Nina Ekholm Fry

Nina Ekholm Fry, MSSc., CCTP, is Director of Equine Programs at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection at University of Denver. She holds faculty positions in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology and the Graduate School of Social Work, and leads the post-graduate Equine-Assisted Mental Health Practitioner Certificate program. She also teaches Equine Behavior at Yavapai College. Nina is the former Director of Equine-Assisted Mental Health at Prescott College and served as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology and Counselor Education until 2014.

Nina brings to the board extensive experience in equine-assisted therapy and human-horse interactions in general. She has a strong interest in education, organization, regulation, and support of professionals who include horses in treatment.

For the past 12 years, Nina has specialized in equine-assisted therapy as a treatment strategy in psychotherapy. She serves as Executive Board member of the national Certification Board for Equine Interaction Professionals (CBEIP), is a member of the Equine Research Network (EqRN), and has trained in a number of equine-assisted approaches in North America and Europe. She is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP) and has worked with populations diagnosed with trauma/PTSD, ASD, ADHD, anxiety and addiction, as well as with youth-at-risk, cancer survivors, and military service members and veterans, and consults on psychotherapy services with horses for several providers nationally. In addition to client work and teaching, Nina conducts facilitation workshops and is the Editor of the Scientific and Educational Journal of Therapeutic Riding, published by the International Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy (HETI).

Nina has a particular interest in equine welfare issues, both in equine-assisted services and in human-horse interactions in general. She holds a certificate in equine management (Vocational College of Ostrobothnia) and is a certified Riding Instructor (CHA level 4/4). Nina is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning through PATH International. She is a former Equestrian Special Olympics coach. As a practitioner member of the International Society of Equitation Science (ISES), she is dedicated to ethical equitation, correct application of learning theory, and the understanding of equine cognition, behavior, and mental states as part of equine management, assessment, handling, and training.  Recent activities in this area include speaking at the Progressive Equine Behavior Forum in 2018 and the Homes for Horses Coalition conference in 2017, both by invitation. She led the Watershed Animal Fund national taskforce on equine behavior from 2016 to 2017, and served as the interim Program Director for the Equine Center at Yavapai Humane Society in Arizona from 2015 to 2016. There she started an adoption-focused equine rehabilitation and re-training program, and designed the YHS Equine Center. Nina remains active in the equine welfare community in the United States, and consults on equine behavior and facility design nationally.

Nina is a native Swedish speaker and spent her childhood on the west coast of Finland. She lives outside of Denver, Colorado.