President, OK Corral Series
Founder of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP), Equine Services, Inc., EAGALA
Greg Kersten grew up raising and showing Quarter Horses in Nebraska. As a child, he spent significant time avoiding
school to spend time with his equine friends. At a young age, Greg grew adept at interpreting the nonverbal language of his horses and enjoyed the time he spent observing the horses' behaviors, responses, and talents for keeping themselves safe and healthy.
After high school Greg enlisted in the United States Army where he served for six years. Stationed in Panama, Greg became a military police K-9 handler. This suited Greg's love of animals, and allowed him to continue his learning and observation of the importance of nonverbal communication. He was also able to distinguish the important difference between the nature of herd behavior and pack behavior - particularly in comparison with human behavior.
Greg studied sociology at the University of Nebraska upon his return, but did not graduate. Rather, he went to Washington, D.C. to work in the field of corrections in a youth prison. It was here where he began to combine his work with at-risk youth and horses. He realized the benefit horses could offer struggling individuals, and began to formulate the basis of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Greg continued to add to his experience by working with youth in programs in Okeechobee, Florida and Escalante, Utah -where he continued to apply to theories of how horse behavior can teach us about human behavior. Greg was given more freedom to implement his ideas when he moved to work at a residential treatment center in Colorado in the early 1990s. It was here that he conducted the first EAP certification seminar through his company Equine Services, Inc. Greg then brought his business and his EAP program to a youth ranch in Loa, Utah, and continued to offer certification seminars to therapists and horse professionals. After leaving the ranch, Greg created a nonprofit branch to Equine Services, Inc. (EAGALA), where he served as President, CEO and Chairman of the Board until 2005.
In January, 2006, Greg and his wife, Jennifer, launched the O.K. Corral Series, LLC. They shared a vision of an authentic training program based on the principles Greg had developed in traditional EAP. Through the O.K. Corral Series, Greg continues to share his Equine Assisted Philosophy. Because of the private nature of the company, Kersten is able to ensure the content of the program and curricula meet his standards as the Founder of EAP.
JENNIFER KERSTEN, M.ED.
Secretary/Treasurer, OK Corral Series
Jennifer Kersten is a Wisconsin native who brings a variety of education and professional experience to the O.K. Corral Series program and curriculum. Jennifer earned a bachelor's degree in anthropology and French at the University of Pennsylvania, and later went on to get her master’s in education.
While working at a residential youth program in Loa, Utah, Jennifer met Greg Kersten and became acquainted with Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Greg and Jennifer created the O.K. Corral Seminar Series in 2006, and in 2008, they moved the O.K. Corral to northern Nevada to better observe and incorporate the area’s natural mustang herds into the O.K. Corral curriculum.
Jennifer’s career history spans the nation in fields like contract archaeology, neuroscience research, counseling at-risk youth, elementary and high school teaching, and social services case management. Jennifer recently left her position as a specialist for Veterans Upward Bound to return to high school education. Jennifer teaches cultural anthropology and co-facilitates several O.K. Corral Seminars and Herdbuilding Retreats each year.
Dr. Heide Burch, Ph.D.
Dr. Heide Burch is a lifetime resident of rural upstate New York and a lifelong equestrian and lover of horses. In her childhood, Heide grew up riding a variety of horses and ponies, spending all her free time on the trails or in the fields with the horses. She was able to experience the healing nature of horses firsthand as she relied on spending time with and riding horses as her primary coping skill. To this day, a trip to the barn after work is the best way she’s found to turn a day around for the better.
After graduating high school, Dr. Burch decided to pursue a career in psychology, always having a dream of one day trying to knit her passions together. When she was provided an opportunity to utilize equines in therapy through a previous employer, Heide found the O.K. Corral Series and signed up for her first training, finally finding the framework to fulfill that dream of bringing together horses and therapy. Heide went on to earn her PhD in psychology, and has completed all six of the O.K. Corral certification seminars.
The opportunity to work under the O.K. Corral brand has been an incredible journey and Dr. Burch is hoping to continue to grow her herd and assist others in doing the same. Dr. Burch continues to reside in upstate New York accompanied by her husband, Michael, their multiple four-legged fur kids, and her father, the one who enabled Heide to spend her days growing up on the back of a horse.
Scott and Kim Warner
Scott and Kim Warner founded Hope thru Hooves in 2014 after attending their first of many O.K. Corral Series seminars with Greg. Scott has been a farrier for nearly 30 years. Kim is a licensed Special Education teacher and has a Master’s Degree in Organization Management. Together, with their three kids (Abbie, Fletcher and Hannah), they run an Equestrian Boarding Facility in addition to Hope thru Hooves. Hope thru Hooves is an equine assisted activities center that is focused on using Greg’s Equine Assisted Philosophy to help kids and families in Southern Colorado.
Scott, Kim and the kids raise boer goats and a few pigs in addition to having chickens, rabbits, dogs and cats. Although there is not much free time between running Hope thru Hooves, the boarding facility, animal care and chasing 3 middle school aged kids, the Warner’s do manage to get away to Texas each summer to take the kids to the Canadian River Ranch Bible Camp. The kids participate in the local saddle club during the summer as well as FFA, FCA, athletics and shooting sports.Scott and Kim are very excited to be going down the trail to becoming O.K. Corral Series trainers. They look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones on their journey to share the observations and knowledge they have acquired along the way.