Dr. Jillian Stewart PT, DPT, HPCS is a physical therapist who graduated from Northwestern University with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2014 and received her Hippotherapy Clinical Specialty in 2017. As a physical therapist she saw a need for community integration and inclusion for people with disabilities, which lead her to start Surf and Turf Therapy, in 2018.
With nearly 30 years of horsemanship experience, a decade of surf experience, and eight years as a physical therapist, Jillian is passionate about enhancing the relevance and reputation of the use of non-traditional therapeutic tools. She actively advocates for the profession, providing guest lectures at universities and therapy clinics, being featured in podcasts, participating in panels, and mentoring professional students. She is an active member of the American Hippotherapy Association, International Surf Therapy Organization, and San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition, as well as a voting board member on the Community Advisory Council for Capistrano Unified School district.
Dr. Allyson Blackstone PT, DPT is a physical therapist who graduated from Northwestern University with her Doctorate of Physical Therapy in 2021. She completed her last clinical internship with Dr. Jillian at Surf and Turf Therapy and was honored with Northwestern’s Clinical Excellence Award for her work as an intern. As a former dance teacher from Santa Cruz, California, Dr. Allyson is thrilled to pair her love of working with kids with her love of the ocean. She is thrilled to be working at Surf and Turf Therapy and loves seeing the joy and progress in her patients every day.
As a surfer and former professional baseball player, Alex has been an athlete throughout his life and is passionate about adaptive sports. He has actively supported this field by teaching adapted Kinesiology for the aquatic and sports programs at Saddleback College, as well as volunteering with various organizations using surf therapy. Alex has been a part of the Surf and Turf Therapy team for many years, first as volunteer, then as a surf therapy aide, as a doctoral student and now as a Doctor of Occupational Therapy.
Danielle Cupps is a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor with experience as western trainer’s assistant and groom. Danielle grew up jumping and barrel racing, which lead her to compete for Rocky Mountain College’s WIHA Team at the national level. She shares her love of horses and 17 years of experience as an equestrian through teaching therapeutic riding lessons and running the sibling support and inclusion program on the turf side at Surf and Turf Therapy. In 2021, she helped develop and continues to lead a program which gives back to San Juan Capistrano’s under resourced communities through riding and equine education.
Biscuit is an 10 year old quarter horse who loves attention and his work as a therapy horse. His easy going yet social personality, medium size and quality movement make him an ideal horse for hippotherapy treatments. He was the first therapy horse at Surf and Turf Therapy, and our community helps fund the purchase of him from Cindy Forrest Performance horses in 2021, after she generously loaned him to our program for the initial years.
May is a 13 year old quarter horse who happens to big Biscuit's big sister! She has a smooth, rhythmic gait, which is great for relaxing tight muscles and providing low impact strengthening opportunities for our riders. She absolutely LOVES snacks and entertaining her riders doing tricks for a treat. Cindy Forrest Performance Horses generously donated May to work in the program.
Emma is a sweet, red dun mare with bright blue eyes. She is an even tempered horse who always seems to be in the mood to work, making her the perfect match for riders of all abilities. Her easy going attitude makes her a natural teacher for volunteers who are newer to leading horses. When patients or family members arrive at the barn she is one of the first to greet them and helps those who may be a little fearful with her smile. Next time you are at the barn, just scratch her shoulder and you will see! Emma is generously on loan from and sponsored by owner Dave Myrick.
Tomahawk is a 9 year old spotted saddle horse. Her unique markings and sparkling personality makes her a head turner everywhere she goes. She formerly played arena polo at OC Polo Club and quickly settled in to her new job as a therapy horse. She has a forward movement which our sensory seekers love, is completely fearless and is an excellent horse for people of all abilities from beginners to those looking to work on more advanced skills, like polo and cantering. Owner Dave Myrick generously allows her to work in our program.
Bella is a 19 year old pony of America and a seasoned lesson pony in the jumping community. She has consistent movement at the walk and a wonderful fluid trot. Her gentle disposition makes her a natural therapy pony who can easily connect with her riders. Jennie Bershon of Wilmont Farms are generously allowing Bella to work in the program.
Paddington is an 18 year old new forest pony. He is originally from the Netherlands and even has a passport! He is a super level headed little guy with the perfect amount of pep in his step to give our clients a great, high repetition core and balance workout. Jennie Bershon is generously allowing Paddy to work in the program.
Seven is an 18 year old quarter horse who previously worked on a ranch roping, sorting and gathering cattle. He offers steady, lateral movement and is relaxed yet sensitive, which makes him a great horse to progress riders‘ independence on. Desiree Chandler is generously allowing him to work in the program.