Stephanie Keene

Executive Director and Head Riding Instructor

(Eagala Level 1 & 2) 


Stephanie has worked with horses all of her life. She learned about the field of Therapeutic Riding while working as a riding instructor. A physical therapist approached her and asked if she would be interested in introducing children with Cerebral Palsy to the healing world of horseback riding. Stephanie, never saying no to an opportunity to learn something new, began to work with the children (with the help of some amazing horse partners) and after a short time saw such dramatic achievements in them that she was hooked! She trained with PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) and received her instructor certification.


Stephanie has remained an advocate for the therapeutic riding field acting as a Vice President of NESAR (New England Special Activities and Resources). She was an active participant in getting the Maine State Equestrian Special Olympics program running, and remains a current committee member, facilitator and trainer of certifying other coaches.

Stephanie has also been on the ground floor of EFMHA (Equine Facility Mental Health Association), a PATH sub-section, and has been studying to get her Bachelor's degree in Behavioral Health. She is EAGALA [equine assisted Growth and Learning assc] Level 2 Certified, Bal-a-Vis-X Level 1-2 & Adaptive Certified. She is a MHRT 2 (Mental Health Rehabilitation Technician), and has worked hard to incorporate Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning while integrating the joy of a natural farm experience for all! Stephanie also recently has been Certified with the Tall Grass Institute for Equine acupressure. She is: Certified Brain Gym, Certified Reiki Master, Certified Violet Flame Reiki, Certified Quan Yin's Violet Flame Reiki, Certified Quan Yin's Lavender Flame Reiki, and Masgutova Method MNRI Core Specialist.


Not to be overlooked, Stephanie has trained and worked as a veterinary technician, is a certified blacksmith and iron forger, a Certified Animal Chiropractor and Level 2 Centered Riding Instructor and recently attained her Eagala Level 2 Instructor certification. 


Stephanie is passionate about learning everything she can to serve the community, the riders at Hearts & Horses and her animal partners to the best of her ability.


Hearts & Horses is excited to share the

many talented instructors at our equestrian center! 

Trina Lavertu


Trina's passion for riding began over 36 years ago starting with local shows. Trina quickly progressed to the American Quarter Horse and Buckskin Circuits, advancing to the disciplined world of Dressage, and then on to the excitement of Eventing.  These experiences provided continual education that allowed her to achieve a Level 4 Certification in English and Jumping and a Level 3 Certification in Western at her first CHA Instructor Certification Clinic.


Trina's goal for every lesson is to provide safe instruction in horsemanship skills, improving the performance of horse and rider. Beginner, novice, and intermediate riders of all ages can gain additional skills from her broad knowledge in the art of riding. Trina appreciates that each rider, and horse, has a distinct learning style. She can convey individualized analogies that empower the rider to not only understand but also feel how methodical application of appropriate aides can accomplish desired horse maneuvers effortlessly. 


Just as each rider has a distinct learning style, each may also have his or her own physical limitations. Trina is no stranger to limitations created by injuries as she actively participates in downhill skiing, hiking, mountain biking, and roller-skating.  Her own recovery experiences created opportunities to learn useful therapeutic techniques.  She can offer students constructive insights that will enrich their ride time during the recovery process.  


Trina is energized by the prospect of enhancing the partnership between horse and rider. 

Crissa Keen


Crissa began riding at the young age of 6 years old while living in Rhode Island.  In her early riding years, Crissa rode polo ponies and then began showing in local hunters and equitation while learning natural horsemanship.  She also assisted with numerous camps and taught lessons throughout high school.  Once in college at Mount Ida College, Crissa learned dressage fundamentals and competed in ISHA and URI Equestrian Teams. 


At this point in her professional equestrian career, Crissa is working on USDF Bronze Medal in dressage and is showing in local hunter/jumpers. 


Crissa holds a CHA Level 3 Instructor certification and has experience teaching riders of all ages and levels.  Crissa excels in teaching riders who are completely new to horses all the way through to riders who are advanced. Crissa's focus is to help riders and horses understand one another.  Crissa also has a keen interest and has experience in training green and/or "difficult" horses.


At Hearts & Horses, you'll find Crissa's horse, Mercedes, 14-year-old Holsteiner/Thoroughbred cross mare, who enjoys dressage and jumping but would rather hang out with the girls and have her ears scratched.  Crissa and her husband have Nuni, a Greenland, from Greenland!  Nuni regularly greets people upon arriving at the barn, she is very talkative and loves to be pet and cuddled.   


Sara Santos

Sara, originally from Massachusetts moved to Maine in 2018 to become part of the Hearts & Horses team. Sara has been riding since early childhood, and bought her first horse at age 10! 


Sara has been competing in Hunters/Jumper’s from that time through her high school years. Following high school, Sara began successfully competing in 2 phase dressage shows.  The last 5 years Sara has been competing in hunters and dressage. Having experience in teaching horsemanship, Sara excels in summer camp riding programs and beginner lessons of all ages!


Student Instructors &

"Barn Rats"

(their name, not ours)



Our student instructors are a select group of teenagers who have shown their ability and interest to help the next generation of new riders learn to ride.  Student instructors provide lessons to young riders while under the supervision of a Hearts & Horses (adult) instructor. 


"Barn Rats" are also instrumental to our operation.  These young girls (boys are welcome too) help take care of the horses by helping feed hay and grain, take-out, let-in, muck stalls, sweep the barn, and so much more.  We are always happy to welcome more "barn rats" into the group.


Email us to get your child involved with us! 



Hearts & Horses Farm, LLC​​

63 Justin Merrill Road

Buxton, Maine 04093

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