Robin grew up on Long Island, NY where at a very young age she became hooked on horses. She owned her first horse at age 11 and trained with Mary O’Rourke and Patrick Rice at Rice Farms. Robin competed in the NY/NJ/PA circuits in hunter and equitation classes. She then moved to Bucks County, PA and continued her equitation and hunter career with Milestone Farm. Robin’s parents purchased her second horse and she continued to compete successfully in Medal/ASPCA Maclay & Junior Hunter.
Robin also developed a love for teaching at a young age, instructing many beginner and intermediate riders, along with Girl Scout summer programs. Over the years, Robin helped many young riders develop the same love for horses and learning that she developed at a young age.
In college, Robin was a business and marketing major at Delaware Valley College and competed in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. In her senior year, Robin and the DelVal team became regional champions.
Upon graduation Robin married Ken and worked for a marketing company for many years as director for multiple departments. It was during this time that Robin realized that she loved motivating people and seeing employees and coworkers work together toward a common goal. Robin and Ken have two wonderful kids, Nick and Marin. Robin decided to stay home with her kids, she continued to pursue her love of learning and attended night school at Marymount University earning her Master’s degree in Education.
When Nick and Marin started school, Robin returned to the work world and taught for Loudoun County Public Schools in Ashburn, VA for 10 years. She loved the excitement that her students brought to learning, and seeing the sparkle in their eyes when they discovered something new. Robin also encouraged her students to achieve to their highest potential, often times tutoring after school in the classroom.
lt was during Robin's interactions while tutoring that she realized there might be a better way to reach some of her more reluctant learners. Knowing how horses helped many of her earlier students gain leadership and communication skills, Robin decided to combine her after-school tutoring with horsemanship and math and science. Equus CAN Educate is the blend that Robin was after. Over the course of 2 years, Robin and Mary Marchetti have developed an after-school program that combines NON-RIDING equine assisted learning, fun STEAM activities involving the horses and reflective literacy skills. Students love their time on the farm learning basic horse care, foundational horsemanship skills, and applying math and science to real life. All while developing leadership, communication and self-discipline with the horses.
Mary Marchetti, a licensed and registered occupational therapist, has had multiple opportunities to witness the effectiveness and wonder that horses bring to every interaction. She has designed and implemented a variety of animal assisted and health and wellness programs for Fairfax County’s early intervention, after school program, and Therapeutic Recreation Department. Mary’s community-based equine programs have included providing equine-assisted therapy, hippotherapy, social/emotional skills camps, toddler playgroups, and therapeutic riding lessons. Mary’s advanced training and certifications include: sensory integration (SIPT), hippotherapy, therapeutic riding, Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and Registered Yoga Teacher. She is very excited to have the opportunity to work with Robin and the equine “team” to help individuals, of all ages and abilities, experience change, progress, and a sense of accomplishment in an enjoyable and motivating environment.
Jean Teresa Corrigan Rizzo was born and raised in the Canal Zone Republic of Panama. The daughter of an educator and a naturalist she grew up in an environment where animals, insects and plants could impart wisdom, if you knew how to listen. Lessons learned as a child exploring rainforests and jungles offers proof to Jean that nature can nurture, as well as expand and breakdown conventional constructs in learning. Jean moved to the United States to pursue her education and holds a Masters in Education from Marymount University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communications from Old Dominion University. Jean is a second career educator having worked as an award-winning broadcaster for the Voice of America for nearly a decade. Since 2005 Jean has been an English Language Teacher for Loudoun County Public Schools. Jean is highly regarded throughout the district and the state for leveraging programs, methods and technology to teach English as a Second Language. Jean is a passionate multilingual educator and energetically embraces new methods to help students reach their full potential and enjoy learning.