Our Staff


SONJA WINGARD / Director & Founder, Instructor

In 1999, Sonja Wingard, Abby Soley, and Gwen Hunter founded ANT with encouragement from Catholic Community Services. Sonja, BSN, is ANT’s Executive Director, and brings more than 30 years of experience working with people and animals as a registered nurse, 4-H leader, equine specialist, and riding instructor. She has a special love for young people and the elderly and enjoys bringing them together through ANT’s intergenerational programs. Sonja is a PATH Intl. Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and holds additional horsemanship credentials. You can find her spending time in the garden, playing with her grandchildren, and enjoying trail rides with her beloved horses. Read More    

JESSIE PEMBLE / Assistant Executive Director; Mobile ANT Coordinator

Jessie received her bachelor’s degree in Therapeutic Recreation from WWU in 2017, where she also minored in Spanish, both of which inspired her to serve marginalized communities through meaningful experiences. Having attended ANT Day Camp as a youth, Jessie felt drawn back to the farm to help other families access the healing programs and special animals, and she loves witnessing the tender relationships that develop between horses and participants. Of the many hats she wears at ANT, Jessie’s favorite is as a mentor in the New Horizons Recovery Program, where she helps teen women find new paths to sobriety. Off the farm, she is a cyclist and mountain biker and can often be found chasing her chocolate lab down the trails of Galbraith Mountain. A Bellingham native, she loves swimming off the North Shore Trail, hunting down the best local bakeries, and hiking in the Mount Baker Wilderness.

KATIE ROHWER / Program & Volunteer Coordinator; PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructor

Katie first was a part of the ANT family as a mentor for youth programming. She graduated from Western Washington University with a Bachelor’s in Psychology, received her Therapeutic Riding Instructor (TRI) certification from PATH Intl. in 2017, and has been instructing ever since! Katie loves to share her passion for horses with the people she works with, and is usually the first person to engage with families and volunteers at ANT. She has a cat named Murphy and a horse named Scotty. She loves craft beer, a good novel, deep conversations with friends and experiencing the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Kelsy Hartmann / Barn Manager

Kelsy joined the ANT team in 2016. She graduated from WWU with a Bachelor of Science in biology (pre-veterinary emphasis) in 2017. She has cared for many animals in previous work and now enjoys being out in the barnyard caring for ANT’s herd of animals.  In her free time, she enjoys knitting, hiking, spending time with horses, and snuggling with her bunny. Kelsy especially loves the way the animals at ANT are viewed and treated- as amazing facilitators for healing. She thinks it is incredible to work with these creatures as they offer healing and joy to those in need.

Haley Didier / PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructor

Haley’s love of horses from a young age propelled her to study Equine Sciences at Colorado State University, where she graduated in 2010.  Since then she has worked on various ranches, farms, and animal facilities and has always had an interest in animal therapy. In 2017 Haley completed rigorous training to become a PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, and now hopes to pursue an Equine Specialist in Mental Health & Learning certification. Upon moving to Bellingham in 2016, she was instantly drawn to ANT and enjoys the tender, respectful, and reciprocal relationships fostered between animals and humans.  She feels extremely honored to be a part of this work and a witness to the immense healing capacity that animals have!  If you can’t find Haley in the barnyard, you can find her exploring the beautiful wilderness surrounding Bellingham, mountain biking with friends, playing in lakes & rivers, or setting her creativity free through her love of painting.  Haley also has a passion for traveling in search of adventure and experiences that feed her sense of wonder.

DIANNA MILLER / Instructor

Dianna brings 23 years of horsemanship experience to ANT, having grown up riding horses in Bellingham before receiving a B.A. in Recreation Management & Leadership from WWU. She became a professional cowgirl and has guided all over the United States on private ranches, in national parks, and on wild horse ranches in the Dakotas. Dianna owned & operated a trail riding business in Whatcom County and provided lessons along the Nooksack River. She is passionate about helping people explore recreation & leisure through equestrian experiences, whether observing a wild horse herd in their natural environment, or riding across the badlands on a good saddle horse. She finds that horses and nature promote emotional healing and wellbeing, and she wants to share the joy with others.

AMANDA HOPPE / PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructor

Amanda is a PATH Intl. Certified Riding Instructor since 2010, and a PATH Intl. Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning since 2013. She has been with ANT since 2001, starting as a volunteer mentor before earning her PATH certifications to become an ANT horse instructor. She has over two decades of experience in Western, English, groundwork, and basic horse training, behavior and conditioning. Amanda's primary mode of instruction, however, is teaching English at Whatcom Community College, where she has gained a wide range of skills in the discipline of teaching and learning. She lives with her family in Bellingham and can be found on her free days playing in her garden or searching for unusual treasures at antique malls.

JACK AGUIRRE / Therapist

Joaquin (Jack) Aguirre M.A., LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist serving youth & veterans at ANT. He has provided counseling to at-risk children/adults and their families for 22 years in hospitals, foster care, and private practice settings. He also holds certificates in Biofeedback and Stress Management, and has trained as a Trauma Response Specialist. Joaquin loves to fish and ride horses, and enjoys spending quality time with friends.

SUE SWANK / Bookkeeper

Bio coming soon!

Certified Riding Instructors:

Sonja Wingard: PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, PATH Intl. Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, Certified Horsemanship Association, EAGALA
Haley Didier: PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
Katie Rohwer: PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
Amanda Hoppe: PATH Intl. Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, PATH Intl. Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Our Animals:

Horses, llama, dogs, goats, rabbits, chickens and a cat!

Our Volunteers:

More than 60 fabulous volunteers mentor program participants and care for the animals each week!  Check out our Volunteers Page to learn more.