Local Organising Committee

Meet the Team

Jill Carey

Jill has worked with Festina Lente since 2001, having previously worked at Programme Manager with St. John of God Brothers. Jill has a strong commitment to achieving the correct balance between people’s interest in horses and horse’s welfare and management requirements. Jill is the course coordinator for the Festina Lente Therapeutic Riding Coaching Programme and the Equine Assisted Learning Facilitator Programme. In addition, she is the current chairperson of the Equine Facilitated Education and Therapy Association (Ireland).

Principle Role in the Local Organising Committee:

  • Overall responsibility for congress organisation
  • Liaising with potential sponsors
  • Dealing with the media

Clodagh Carey

Clodagh Carey has worked with Festina Lente Riding School since 1998, which started as a Two year Pilot EU pilot project aimed at promoting employment for people with disabilities. Clodagh has a strong interest and commitment in providing quality, safe and enjoyable riding experiences to all those who ride at Festina Lente and has a particular interest in ‘centered riding’. Clodagh also coaches and assesses students of the Therapeutic Riding Coaching Course at Festina Lente which is now in its fourth year of delivery.

Principle Role in the Local Organising Committee:

  • Overseeing of Pre-congress workshop
  • Balanced representation of Horse Welfare considerations
  • Organisation of Equestrian Programmes for families of Congress attendees

Michelle Stephens Byrne

Michelle currently has responsibility for the accurate accounting of 2 million each year received through both Government funds, social enterprise revenue and grant applications. Transparency of all funds is obligatory in this current role as a part of the funding received is through Irish Government Agencies.

Principle Role in the Local Organising Committee:

  • Advising on all financial aspects of congress arrangements
  • Ensuring financial management is in line with current financial procedures
  • Overseeing the dual budgeting of both the conference and Festina Lente

Andrea O’ Donoghue

Andrea has grown up working with horses & qualified as a Therapeutic Riding Coach in 2012 in Festina Lente. Andrea went on to volunteer, and became a staff member in the same year.
Andrea is the Events & Social Media Marketing Co-Ordinator at Festina Lente, and she also coaches Therapeutic Riding in Festina Lente Riding School & has launched many successful workshops and events in Festina Lente. Andrea manages the Work Placement & Internship for the Equestrian Centre, and currently facilitates modules on “ Marketing your Equine Business” for Festina Lente QQI courses.

Principle Role in the Local Organising Committee:

  • Managing the online social media & marketing
  • Support to Social Programme

Emma Clarke

Emma has worked with Festina Lente since 2014. Emma’s main role is working with the administration team with particular emphasis on supporting the Riding School. However, Emma has considerably experience of Social Media Management, IT & Telecoms Support, Information Systems Management, Ecommerce & Websites and previously worked with Microsoft as Project Manager for involved with Microsoft Picture It!, Microsoft CRM & Microsoft Office cd and online products.

Principle Role in the Local Organising Committee:

  • Supporting the on-line marketing of the Congress

Yvonne Monahan

Yvonne is a well-known and respected horse woman. Yvonne has ridden on an Irish Three Day Event team and has competed at the top level of her sport. Yvonne has bred, produced and trained many top horses in show-jumping, eventing and point to pointing. Yvonne is also a founder member of Dressage Ireland and an International Three Day Event judge. Yvonne has been Facilitating Equine Facilitated Learning in Ireland for some ten years now having trained in America with Linda Kohanov through her Eponaquest training course and is a founder member of the Equine Facilitated Education and Therapy Association (Ireland).

Principle Role in the Local Organising Committee:

  • Balancing the mainstream horse sport industry with the application of horses in their therapeutic role

Federation of Horses in Education and Therapy International

Discover more about the global organisation that forms worldwide links between countries, centres and individuals offering equine facilitated activities and assists in the development of new programmes worldwide. We have dues-paying members from 47 different countries.


Festina Lente Foundation was set up in 1988 to provide equestrian vocational training for young people with an intellectual disability. There are three key areas within Festina Lente:

  • Equestrian Centre
  • Walled Garden
  • Learning and Therapeutic Services for adults with an intellectual disability or dual diagnosis

Festina Lente is a non-profit organisation with charity status and employs approximately 44 staff members, works with over 30 volunteers and works with various international universities in accommodating internship programmes. It provides a wide range of equine facilitated programmes including a Vocational Equestrian Training Programme, Equestrian employment for people with a disability, Supported Helper Programme, Equine Assisted Learning, Educational Helper Programme, Equine Facilitated Educational Programme, Therapeutic Riding, Term Riding, Pony Camps and Individually tailored equine learning programmes. In addition to the above equine facilitated programmes, Festina Lente provides two nationally accredited programmes in the areas of Therapeutic Coaching and Equine Facilitated Assisted Learning Programme. Festina Lente staff engages in a number of research focusing on the horse human relationship and horse welfare.


Horse Sport Ireland (HSI) is the governing body for the sport horse industry and is responsible for devising and implementing strategies for the development and promotion of an internationally competitive Irish sport horse industry, covering breeding, sport and leisure activities. It maintains the Irish Horse Register, which incorporates the Irish Sport Horse Studbook and the Irish Draught Horse Studbook. The Board of Directors of HSI includes representatives from the International Equestrian Federation, sport/leisure organisations and the Irish Horse Board (IHB). An independent chairman is nominated by the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine.


The Equine Facilitated Education and Therapy Association (EFETA) is an umbrella body representing individuals and organisations providing equine facilitated education and therapy. EFETA’s main aim is to develop an association which promotes standards of best practice, knowledge, safety, effectiveness and consistency in equine facilitated education and therapy.