Meet The Staff

Marya Pecukonis M.S., NBCT, CTRI, Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (Director, Lead Instructor)

  • PATH,( formerly NARHA) certified therapeutic riding instructor.
  •  4H certification Knowledge/Riding (Levels I - IV).
  • PATH ESMHL - Equine Specialist Mental Health and Learning 
  • President MCET Maryland Council Equine Therapies 2015-2017.
  • Family Consultant, Adult Life Planner Autism Waiver.
  • Master's Degree Johns Hopkins University - Post master's Administration and Supervision.
  • State chair representative for PATH.
  • Communicative Disorders- National Board Certified Teacher - Exceptional Needs Specialist.
  • Region 2 Representative PATH International 2018-2020

Teaching children and young adults with exceptional needs over the past thirty years has given this educator great insight and extensive experience in working with individuals who have been diagnosed with challenges to include: Autism, learning disabilities, speech and language disorders, ADD, ADHD, developmental disabilities, cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, emotional disabilities, deaf/hard of hearing, and visual challenges. Teaching from a strengths perspective model to enhance the attributes of all learners is essential. Add the powerful motivation of the equine and watch the learning unfold! She was awarded PATH registered instructor in 2014 and has currently transitioned to CTRI - Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor.

Edward Pecukonis, MSW, Ph.D. (Licensed Mental Health Therapist)

Dr. Pecukonis has worked in private practice assisting children, adolescents and their families since 1984. He is also a tenured Associate Professor, at the University of Maryland School of Social Work and the Co-founder of LeCheval Stable, a therapeutic riding and counseling center in Howard County Maryland providing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. His skills in Family Therapy, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, and Motivational Interviewing as well as decades of experience teaching master level courses in each of these methods are well documented. His training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from the Beck Institute in Philadelphia, PA. supports his treatment. He has extensive work with children and adolescents experiencing significant anxiety and/or depression with treatment methods based on research and empirical validation. At the same time, he understands that each family has unique needs and that any effective intervention must meet these unique needs of the client and their family.

Meredith Pecukonis, CTRI, Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor (PATH Instructor)

Meredith is a graduate from the University of Maryland. She was awarded PATH Registered Instructor in 2014. Her early history as a 4H Centaurs club leader, State of Maryland and National Horse Bowl competitor, volunteer recruiter, and past member of the University of Maryland Equestrian Riding Team, have given Meredith useful equine knowledge and riding experience. Meredith currently is working on her Ph.D. at Boston University in Developmental Psychology specializing in autism.

Lisa Baker-Burford - Adjunct staff ( Instructor)

Lisa has been riding for many years. She competes in dressage and enjoys trail rides with her 17.2 hand Thoroughbred gelding, Midnight. A graduate from Shepardstown College, she now works as a therapeutic recreation specialist in an assisted living unit. In past years, Lisa has supported Special Olympics as a trained volunteer and has been the longest standing volunteer at LeCheval Stable. We very much appreciate her talents and love seeing her as substitute and guest riding instructor.

Elizabeth Swartz (PATH Instructor) TRI, Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Lizzy is a PATH registered instructor. She is a full time licensed graduate social worker and earned her degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore. She has previous experience as a horse owner and competitor. Lizzy enjoys teaching riding and equine assisted learning. Lizzy provides equine assisted services as a mental health therapist and LCSW - Licensed Clinical Social Worker


LeCheval Stable has a great cadre of volunteers who are committed to supporting participants in equine assisted learning and therapy as leaders, side walkers, mentors and peers. These amazing volunteers provide a reciprocal relationship as seen in their commitment to community learning services. Ranging from middle to high school to college careers, military service veterans, mentors, they share their talents and support the sustainability to the mission of this non profit organizaiton.

LeCheval Stable is an equestrian training site Volunteer training required to work with athletes and participate in Special Olympics state games. Contact for more info.


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