Our Humans

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 aunt and uncle'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 Equi Evolution. Sam lives 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 an 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 certified in Level 1 EFL through The HERD Institute and has over 20 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 working towards completing her Level 2 HERD certification this year to expand her education in working with vulnerable populations. 

Lia Catanzaro
EFL Practitioner

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.

Our Horses

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. 


Quarter Horse

Pulled from a kill pen with her foal, Jackie found sanctuary at The Santana Center, in southern RI. 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.  



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. 

Paint cross

What she lacks in education this little girl makes up for in spunk and sass. The youngest horse in our herd, Dakota is still working on a lot of basic ground manners and learning what it means to be a part of a herd. But despite her uncertainties, her curious and playful personality always make us laugh. 

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.