Meet the Staff


Jane Strong, SEP, IFS Trained

Executive Director
Co-founder, Lead Facilitator
Eponaquest Equine Experiential Learning Instructor
Somatic Experiencing® Practitioner
Certified Enneagram Teacher

Jane began her lifelong love of horses as a competitive rider. When she left the world of traditional horsemanship behind, she had no idea that horses would ever become an integral part of her life again. It was not until she began to study the principles and practices of natural horsemanship that she came to understand what horses had to teach us about how we come across to others, about being in the moment and how to bring out the best in ourselves.

She is an accredited Experiential Learning with Horses Instructor who graduated from the Eponaquest Program in Tucson, AZ in 2005 and is also a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning through P.A.T.H. Int’l.


Prior to returning to a life centered around working with horses, she was a professional coach and facilitator who has taught leaders and individuals how to ‘take back the reins’ in their own lives. She’s coached young people and adults through transitions from home to school, recovery to sobriety and changes in their careers.


Beginning in 2009, in learning about the rising suicide rate among veterans, Jane and David decided to focus their attention on this group of men and women who were sometimes resistant to talk therapy and whose symptoms were often only masked by medication. They based their program on what they had learned at Eponaquest Program. General Patraeus (Ret.) recognized this program for its soundness and sensitivity to these men and women who have served their country in this way. They have also studied the work of Dr. Peter Levine at the Somatic Experiencing Training Institute and both completed this program in 2015.


Jane is an Accredited Enneagram Teacher, has studied with the Coaches Training Institute, the Center for Authentic Leadership and the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University.

I've worked in this way with horses for the past 10 years. Because horses engage all of our senses and ask us to be as present as they are, they can help people discover new ways of seeing themselves in relation to others. This work is both serious and fun, energizing and relaxing, easy to understand and deeply meaningful. By teaching us to stay present in the face of change, horses can help us develop our capacity to navigate transitions from one phase of life to another faster than any other mode of experiential learning or treatment I know. They invite the deepest, most honorable part of ourselves to come forward and meet life on life's terms.

David Sonatore, LCSW

Program Director
Co-founder, Lead Facilitator
Eponaquest Equine Experiential Learning Instructor

Somatic Experiencing® Advanced Training Graduate
Certified Martha Beck Coach

David is a certified Experiential Learning with Horses Instructor. He also graduated from the Eponaquest Program in Tucson, AZ in 2005. He brings his inherent gifts of compassion, curiosity and intuition to this work and has an uncanny sense of identifying the human concerns that lie beneath the surface.

In his unique, gentle way, David is able to help veterans and others we work with learn how to make sense out of feelings and discover new ways of seeing through old patterns so that they can move from surviving to thriving.

He’s also a therapist with a private practice in NYC and Bedford, NY and is a certified Dr. Martha Beck Life Coach (frequent guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show and O Magazine columnist). David developed his clinical skills by working with inmates in the New York State Correctional system and outpatient clients at the psychiatric clinic of St. Vincent’s Hospital in NYC. David has also completed his final year of study at the Somatic Experiencing Training Institute where he is honing his skills as a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner.

David’s father served in World War II, so he also has a deep understanding of the impact that military service can have on relationships at home, work and school.

Inviting clients out of traditional settings and into this remarkably unique and natural environment expedites trust, creativity and freedom. People can explore their own true nature and discover their own best solutions more quickly and with meaningful results.

Kelly Hitt

Director of Communications & Outreach
Volunteer Coordinator

Kelly’s experience spans two decades in the marketing and communications categories.  As Creative Director within various design agencies, she has managed large teams of professionals and mentored many young staff members.  


With a passion for the greater good, she has always gravitated toward work with nonprofit clients.  And, pro bono consulting, advisory boards, and hands-on volunteering for therapeutic riding and animal rescue organizations are a consistent part of her schedule.



Kelly brings experience from a lifetime with horses from various areas and disciplines.  There came a time, during her avocation as an adult amateur dressage rider, showing her own as well as her trainers’ horses, she witnessed the emotional and physical challenges that the horses faced.  A culmination of events brought her attention back to natural horsemanship — then when introduced to The Equus Effect, things became clear in listening to what the horses and clients had to say.  The subtle, yet powerful exchanges give insight into what these amazing horses have to teach us.  Learning from the ground up about their’ behavior is a life-changing experience.

In working with Jane & David, founders of The Equus Effect Program, my goal is to leverage my knowledge and connections to bring the organization's work into the mainstream of Equine Assisted Services. And in training more facilitators, reaching across the US and beyond, we will bring the level of awareness further into the public eye — so as to impact more people’s lives to a degree that will make a significant difference in our society.

Veteran Mentors

Angel, Mike, Kathy, Stacia and Diane

Are you interested in helping us?


The Equus Effect® is a registered 501(c)(3) corporation. All contributions are 100% tax deductible. 



Navigation apps do not work to our street address!!!

PLEASE SET GPS to Sharon Town Beach, Mudge Pond Rd., Sharon, CT. 

Drum Road is a Y-intersection directly across from entrance to the beach. 

The facility is about 3/4 mile on the left.

Park in front of the red barn on the left or on the far side of the red cottage on the left.

NOTE: Please do not park or turn around in driveways on the right side of the road.

Call or text (203) 613-1107.

The Equus Effect

37 Drum Road, Sharon, CT 06069

Main Office  (860) 364-5363

Jane Strong, SEP, IFS Trained 
Executive Director
Co-founder, Lead Facilitator
(860) 364-9985

David Sonatore, LCSW  
Program Director
Co-founder, Lead Facilitator
(347) 439-1777

Kelly Hitt  
Communications Director
Outreach Coordinator
(203) 613-1107

For general information: