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Our Operation

Our Team

An awesome team of dedicated professionals who make a difference in our client's lives on a daily basis.

Our Therapy Horses

Our horse are specially chosen for their temperment and movements. They are integral part of our therapy team.

Our Facility

We've recently moved to an expansive, state-of-the-art farm that creates a welcoming and loving environment for our work.

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Our Team

Vicky Carregal

Executive Director/Physical Therapist

Vicky Carregal, MSPT serves as the Executive Director of Horseplay Therapy Center. Vicky graduated from University of North Florida in 2002 with a Masters of Science in Physical Therapy and has spent 15 years working with children. She lives in St. Augustine, FL with her husband and two boys. Vicky loves running Horseplay Therapy Center, but she is a therapist at heart and continues to treat patients. Once she discovered the effectiveness of hippotherapy in 2014, she strived to make it available to all who would benefit from it. Vicky is proud to be the founder of Horseplay Therapy Center and hopes that lives will continue to be changed through the therapy they provide and the love and care that goes along with it!

Melinda Clark

Occupational Therapist
Since receiving her Master’s in Occupational Therapy from the University of St. Augustine in 2008, Melinda has worked in the pediatric field, providing services to children with a wide variety of diagnoses in home, clinic and preschool settings. She has been working in hippotherapy since 2013. Additional special interests include early intervention and sensory integration. Melinda is a trained Therapeutic Listening and Integrated Listening System (iLs) provider. Besides working as an OT, Melinda is a volunteer and parent advisor at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, FL, where she works with visually impaired 0- to 6-year- olds and their families in the home. Melinda lives in St. Augustine with her husband and two sons.
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Ken Mixon

Lead Volunteer

Ken Mixon retired in from Sea Star Lines in 2012 and decided that his real work needed to begin! He is one of the original volunteers at Horseplay Therapy. Known by all as “Mr Ken”, he is willing to do anything needed to help a hippotherapy session be successful. This often means talking like cookie monster, or singing the requested song of the day over and over and over and over again. Mr Ken is loved by our families and staff, and adored by our patients. He loves watching the kids progress and is always ready to celebrate when they do great things! We are so thankful for Mr. Ken!

Maggie Lukaszewski

Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant

Maggie went to school at Daytona State and Keiser University, where she received her certification as a COTA. She has been working in pediatrics for the last 9 years in outpatient and special needs preschool environments. Her specialties in the field include fine motor, writing skills, and school readiness skills. Maggie also enjoys working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Maggie is married with three children, whom she enjoys fishing, boating and being outdoors with. Maggie loves all of our horses, but if she had to pick a favorite it would be Woody!

Katie Cammack Eller

Speech Therapist & Director of Development 

Katie received her Bachelors in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from Saint Louis University in 2015 and 2017. Since graduating, Katie has worked in the pediatric field, serving medically fragile children in the Physician Prescribed Extended Care (PPEC) and outpatient settings. Katie’s interests in the field include augmentative communication, early language delays and disorders, and pediatric dysphagia treatment and management. Katie wears several hats here at HorsePlay Therapy!  While she serves our children with speech, language, and feeding difficulties, she also serves as our Director of Development. Katie loves using hippotherapy in her treatment and the interdisciplinary benefits it provides. Katie’s favorite horse is Prince. Katie and her husband live in St. Augustine with their two beloved pups, Ellie and Lois.

Kayla Yingst

PT Assistant & Operations Manager

Kayla is the newest member of the HorsePlay Team! After her collegiate soccer career, Kayla received her degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant at Kaiser University in Jacksonville. Kayla has experience in orthopedics, and brings an orthopedic and athletic element to our team! Kayla recently received her Manual Physical Therapist Assistant Certification. Kayla loves utilizing the horses to better understand each patient’s body mechanics in treatment. Kayla also serves as a Clinical Operations Manager. Kayla’s favorite horse is Ringo! Kayla is married and enjoys spending time training her 3 dogs, as well as playing or coaching soccer.

Amanda Edwards

Physical Therapy Assistant

Amanda has a lifetime of experience with horses, which she brings to her treatment! Amanda was born and raised in St. Augustine, where she grew up riding and ranching. Her uncle, who had cerebral palsy and epilepsy rode with her often, which sparked a yearning to pursue hippotherapy very early on! Amanda then received her Physical Therapy Assistant degree at Florida State College in Jacksonville and has been a pediatric PTA for over 10 years, but has also worked in acute care, home health, and outpatient settings. Amanda and her husband have two young children, and live on a small farm with two horses of their own. Amanda is most likely to be found outdoors; hiking, camping, or riding horses!

Chelsea McHose

Barn Manager and Equine Specialist

Toree Brown


Sally Kiker


Sally is the newest to our Occupational Therapy team! Sally received her undergraduate degree from University of Maryland and went to graduate school for her Masters in Occupational Therapy at Trinity Washington University. She maintains a certification in Therapeutic Listening and loves all things sensory! She is passionate about universal design, and making environments and tools accessible to all. Sally also loves finding new board games and card games to incorporate into sessions to promote functional play, and a variety of fine, gross, and visual motor skills. In her free time, she loves spending time with her sheepadoodle, Fern, at the beach! Sally’s favorite horse at the time is Sir, but really, she loves them all!

Elyssa Male


Meet Elyssa, the new full time addition to our speech therapy team! Elyssa received her Masters in Speech-Language Pathology from Fontebonne University, where she was an interdisciplinary preparation of Teachers of the Deaf and Speech-Language Pathologists grant recipient. Elyssa’s interests in the field include Augmentative Alternative Communication, Autism, and learning ASL and more about Deaf culture. Elyssa grew up in the midwest amongst farmers, and loved visiting her uncle’s horses when she was young, and so utilizing horses in her practice is extra special. Elyssa loves Woody and Prince. If not at the barn, you can find Elyssa under the sun: kayaking, paddle boarding, and going to the beach!

Mary Dreggors


Mary is a licensed mental health counselor who serves on our RiseUp team! Mary graduated from Stetson University with a bachelors in psychology in 2016 and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2019. Since graduation, Mary has joined the National Council on Mental Wellbeing-Youth, become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, and certified in OK Corral Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Therapy, and is a PATH Certified ESMHL. Mary is specialized in working with adolescents and adults in the areas of attention disorders, depression, anxiety, trauma and PTSD. Her goal is to provide a safe space for clients to explore their thoughts and feelings and believes that horses can bring a great deal into the process of gaining insight, growth and healing. In her free time, Mary loves all things agriculture! Mary and her fiance own a small homestead farm where they are gardening and raising dogs, goats, chickens, views and their horse Zeb (photo). Mary’s favorite horse to use in treatment is River- because he is perfect for his job! 

Judy Bechtold

Our first volunteer and she’s still with us today!

Marjorie O'Loughlin

Shelly Raymond


Shelley is a Licensed Professional Counselor (Texas) and a Marriage and Family Therapist (Florida). She is a professional in Natural Lifemanship and trauma-focused equine assisted psychotherapy. She has thousands of hours of direct client contact with a diverse range of diagnosis specializing in issues of PTSD and Trauma, anger management, grief, depression and anxiety. She provides trauma sensitive care utilizing Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Brain Spotting, Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), Internal Family Systems (IFS) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Her youthful passion and love for horses was the catalyst for combining trauma healing therapy with horses. Symptoms of PTSD cause the discomfort of disconnection: from self, others, the world and spirituality. Horses provide a safe, non-judgmental way to restore this connection. In the famous words of Winston Churchill, “There is something about the outside of the horse that is good for the inside of a man.” Horses impact and improve both the physiology-self regulation – patterns of thinking for clients. They help clients feel safe, connected, trusting, loving, joyful and increase clients ability to develop healthy boundaries enhancing interpersonal relationships. Horses facilitate the natural healing powers of the brain to move clients toward adaptive resolutions for the experience of trauma.

Lauren Thibodaeu

Barn Manager, Quillow Acres

Join Our Team!

HorsePlay Therapy is growing our team!

See below for opportunities to make a difference in the lives of children and veterans in Northeast Florida

Current Openings

Barn Maintenance, Part time
Speech-Language Pathologist, Part time or full time
Occupational Therapist, PRN
Physical Therapist, PRN
Licensed Mental Health Counseling, PRN

Please contact us at [email protected] with your resume and availability for a phone interview.

HorsePlay is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to the inclusion of and full participation by all persons in the achievement of our mission.

Our Therapy Horses

Horseplay Therapy Center horses are carefully chosen for their temperament and the type of movement they produce.  All are specially trained in how to perform during a therapy session and are handled by experienced horse handlers.

Kids' Horses Team


13 year old Tennessee Walker

Captain is our very handsome Tennessee Walker who loves to be large and in charge. He loves posing for pictures and being the center of attention! You can find Captain wherever the kids are…unless you find him in the pond. No kids in the pond, but Captain has been known to sneek off for a quick dip!


12 year old Palomino Quarter Horse

Brave is a special guy with a special story. He suffered a severe facial injury that damaged his nerves and affected the whole left side of his face including his vision. He recovered from his injury, and our kids Love that he is a little different from the rest. He is a great therapy horse who is eager to please and has definitely lived up to his name. We love our Brave!


11 year old Welsh Pony

Lizzie is a Welsh pony who LOVES attention! She stands 14.2 hands tall and is our smallest therapy horse. She is the first one to poke her head out of her stall to say hello, so of course, she is a popular girl!


21 year old Tennessee Walker

Woody is a gentle giant who stands 16.5 hands,. He is always ready for love and attention.


16 year old 

Ringo joined our therapy team! He is gentle and sweet, and carries some of our tiniest kids. He’s been with us for a year now and we are so glad he found us!


The youngest of the herd, this Gypsy Vanner is a quiet and super sweet little guy.  



14 year old Haflinger

Sir is the newest addition to the kids’ team! He loves attention, and will always be the first to greet you at the stalls!

RiseUp Equine Team


Maeva is a 10 year old rescued Arabian mare. She is the queen bee and resident model at Quillow Acres!


19 year old Haflinger who recently changed careers! King was working with our kids in the kids program, but after seeing his passion for working with veterans he switched jobs! King moved to Quillow Acres in May of 2023.


Cody is a 13 year old Palomino quarter horse. He’s known for being calm, gentle, and loving.


Zen is a 13 year old Arabian who is super lovable and always looking for attention!


River is a 12 year old paint. He is very outgoing and eager to please!

Our Facilities

In 2018, we moved to a beautiful property and built a large covered arena that provides a safe environment for year round hippotherapy.  The 11 acre property with its 10 stalls and 3 child centered therapy rooms provides ample space to grow.  In 2020, thanks to the generosity of Kacey Musgraves, we built 80’x152’ covered arena, grew program to 150 visits per week, and began installation of a septic system in order to replace port-o-johns with a handicapped accessible bathroom with toilets for the children and families we serve.

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