equine-inspired wellness programs.

Sam lives on the Equi Evolution farm in Cumberland, RI with her husband, 3 children, and many fur babies. She has a BSBA from Bryant University, where she studied Business and Psychology and has taken coursework in Equine Studies at Johnson & Wales University. She is a MA certified riding instructor and has extensive experience in EAAT (Equine-Assisted Activities & Therapies) including therapeutic riding, Hippotherapy, and EFL (Equine-Facilitated Learning).

She is a certified EFL Practitioner through
The HERD Institute and has over 25 years of experience coaching and helping build the confidence and self-esteem of those in her community, and around the world, through both in-person and online mentorship. She is a faculty member of The HERD Institute and teaches EFL certification courses in this modality as well as offering business mentoring for those interested in pursuing a career in EAAT industries. She is also a Reiki III Master Practitioner who is passionate about holistic wellness and the power of self-love. 

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Lia Catanzaro
Wellness Practitioner/Sam's right-hand woman

Lia is a RI native with a BS in Psychology from Rhode Island College. During her time spent in Honolulu teaching yoga, she soon realized that the most important lessons for leading a happy and balanced life were found in the meditation and mindfulness aspects of the practice. Since then, she made it a goal to pass on those teachings in her classes and began creating and hosting workshops to give more people access to them.

 

Lia has always been an animal lover, but had never had the chance to be up close to horses until a few years ago when she moved back to RI. After being around them and realizing how grounding their presence was, she knew she needed to spend more time with them and explore that connection. Luckily that was when she found Equi Evolution!

 

Through her own personal experience with mental health, chronic illness, and grief, she knows how healing both mindfulness and working with the herd through the EFL program can be. Lia is a certified EFL Practitioner through The HERD Institute as well as a Certified Yoga Instructor and Reiki III Master Practitioner. She facilitates private and group wellness programs, teaches compassionate horsemanship, leads yoga and grounding classes, and offers Reiki healing sessions. Phew! There is nothing this woman can't do. (She is also Mama to our sweet girl, Rosie.)

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Jamie Thorpe
Farm Owner/Handyman/Emotional Support

Jamie is Sam's husband and together they own the Equi Evolution farm. By day he works as a Lineman, but his nights and weekends are spent fixing things around the farm and making Sam's crazy project ideas come to life. 

He has practically no horse experience and his mental health experience comes mostly from being married to Sam (so I guess that's kind of a lot lol), but don't worry, he won't be teaching programs anytime soon. Instead you'll find him out on the tractor or working around the property. He is the "silent" partner behind the scenes helping us make all the magic happen. 

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Ruthanne Hawkins
Reiki Practitioner

An executive assistant, Reiki practitioner, animal communicator, and horse lover extreme, Ruthanne began her journey here as a former participant in the Equi Evolution program. She found significant peace from her work with the horses and has fully immersed herself into the world of equine-facilitated learning and animal advocacy and welfare.

Upon completion of her program, she began volunteering at the farm and eventually landed the role as Chairman of the Board for The Evolution Foundation, committed to support equine and human wellness efforts. She is dedicated to helping improve access to equine-centered wellness programs and improving welfare efforts around the world. Her passion and love for this work and the horses is evident from the moment you meet her. She is also a Reiki III Master Practitioner and offers healing sessions at the farm. 

 “I never imagined the connections between horses and humans would be so intense and fulfilling. That connection is the drive that has led me to where I am today.”

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Christine DiLuglio
Assistant Instructor

Christine also began her journey at the farm as an Evolution program participant. Bonding over horses with her father growing up, she was excited by the opportunity to have more hands-on experience as she too transitioned into a volunteer position. 

She is the Owner of The Woods Yoga, a top rated studio in Rhode Island, and is passionate about both physical and mental health and wellness. This year she finally made a dream come true and bought her first horse, an adorable bay gelding named Ranger! She loves cooking new meals with her husband, playing Pickle Ball, horseback riding, mucking (don't knock it till you try it), and working on building her relationship with Ranger. After immersing herself in the world of horses and compassionate horsemanship over these past 2 years, she will now be joining our team to help teach our horsemanship classes and sharing her excitement for the power of the equine connection. 

Our Horses

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Chase
Quarter Horse

Chase spent the majority of his life working as a therapeutic riding horse. In early 2019, he retired from his former career and became the first horse of the Equi Evolution herd. He is also the oldest horse in our herd, and his wisdom never ceases to amaze. 

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Jackie
Quarter Horse

Pulled from a kill pen with her foal, Jackie found sanctuary at The Santana Center.. Her baby was quickly adopted but it took a while for Jackie to find the perfect home, and boy are we glad it gets to be us! This little mare takes her maternal role very seriously and is always ready to offer a gentle nuzzle or a guiding nudge in the right direction.  

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Vinnie
Mini Donkey

Vinnie and Chase have been close pals since the very start of Equi Evolution in early 2019. Since then he has snuggled his way into the hearts of hundreds and has become a mini mascot of the farm. His sweet demeanor and love of attention and butt scratches make him a lovable member of the herd.

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Drifter
Standardbred

Drifter is an ex-harness racer turned police horse. After budget cuts in the department he found himself in need of a new home and we found each other at exactly the right time. He is the largest of our horses, but don't let his size fool you...one look into those puppy dog eyes and you'll see exactly why he's the perfect support when you're feeling down. 

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Rosie
Belgian

Rosie spent her entire life at one farm. When tragedy struck the family she was living with, she was sent to a rescue in Pennsylvania to be rehomed. Having never moved before, the transition to her new home at our farm hasn't been easy. But she is teaching us so much about patience, compassion, and the fact that scars don't always show on the outside.

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Theodore (Teddy)
Haflinger

Having been rescued from neglect by a wonderful family in NH, Teddy spent a year being rehabbed back into health. Unfortunately, the family was unable to continue meeting his care needs and at 27 years old, he was high risk for ending up in a kill pen, so of course we were happy to offer him a safe home where he can live out the rest of his days surrounded by peace and love. 

Rosie
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