Meet The Staff


Marya Pecukonis, M.S., NBCT (Director, Lead Instructor)

  • PATH,( formerly NARHA) certified therapeutic riding instructor -
  •  4H certification Knowledge/Riding (Levels  I - IV)
  • PATH ESMHL - Equine Specialist Mental Health and Learning 
  • President MCET Maryland Council Equine Therapies 2015-2017
  • Family Consultant, Adult Life Planner Autism Waiver
  • Master's Degree Johns Hopkins University - Post master's Administration and Supervision
    • Communicative Disorders-  National Board Certified Teacher  - Exceptional Needs Specialist

Teaching children and young adults with exceptional needs over the past thirty years has given me great insight and extensive experience in working with individuals who have been diagnosed with challenges to include:  Autism, learning disabilities, speech and language disorders, ADD, ADHD, developmental disabilities,  cerebral palsy, traumatic brain injury, emotional disabilities, deaf/hard of hearing, and visual challenges.  I teach from a strengths perspective model to enhance the attributes of all learners. My main focus of education has always been to support individuals to work towards achieving independent skill mastery. My philosophy is that all children can learn regardless of their challenges and should have access to learn in an inclusive setting.      

Edward Pecukonis, MSW, Ph.D. (Licensed Mental Health Therapist)

Associate Professor and Director of Maternal and Child Health Training, University of Maryland School of Social Work, Baltimore, Md. Assistant Professor for University of Maryland Department of Family Medicine, and Assistant Clinical Professor in the School of Medicine's Department of  Psychiatry's Institute for Psychiatry and Human Behavior. Ed leads the equine assisted psychotherapy program at LeCheval Stable. 

Meredith Pecukonis    (PATH Instructor)

Meredith is a graduate from the University of Maryland. She was awarded PATH Registered Instructor in 2014. Her early history as a 4H Centaurs club leader, State of Maryland and National Horse Bowl competitor, volunteer recruiter, and past member of the University of Maryland Equestrian Riding Team, have given Meredith useful equine knowledge and riding experience. Meredith currently is working on her Ph.D. at Boston University in Developmental Psychology specializing in autism. 

Lisa Baker-Burford

Lisa has been riding for many years. She competes in dressage and enjoys trail rides with her 17.2 hand Thoroughbred gelding, Midnight. A graduate from Shepardstown College, she substitutes as riding instructor. In past years, Lisa has supported Special Olympics as a trained volunteer and riding instructor at Woodland Horse Center in Montgomery County. Lisa has been the longest standing volunteer at LeCheval Stable and we very much appreciate her talents. 

Melody Anglin (PATH Instructor)

Melody joined the team to support all riders and share her knowledge and experience  in horsemanship and equitation.  A PATH certified instructor, she also studies Biological Science in addition to spending time with Ben and well trained dog, Radar.

Elizabeth Schwartz  (PATH Instructor)

"Lizzy"  is a PATH registered instructor and  Social Work graduate from the University of Maryland.  She has previous experience as horse owner, competitor, and rider who enthusiastically enjoys teaching riding as well as equine assisted learning. 

Leigh Bender (PATH Instructor)

Leigh is a PATH registered instructor, educator,  experienced horse handler, trainer and rider, horse owner,  as well as manages a business in providing "Bodywork" for horses.

Colleen Berry (PATH certified, ESMHL)

Colleen is a full time high school teacher, horse owner, and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning.  She is a wonderful support to the mounted and unmounted participants who are exploring the healing aspects of horses.


Occupational Therapist
Physical Therapist
Speech Language Pathologist


Volunteer Training sessions are provided monthly for new working students. PATH training hours are provided for those co-teachers seeking certification or training.

Thank you  *working students in training, volunteers and  barn management who continue to support LeCheval Stable, especially during winter months and during Special Olympics.