Meet Our Staff: Ariana Blaylock, Equine Specialist

Dueled with a hunger for the outdoors from my father and a robust sense of nurture from my mother – I found my place with horses as a child and let it carry me away. I was blessed to take lessons on all sorts of wonderful horses, and when I was old enough, began showing through 4-H. I filled my reading time with magazine subscriptions like Horse Illustrated and Young Rider while I waited for the next book of the Heartland series to come out. I wrote to my horse pen-pal and talked horses with my childhood best friend for hours. I acquired so many horse related trinkets the family tree house was transformed into my own little horse themed sanctuary. By middle school, my not so subtle passion led my teachers to deem me, ‘Most Likely to Win the Triple Crown’.

As I grew older, no matter the life obstacles, horses were always there to guide me. It was with that awareness that I bought my first horse Dazzy, and moved to Williamston, North Carolina. There I attended Martin Community College and graduated with an Associates in Equine Business Technology. The program gave me a strong foundation in care and management of our equine partners. Following graduation, we moved to our very own farm in Berlin, Wisconsin. I continued to seek out the healing potential of the horse-human connection and began working towards a certification through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. A year later, I was hired on as the Equine Specialist at Mahala’s Hope.

This year, I completed my PATH certification as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Every day I am so grateful for the opportunities to learn from all the incredible beings who make up Mahala’s Hope, be it the horses, staff, volunteers, or clients. Being in a position where I can honor the voice of our equine colleagues and offer their feedback to individuals so that they can grow is what fuels me.

Not much has changed. When I am not working you can still find me with the horses. If you can get me to leave the farm, it is for hiking adventures with our beloved rescue dog Tybault or a good cup of coffee and conversation with loved ones.