Meet Our Instructors
Hope Springs’ programs are managed by Jeannie Knowlton, Executive Director/Senior Instructor . Jeannie is a member of PATH International and an accomplished horsewoman with over 50 years of experience teaching both able-bodied students and those with disabilities. She has shown the Devon Horse Show, won the prestigious A Level 3 Day Rally, and was a Chief Stable Management Judge for United States Pony Clubs, Inc. All instructors report to Jeannie as our Executive Director/Senior Instructor and are listed below.
E. Dallas Knowlton
E. Dallas Knowlton, Program Director, has a Masters’ degrees in Counseling and Public Health, a graduate certificate in Autism Studies, and has completed Equine-Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA) seminars. In addition to working as a part-time instructor at Hope Springs since 2008, Dallas works professionally with children with special needs.
Lauren Eder joined Hope Springs as a part-time instructor in 2015. She has a Masters in Social Services and is currently working toward becoming a board certified behavior analyst. She's also pursuing her Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning PATH certifications. Lauren started teaching riding at age 15 and has a decade of professional experience assisting children with autism and other disabilities at the Devereux Foundation and the Chester County Intermediate Unit.
Melanie R. McCartney
Melanie R. McCartney, certified by the Huntlea Horse Center, has over 40 years of riding instruction experience, including more than 10 years as a part-time Hope Springs riding instructor. In addition to teaching students with vision and hearing disabilities at Hope Springs, Melanie operates her own equestrian center for able-bodied riders.
Jesse Petrecz joined Hope Springs as a part-time instructor in 2018 after working with our riders as a volunteer. She has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Eastern University and has been involved with horses her entire life. Jesse looks forward to combining her two passions of horses and helping others by teaching riders with disabilities at
Maddie Brown joined Hope Springs as a part-time instructor in 2022. She has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh, over 13 years of experience teaching riding to students with a wide range of abilities, and professional experience in the jumper and eventing arenas.
Karen McDonald joined Hope Springs as a part time instructor in 2022. She began riding horses at age 7 in New Jersey. Karen has a Bachelors in Human Resources, has coordinated a local riding school’s summer riding camp program, and taught beginner rider lessons. She prides herself on helping the rider find the comfort and confidence in themselves while on horseback.
In addition, Hope Springs relies heavily upon nearly 60 volunteers to assist riders during weekly therapeutic riding sessions. Volunteers also provide clerical help and staffing at special events.