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our staff

Stephanie Powell, Executive Director


Stephanie is a PATH International Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and a Certified Special Olympics Equestrian Coach. Starting at a young age she caught the horse-loving bug. Her riding education began early and continued with over 8 year of hunter/jumper lessons in Manor, Texas, including show experience in TSSA, CenTex, and CTHJA.

Combining her love for horses and helping others, she became involved in therapeutic riding. This led to opportunities to work with at-risk youth, Horses for Heroes, summer camps, and a chemical dependency program.

With a passion for partnering horses with humans and a focus on horsemanship, her teaching style encourages the connection between horse and rider from the very beginning.

Her herd includes a 15-year-old thoroughbred gelding named Pencil, a cat, and a parakeet that found her during a trail ride.

our board of advisors

Micki Eubanks

Micki has volunteered at HELP since 2006, and served on the board since 2009. She and her mare, Shasta, enjoy riding trails around her home in Taylor.

Beau Whitaker, DVM

Dr. Beau Whitaker grew up near Nashville, Tennessee working on his family's farm. Prior to attending veterinary school, he trained halter horses professionally in north Texas. Beau graduated from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. Upon graduation, he completed an internship at Arizona Equine in Gilbert, Arizona. Subsequently, Beau then worked as a veterinarian at the 6666's Ranch in Guthrie, Texas. Beau moved to Salado, Texas, and joined Dr. T’s Equine Clinic (now Brazos Valley Equine Hospital, Salado) in 2007, where he established a busy lameness and sports medicine clientele. Beau is interested in equine rehabilitation and received his Certification in Equine Rehabilitation Therapy (CERT) in 2014 from the University of Tennessee.

Kirk Zippe

Kirk has been a volunteer at HELP since 1999 and President of the board since 2009. He welcomes you to HELP and looks forward to sharing the wonderful and memorable experiences you and your child will have riding with us.  

His son Auggie started riding with HELP in 1999 at age 2, and rode there for 11 years. He has since graduated and continues to ride at an equestrian center without assistance. Now 18, he continues to learn to ride English and is trotting and jumping on his own.

Expect miracles and enjoy the ride!

Vacant (email director@helpcenterofaustin.org if interested)

our partner

Candice Ackerman, PhD
Candice spent her childhood growing up on the farmlands of Wisconsin, and held her first job working with farm animals when she was 13 years old. Candice did a lot of recreational horse riding as a child, and volunteered at a therapeutic riding center as a teenager. Up until her late teen years she wanted to be a veterinarian, but eventually found her calling of understanding and treating how people think and behave. She graduated from the University of Kansas in 2012 with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology after completing her clinical internship at Iowa City VA Medical Center. Since attaining her degree, she has worked for the Department of Veterans Affairs and Behavioral Health Consultants, PLLC of Austin. She opened her private practice in August of 2014, and began working with the HELP Center in March 2015. Candice is happy to have found an opportunity to unite people and animals in a therapeutic setting.

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Since 1984, HELP has provided a safe and caring environment for people with challenges to experience the joy of equine partnership.
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