Julie Kiewatt, LCPC & John Kiewatt

Co-Owners

Julie Kiewatt

Equine Therapist (LCPC) and Owner 

Julie is an owner and lead therapist at Firefly Horse Co and Firefly Healing Arts.  She’had a private counseling practice for 10 years and is a Certified Equine Assisted Therapist through Human Equine Alliances for Learning (HEAL).  Horses have always been a mainstay in Julie’s life and she feels truly blessed to be able to work with them daily to assist humans in the growth and healing process. She was in 4-H growing up and showed multiple horses in Western Pleasure and English Equitation, as well as barrels / speed events.  She also started and trained foals from the ground up.  Julie now focuses primarily on Natural Horsemanship, and the horse / human connection, and feels this can heal humans AND horses.

Julie has a Bachelor’s Degree is in Education, specializing in Spanish.  She also was near completion of a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Development when she decided to switch into the Psychology field.  Her Master’s Degree is in Mental Health Counseling specializing in Alternative and Holistic Therapies and she is licensed therapist in the state of Montana.  She has many additional certifications and specialties that are body and trauma focused including mindfulness-based therapies, meditation, tapping (EFT) and ThetaHealing (energy work).  Julie includes movement and mindfulness into her practice and works with each client differently depending on their needs.

Julie is also an owner of Firefly Children’s Center a holistic, nature based child care and preschool in Kalispell, MT.  She has 2 animal loving girls ages 5 and 8 and they love to hike, ride horses, and enjoy the great outdoors together.

Meg Boyle

Equine and Art Therapist (LCPC Candidate)

Master of Art Therapy Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL) within the PATH model of equine facilitated psychotherapy (EFP).

Meg Boyle has over 15 years of horse experience, primarily focusing on hunter/jumper in her youth and is currently certified as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL) within the PATH model of equine facilitated psychotherapy (EFP). She gained her Masters Degree in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she developed a passion for working with natural materials and textiles with clients. She completed research on the language of art-based materials, and focuses on movement and art as important forms of communication, in addition to talk. Meg is certified in Sensorimotor Psychotherapy (SP), a body based form of processing for trauma and has been working as an Art Therapist with youth and adults for 5 years. Meg has assisted in the Therapeutic Horse Program at her family’s farm in Illinois and hopes to gain future certifications in the HEAL (Human-Equine Alliances for Learning (HEAL) and Natural Life manship models. She believes in the importance of relationships, and is drawn to the compassionate connection horses create, both with ourselves and with others. Outside of work, Meg dedicates her energy to her own art practice as a Fiber Artist, specializing in weaving, natural dye, and quilting. On an off day in the summer, you’ll be able to find her picking marigolds, hibiscus, and goldenrod to create her next natural dye.

Mira Word

Development Manager & FEEL Instructor

Mira Word has over 20 years of horse experience in a variety of disciplines, primarily focused on hunter/jumpers, equitation, and dressage. She has a Master of Science from Arizona State University, where she taught undergraduate classes on agriculture and ecosystem ecology. She has worked as a teacher in many capacities especially with young enthusiastic riders, bringing them along in the hunter ring. Mira had a successful career as a junior rider and at the college level competing for ASU’s intercollegiate English team. She has developed riding camps, and worked under a series of respected trainers and clinicians, including Susan Gordon, Helen Bell, Rachel Jansen. She is a student of the Compassionate Equestrian and holds the horse in the highest regard as our fellow teacher. Mira focuses on classical riding principles transferable to any disciple with an emphasis on compassion and mindfulness.

Rachel Younger

Barn Manager

Rachel Younger offers twenty plus years of professional experience working with horses. She started her formal riding education at the age of five under the tutelage of a renown Hunter-Jumper trainer based outside of Atlanta, Georgia. During her youth she competed heavily in local and state rated shows aboard borrowed horses. She moved to Colorado to attend college and attained a Wilderness Studies Degree with an emphasis in Outdoor Education. While in college, she continued riding and working for various trainers in both western and english riding disciplines as well as volunteering for a therapeutic riding center. Eventually she worked her way into barn management, where she found a passion for equine wellness, nutrition and preventative care. She was able to work with equine athletes recovering from illness or injury. In doing so, she developed a keen interest in the management and rehabilitation of horses post injury and surgery. At that point, she decided to pursue a position in equine medicine and attained a job as an equine veterinary technician at an equine surgical hospital and mixed animal practice. She received primarily all “on the job” training and was able to work in a vast variety of settings: emergency ambulatory work, annual wellness and dental care, reproduction work, lameness evaluation and equine surgery. After five years working in equine medicine, Rachel decided to put her career on hold to raise her three young sons through their toddler years. During this time she and her husband took an opportunity to move to northwestern Montana and found themselves in Columbia Falls. After relocating, Rachel reached out to the local equine community and heard of the mission at Firefly. She was able to connect with the staff and was hired on as barn manager in early May. Her position involves managing the direct care of the equine therapy herd and the boarding clients. Her goal is to offer the best care possible to the horses and help them achieve optimal health. Her favorite part of working at Firefly is learning. Horses are constantly teaching those who choose to listen and Firefly harbors an ideal setting for just that. Rachel is thrilled to be a part of the Firefly team!

Lauren Dixon

Therapy Assistant & FEEL Instructor

Lauren Dixon has over 25 years of experience in a variety of niches in the horse world. She has working experience ranging from interstate horse transport, to centered riding instruction, natural horsemanship instruction, colt starting, natural balance hoof care, equine assisted therapy, and equine reproduction technology. Because of this experience, she approaches her work with a holistic view of the whole horse. With training, study, and personal mentorship under clinicians including Pat and Linda Parelli, Buck Brannaman, Klaus Ferdinand Hempfling, Mark Rashid,Ray Hunt, and others, she considers horsemanship to be a lifelong learning experience. As a student and teacher of gentle horsemanship principles, she feels that a deeply connected relationship should be the primary focus for all interactions between horses and humans.

Direct Horse Care Team

Ellie Cattlet

Maeghan Summerill