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Our Team

Meet our Office and Programme Delivery Team:

Natali Khilkova

Executive Assistant and Office Administrator

Natali is the person who keeps the wheels of LEAP moving, she is responsible for office & course administration. If you call the office you will most likely speak to Natali and she works really hard to ensure students and clients feel valued and heard. She has a BA in Business Management and has over 6 years experience working as an Executive Assistant.

Coming from a diverse professional and personal background, Natali is passionate about customer experience and helping others, including our learners on the training journey with LEAP. She is interested in the field of equine facilitated therapies and while not experienced with horses, her interest in supporting others, organisational skills and business skills make her an invaluable team member.

Jo-Anne Karlsson MSc MBPsP, NBCC, LCDC, PG Cert, LEAP

Director and Senior EFP/L Practitioner

Jo-Anne Karlsson is the Owner and Director of LEAP and is a key member of the Senior Therapeutic Team.  Jo-Anne is a Systemic and Solution Focused Family Therapist and Addiction Counselor gaining her qualification in the United States of America; as well as a Clinical Supervisor having qualified from Derby University.  Jo-Anne began her career at the Child Institute of Mental Health in London researching the Autism Spectrum but then went on to be a mother of three step-children and having two of her own, before returning to studying Family Therapy.  Jo-Anne is also a National Certified Counselor in the State of Illinois and an experienced EFL/P practitioner since 2012 having practiced in the USA, Singapore and the UK in residential, community and private environments.

Jo-Anne was among the first graduates of the LEAP EFP/L Practitioner Training Programme and now runs her own successful private practice in and around Berkshire. Having a mixed herd of ex-polo and rescue ponies, Jo-Anne allows the herd to have a choice of who and how they work with individuals, with the majority of clients being young people aged between 8 and 24 years of age.  Jo-Anne has a postgraduate qualification in clinical supervision and is interested in studying a Ph.D. in Psychotherapy and Philosophy, specialising in Trauma issues and adolescence.

Sarah Hopton MSc, MBACP (Accred), MNCS (Prof Accred) FACCPH Adv AP

Programme Director and Senior EFP/L Practitioner

Sarah worked for many years in blue chip organisations providing change programmes and coaching for management teams. She was in a world-class procurement change team for Rolls Royce PLC and was involved in delivering business plan development and strategic sourcing globally. She has negotiated multi-million-pound global contracts within a complex multi-vendor environment, understanding this complexity allows her to work with a variety of national and global organisations providing leadership development. She uses her own equine therapy centre at Life on Dreams to offer unique leadership development, change management and business strategy development in a truly immersive and unique experience.

Sarah has also ran a successful procurement consultancy and worked for a number of global organisations including Vodafone, Rolls Royce PLC, E-on, Northcliffe Media, Associated News including the Daily Mail. Her work at Vodafone saw her shortlisted for a Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Chain (CiPS) award. During this time, she was able to train with some world-class horsemen and subsequently went on to train in Horse Accelerated Transformation (HAT) with HorseJoy, which set her up to integrate strategic skills with a horse-focused leadership development programme.

While completing her MSc in Integrative Psychotherapy, Sarah studied with LEAP as an Equine Facilitated Psychotherapist (EFP) and after graduating with a distinction, she went on to launch Life on Dreams Limited.

Life on Dreams is a fulfilment of her dream, to create a specialist centre offering well-being services in South Derbyshire and Staffordshire. Working with corporate leaders including CIOs and Company Directors, adults and young people struggling with anxiety, stress, depression, PTSD, addiction and trauma, Sarah has cumulated thousands of clinical practice hours.

In 2016, Sarah joined the LEAP senior training team where she is able to bring her experience as a coach and psychotherapist into the experiential training offered by LEAP for those wishing to become EFP and EFL Practitioners.  She is responsible for co-running the Level 4 and Level 5 Diploma’s  and supervising trainees and LEAP Practitioners.  She co-created the Addiction CPD course with Mike Delaney and is passionate about developing new course and material for LEAP. Sarah co-created the Level 4 Diploma in Equine Facilitated Learning: the LEAP Method which launched in 2020 offering an externally recognised and accredited course for those wishing to move into the field of EFL.

Lisa Bruin

International Horsemanship Trainer and Instructor

Lisa has spent her life working with horses; she has travelled worldwide working and training with some of the world’s top horsemen. She has trained and spent time with Ray HuntLeslie DesmondPhil RodeyPhilip Nye and Steve Halfpenny.

Lisa teaches our Horsemanship courses and offers a relational way to work with our horses. The emphasis of her teaching is to create an understanding between horse and practitioner, developing trust and confidence right from the start. Alongside teaching with LEAP, Lisa helps people with difficult horses and youngsters and teaches clinics across the UK and Europe. She has competed internationally in Cowboy Dressage and was in the GB Working Equitation Team in 2018 with her little quarter horse Skeeter.

Lisa’s passion for horses is evident in all her work and our trainees have all learned a lot from her teaching, learning about relationship, leadership, feel, timing, equine body language and much more.

Heidi Dawson MNCH (Acc.) MAC

Senior EFL Practitioner & Tutor

Heidi enjoyed a successful 20-year-long corporate career, holding senior roles in organisations including RHM Group, Greggs PLC and Edmund Nuttall Ltd and also acting as Consultant to a number of organisations, including the Environment Agency.  But, she always felt there was something missing!  So, during this time she also trained and practised as a professional coach and hypnotherapist.  She finally took the plunge, leaving behind her ‘safe’ Corporate role to focus on her coaching and therapy practice in 2006.

A number of opportunities arose from this move, most notably being invited to deliver internationally accredited professional coach training programmes in London, Edinburgh and Brussels.

In 2010, Heidi established Success Unbridled and introduced equine facilitated learning into her work, focusing primarily on delivering leadership and team development programmes. 

However, she was asked to do a piece of work with a local secondary school and this opened her eyes to the possibilities that can unfold when young people are given the chance to work through their challenges using experiential learning methods.  This broadening of Heidi’s offering led to the formation in 2013 of Glint, a not-for-profit, social enterprise.  Heidi is Glint’s CEO and Lead Facilitator. 

Heidi has first-hand experience of the benefits of time spent with horses and ponies, having experienced bullying as a young girl and finding solace in their company.  30 years later, she had cause to reflect upon the strength they gave her; the courage to stand up for herself; the wisdom to see that it’s actually ok to be different to everybody else.  Now, she takes those experiences and puts them to good use in the Horse Assisted Development programmes she develops and delivers with Glint.  Whether it’s leadership and team development, or supporting young and vulnerable people in improving their life chances, Heidi believes that interaction with horses and ponies can and does create real and lasting learning on many different levels.

Ivan Broad MBACP NCS (Accred)

Senior EFP/L Practitioner

Ivan is a registered member of the BACP and Accredited with the National Counselling Society. 

Ivan has been practicing as a therapist since qualifying in 2008 and has worked with a range of organisations including North Staffs Mind, Her Majesty’s Prison Service, Savana (formerly Rape Crisis), Douglas MacMillan, The Red Cross and The Dove Service.

Ivan has experience of working as a Person Centred counsellor and a psychodynamic therapist within a Therapeutic Community setting where he worked in large and small therapy groups for almost 10 years.

Ivan completed the Level 5 Diploma in EFP with LEAP in 2017 and set up a Community Interest Company delivering Equine Assisted Psychotherapy to young people and adults in January 2018 at the same time as setting up in private practice full time.

Ivan continues to develop his therapy practice and has years of experience working with trauma. 

Ivan is a Senior Leap Practitioner and is proud to be part of the Leap training Team.

Ivan is an experienced Clinical Supervisor and helps support other professional therapists in their work.

Ivan has completed a level 4 PTLLS qualification.

Ivan delivered training in Forensic Therapeutic Community theory and practice to HM prison staff and therapists between 2012 and 2017 along with the delivery of experiential workshops.

Ivan has delivered equine experiential workshops to other professional therapists since qualifying in EFP with Leap in 2017.

Ivan is trained in EMDR therapy and is currently training as a Breathwork Practitioner. The Breathwork practice compliments EFP as it works on energy in the body and encourages a greater expression and flow of energy which the horses respond to.