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Leslie Paino



Leslie’s yearly horseback ride with cherished friends through The Great Divide in Colorado offers a sense of reconnection with the wonders of nature and meaningful friendships. Their horses are not just along for the ride — they’re what make these gifts possible. 


Facilitating the same human-to-horse connection in a therapeutic environment at Rise Canyon Ranch puts Leslie in a great position to witness miracles happening for clients. She believes that horses are awe-inspiring equalizers in the most profound ways. No matter the person’s age, size or struggle, a horse’s presence brings something intangible and soothing simply by being in close proximity to humans.      


Leslie’s deep affinity for horses has shaped her and the work she does today. As life brought horses onto her path she later discovered the bond she has with them originates from somewhere deeper: her DNA. Leslie’s birth mother was a Horse Whisperer, which helped Leslie understand and solidify her ever-growing connection with horses.  


Being raised by a wonderful adoptive family fortified her life with nurturing and encouragement. Her father, an Orange County Sheriff exemplified upstanding principles and integrity, something she strives to emulate for her family and in her service to others. She also has a unique understanding for those who have been adopted and the impact it can have in their lives.  


Her advocacy and experience in horse rescue, veterans’ issues, and young women’s programs provide her a depth of care and understanding for others. She considers herself a good listener and finds great joy in getting to know people and holding space for anyone trying to improve their life. 


Observing the client-horse-therapist interaction has helped her develop an ease for life. People arrive uncertain and unsure, but want to work on their struggles. Through weeks of hard work and growth they realize the benefit the experience brings to their family, and their mental health. Her work with veterans and adolescents with autism is particularly rewarding because she experiences their joy from start to finish. Getting to do so out in nature with big furry horses makes her grateful beyond compare.  


  • Eagala Certified Equine Specialist



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