Carlisle Academy Founders
Nick and Sarah Armentrout co-founded and manage Carlisle Academy on their Spring Creek Farm in Lyman, Maine. The Armentrouts, who grew up together in Kennebunk, Maine, knew early on that they wanted their life’s work to combine their love of horses with helping others. Initially, the couple pursued their goals separately, by moving out west in their early 20s to study riding instruction and work with horses. Nick was a wrangler and a ranch hand in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho, and also a riding instructor for riders with and without disabilities. Sarah, a PATH Intl. certified Advanced Level therapeutic riding instructor, trained at The National Center for Equine Facilitated Therapy in California, and was a working student for Peggy Cummings’ Connected Riding in Idaho. While in Idaho, the couple worked together for three years in Hailey, instructing students and managing the Sagebrush Equine Training Center for the Handicapped (SETCH) in Idaho.
Although they had positive experiences out west, the Armentrouts wanted to move back home—and to the community that supported them during their youth—to build a farm of their own. Fortunately, besides equestrian skills, both had business experience as well, having worked in corporate roles including marketing, communication, and sales. “Our vision together was to host an integrated community, bringing the joy of horses to people’s lives and meeting the equine interests of those with special needs alongside their able-bodied peers.”
Carlisle Academy is committed to providing the highest quality outcomes to riders of all ages and abilities. As a PATH Premier Accredited Center serving over 175 participants per year, Carlisle Academy offers several first-rate programs including the largest hippotherapy program in northern New England, the first approved equine program in Maine for disabled veterans, and pioneering education in para-equestrian sports. With Carlisle’s expert and credentialed staff holding specialty certifications in key areas of equine-assisted therapy and education, the Academy has emerged as a leader in the industry.
The Academy is led by the Head of School, an Advanced Level PATH Instructor certified since 1995, maintaining a strong belief in an inclusive environment, an integrative approach, and program excellence. All instructing staff are nationally certified through either the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) or the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA), with additional specialty certifications in Vaulting, Adaptive Carriage Driving, and Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning. On-staff occupational and physical therapists are trained and credentialed as Hippotherapy Clinical Specialists by the American Hippotherapy Certification Board, which represents the highest level of credentialing in the field, and held by under 100 therapists internationally. Additional specializations include Sensory Integration and Neuro-Developmental Treatment certifications. Professional horse handlers long line and lead horses in the Therapy & Adaptive Program, creating safe and consistent lessons. The team is rounded out by lesson apprentices and clinical interns seeking professional mentoring in therapy or education. This composition of highly talented program staff allows Carlisle Academy to function as an educational leader within our industry.
Carlisle Academy has an affiliation and/or certification through the following equestrian organizations:
Sarah Armentrout, Head of School, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Grant, OTR/L, Therapy & Adaptive Program Director, email@example.com
Cyndy West, Sports & Education Program Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
Irene Steltzer, Finance & HR Administrator, email@example.com
May Dee, Program Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org
Instructors & Therapists
Sarah Armentrout: Advanced PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor certification
Susan Grant, OTR/L; HPCS: Registered PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor and therapeutic carriage driving instructor certifications; HPCS through American Hippotherapy Certification Board
Cyndy West: Registered PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor, BHSI Certification
Janet Smaldone, PT; HPCS: HPCS through American Hippotherapy Certification Board
Kristen Gould: Registered PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor; PATH Intl. equine specialist/mental health & learning certification, CHA Certified Level 3 Vaulting Coach
Joyce Brown: Registered PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor; PATH Intl. equine specialist/mental health & learning certification
May Dee: Registered PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor
Caitlin Andrus: Registered PATH Intl. therapeutic riding instructor; jump instructor
Cynthia Paquette: CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) Level I instructor
Lisa King: CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) Level I instructor
Jane Tremlett: CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association) Level 3 instructor