About Acres For Life
A unique approach to
making a difference in people’s lives.
No matter who you are and what you’ve been through,when you drive into Acres, you are right where you need to be.
Experience You Can Trust
Located in the beautiful countryside outside of Minneapolis, MN,
Acres for Life naturally fosters therapeutic and personal development transformation, which is why our clients come from all over the world.
Years Serving Clients
People’s Lives Transformed
We Are In A Mental Health Crisis.
So many need help now
more than ever.
Stress from COVID-19 — along with stress related to health care, the economy, racism and the presidential election — is seriously threatening the mental health of our country, according to a new national survey from the American Psychological Association.
(APA, October 20, 2020)
We support the following:
Individuals Struggling with Challenges
Mental Health Equine Businesses
Company Leaders & Teams
Donors and Sponsors
H.O.R.S.E – Our Signature System
Ensuring our clients achieve positive and transformative change in their life.
Each Acres treatment team consists of a licensed Mental Health Professional, a qualified Equine Specialist, and the horses, with you at the center. We believe the best solutions come from within, and our goal is to create the space providing the latitude for you to discover, learn, and grow from the unique qualities of the horse-human relationship.
Our process involves no riding and is ground-based with no previous experience with horses necessary.
Our program is committed to ongoing feedback to provide you with the best services possible.
Acre’s unique team approach considers the Mental Health Professional, the Equine Specialist, and the herd equal partners. All sessions are on the ground and involve movement, physical activity, and relationship-building with the horses.
The horses’ unique sensitivities and special capacity to read and respond to your non-verbal cues can lead people to powerful emotional breakthroughs and life-changing insights, even when nothing else has worked.
Acres for Life, a collaborative team approach that works.
Acres professionals recognize the role safety plays in the success of our client’s treatment sessions. To feel comfortable addressing difficult and personal experiences, one must feel safe both emotionally and physically.
Acres professionals hold space in a non-interpretive, client-centered approach, while the horses’ special capacity to read and respond to peoples’ non-verbal signals and cues provides a natural judgment-free unfolding. Giving people a safe environment where they can discover solutions to difficult issues.
Any mental health program must create emotional safety.
Because horses allow you to reflect and gain understanding of painful experiences or challenging situations, working with them can help you gently heal from a variety of psychological issues, and also to help organizations improve effectiveness and performance.
By interacting with the horses, clients learn to build healthy relationships and gain insight into their own emotions, reactions, and the stories we tell ourselves about the past.
People step into a new way of being.
“This is a calling
– not a job for us.
We believe in miracles and experience them here every day”.
– The Acres Team
Meet the Team
Equipped with highly specialized facilitation skills, including the horses, to provide you
with the best possible care.
Our Team of Horses & Humans
We are blessed with a team of smart, kind, and conscientious humans and 23 amazing horses serving our clients and making the Acres life running smooth and making a big impact.
Lynn is the CEO of Acres for Life, which she co-founded in 2001.
Lynn is guided by her passion for helping others experience the powerful connection with horses and nature.
Lynn has experienced firsthand the deep and profound healing that can occur through these connections, and is a firm believer in the power of incorporating horses into mental health and personal development to make a difference in the lives of her clients.
Her vision is to provide people with opportunities to reclaim and embrace what is rightfully theirs—their joy and happiness.
Lynn’s education includes a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Wisconsin, a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling, and a Master’s Degree from Hazelden Graduate School of Addiction Studies. She continues to grow and learn daily working alongside the awesome Acres for Life team and as part of the Arenas for Change Creators team! Lynn is inspired and encouraged by by both as we connect through the power of shared stories!
Heather joined the Acres for Life team in 2007 and has a deep love of all aspects of working with her clients and horses, including facilitating sessions.
She is passionate and caring, guiding individuals, groups, families, and youth to their own transformative healing with horses.
Heather serves as Chief Operating Officer and is the glue and the backbone that makes all of us at Acres look good. She keeps the Acres for Life engine going, taking care of onboarding our clients, and ensuring they have what they need.
She manages the entire team of over 50 and also takes care of the herd and our facilities.
Heather holds Eagala Advanced Certification, is certified as a Therapeutic Coach®, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation and Biology. She also has a Master’s Degree in Integrative Recovery for Co-Occurring Disorders as a Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor and Licensed Professional Clinical Counseling.
Credentials: MSW, LICSW
Jennifer joined the Acres for Life team as Clinical Director in 2020. She graduated with her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2003, and currently practices as a Licensed Independent Social Worker in Minnesota. Jennifer’s experience as a mental health therapist includes working with people across the entire lifespan, those struggling with trauma and PTSD, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, substance abuse, Borderline Personality Disorder, and attention issues. In addition, Jennifer has specialized in providing therapy to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Currently, Jennifer sees clients in private practice and provides clinical supervision to new professionals in the field. When she is not working, Jennifer enjoys spending time with her family and walking in nature.
Military Services Coordinator
Vietnam Veteran, MS in Education, Eagala Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Certified Practitioner
Larry is a U.S. Navy Vietnam veteran. He served a 19 month deployment in the Vietnam war zone aboard the USS Oklahoma City CLG5. He recently retired after over 40 years working in higher education for several universities, including the University of Minnesota.
Larry grew up around horses as a Minnesota farm kid. After he left the Navy he attended the University of Minnesota, Indiana University, and met and married his wife, Sarah. (She and her horse came as a package deal.) Horses have been a part of their lives ever since. Together they raised daughters and Norwegian Fjord horses.
Eagala Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Certified Practitioner
Cheyenne’s love for horses began around 12-13 years old after spending time with a close friend and her horses – doing chores, riding, and eventually bought her first horse. In 2017, she graduated with a degree in Equine Science and began working for a local vet. As she became more and more engulfed in the horse world, she heard about Eagala and knew she wanted to become certified. In 2018, she attended her first Eagala training in Eau Claire WI and was hooked. She was later introduced to Acres for Life and felt it was, “A dream come true to be hired!”
During her free time she enjoys riding her horses at home and spending time with her friends and family.
LMFT, Eagala Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Certified Practitioner
Trisha is a Licensed Married and Family Therapist with over 15 years of experience in the field. She received her Masters degree in Marriage and Family therapy from Bethel Seminary in 2004 and currently works as an independent contractor at a mental health group in the Shoreview area serving children, individuals, couples and families. As a military spouse she has a special interest in serving military and veteran populations. Trisha is also a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator which is based on the research of Brené Brown. She is excited to bring this work into the Dare to Rise retreats. She was certified in EAGALA in 2019. As a child she dreamed she would one day work with animals and in that dream she assumed she would be working with people to help animals heal. In a twist of fate, she now has the honor to partner with animals to help people heal at Acres for Life and she is so grateful.”
MA, LPCC, Eagala Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Certified Practitioner
Throughout her life, Trish has been drawn to the outdoors where she felt the grounding, comfort and healing that is experienced when connecting with nature and animals. She is grateful to have found herself at Acres for Life in the later stage of her career where she can combine this connection and her clinical experience with the transformative practice of the Eagala Model utilizing horses and the nature that surrounds them.
Trish is a licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and received her Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of St. Mary’s in 1994 and became Certified in Eagala in 2019. Trish brings to AFL over 30 years of experience advocating, evaluating, treating, and learning from individuals and groups as they move through life’s challenges, losses, and changes, often simultaneously experiencing mild to severe symptoms of mental health disorders especially anxiety and depression. Over her career she has provided a variety of therapeutic interventions, with the past 8 years practicing and teaching the skills found in Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) within a Partial Hospitalization Program and performing Crisis Psychiatric Consultations within metro area hospital Emergency Room.
MA, Eagala Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Certified Practitioner
Carmen graduated from St. Mary’s University – Twin Cities in 2015 with her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In addition to working at Acres for Life she has a private practice in Saint Paul. She develops a relationship with each client built on trust and mutual respect, and establishes a safe therapeutic environment that empowers each person to uncover their true potential and live a happier, more satisfying life. Carmen enjoys being able to combine her passion for helping people heal with her love of nature and animals. Carmen joined the Acres team in the summer of 2015. She works with kids through adults, individuals, couples and families.
Cary has been volunteering at Acres for Life since he retired in 2016. Previously he was an IT Business Systems Analyst implementing systems at domestic and international manufacturing sites.
The first hands-on “horse experience” Cary remembered was as a 4 years old feeding his Grandfather’s Belgian draft horses grass leaning across the fence to reach them. He was fascinated that they were so huge and so gentle. Cary started riding at age 5 and has been passionate about horses ever since. Cary and his wife currently have 2 quarter horses and enjoy trail riding.
The book, Riding Home: The Power of Horses to Heal, by Tim Hayes, played a key role in deciding what he wanted to do after retirement. He learned about Acres for Life through his veterinarian. Working with the Acres team, horses, and helping others has been a great opportunity for me to contribute and continue my passion.
Mary Ann Hennen
Mary Ann helps individuals, groups and communities make a difference in the world through leadership development and facilitation. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has completed additional coursework in adult education, coaching and equine-assisted learning.
After retiring from a lifelong career in higher education and non-profit settings like the University of Minnesota Extension and the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, she wanted to act on her lifelong interest in having a ‘ranch camp for kids,’ but soon realized this would never happen.
Luckily, Mary Ann discovered the lovely owners and operators of Acres for Life in Forest Lake, and is now finding ways to bring her skills to Acres programming and do what she can to support both the four-legged and two-legged members of the Acres team. Whether facilitating organizational development work or tossing occasional hay flecks, she volunteers with the hope that those served by Acres thrive and find the joy they deserve.
Kirsten Bergren graduated from St. Catherine University with a Masters in Holistic Health Studies in May 2022. She started as a volunteer at Acres for Life in September 2021 when she was working on her Masters practicum.
Kirsten is from Crystal, Minnesota, and also enjoys her pet-sitting business.
She is an avid crafter and enjoys spending time with her family and many four-legged friends.
She aspires to be a life coach and help people to discover how horses, dogs and other animals can help them live their best life!
Monica Tillmann has been a volunteer at Acres for Life for 5 years.
She enjoys being with her chore mates who bring such light to her life and to hundreds of others.
Monica wears many hats… Retired LPN, single mom and now, someone very special calls me “Nana”.
Being an Acres volunteer allows her to enjoy feeding the cats, chickens and horses, and all the fun tasks along with it. Monica especially loves the feeling she gets when they take a drink from the fresh water she just replenished. Monica is a bright star around here and even though she says she will tell you she feels blessed to be a part of our family, we feel equally blessed to have her.
Sarah joined the Acres for Life team as a volunteer in 2016. With a lifelong love of horses and a passion for helping people it was a great fit.
Sarah’s background is in Special Education and also worked as a librarian. After graduating from the University of Minnesota she met her husband, Larry, and together they raised two daughters on a small farm along with Norwegian Fjord horses and various other farm animals.
Hubert, the donkey, was a standout. Her beloved Quarter Horse, Colt, was with her from high school into his later years providing fun rides for her daughters.
Sarah and Larry are the proud grandparents of 8 grandchildren. Sarah is thankful each day to be a part of the Acres for Life team. She is especially grateful for her time spent grooming, brushing and getting the 4 legged team members ready for their important work.
Megan McGovern Narlock
Credentials: MA, LADC
I’ve always had an interest in people’s stories, advocacy, and empowerment. As a graduate student, I started out in the addiction recovery world. Working with women, men, and adolescents with mental health and substance use struggles was very rewarding for me as a clinician. I transitioned from co-occurring disorder inpatient treatment into counseling because I really love talking with people about their stories, experiences, and obstacles in their lives in all arenas. Also, I feel like I have a knack for helping. When I started volunteering at Acres for Life, I wanted to do something different. I wanted my work to reflect my unique skills and insights with an emphasis on Equine Assisted Psychotherapy. Shortly after starting my volunteer work with the farm, I became an ARCH Certified mental health professional at Acres for Life. The decision was life changing. Natural surroundings and the presence of animal companions is grounding for me. I find myself drawn to those places where reflection, inspiration, and congruence can happen. I am still active in the local and state recovery community, enjoy spending time with my family, our dogs, cat, goats, and chickens, and prefer to be outside whenever I can, with the exception of frequenting music venues for live shows.
Mental health matters, recovery matters, stories matter.
Credentials: Bachelor of Arts
Eagala Model Equine Assisted Psychotherapy Certified Practitioner
Rachael’s love for horses started at a young age when her parents bought her a pony named Roger. When she had to sell her beloved horse all she could think about was when she could get her next one. She spent summers watching the neighbors horses and days at the county fairs in the horse barn dreaming. She was gifted two horses by her husband for her anniversary and 25 years later Rachael owns and operates a horse ranch with 25 horses (a horse girl’s dream). Rachael learned about Eagala and the ways it helps people do therapy and was hooked. She attended part one training in the Twin Cities and part 2 training in Kansas. She found Acres for Life where she joined them for team building activities and to learn more about equine therapy. In 2021 Rachael reconnected with Acres for Life and became part of the team as an Equine Specialist and her life dream of working with horses and helping people came true. Rachael is working toward becoming ARCH certified and brings her horse knowledge to our team of equine partners to keep them healthy, happy, and ready to help out clients.
MSW, LICSW, ARCH Professional Designation
Erica joined the Acres for Life team in the fall of 2022 as a mental health professional because of her interest and passion for animal assisted, experiential, horticultural, and nature-based therapies. She was drawn to Acres for Life’s mission because it strongly aligns with her own beliefs, values, ethics, and purpose. Erica believes that deep healing of the mind, body, and spirit is possible for all who enter the pastures at Acres for Life.
Erica has earned a Bachelor of Science degree in social work from St. Catherine University and a Master of Science degree in social work from St. Cloud State University. She is licensed as an independent clinical social worker and clinical supervisor with the State of Minnesota Board of Social Work.
Erica has 27 years of experience in volunteering, direct practice, and supervision in hospice care, human services, or social work for nonprofit-government agencies. She has worked with many populations including children, families, adults, groups, and communities that have had their mental health impacted by change in health, stressors, grief or loss, life transitions, violence, or traumas.
In her spare time she enjoys photography, fly tying, gardening, relaxing with her 2 chihuahuas Rain and Nessie in the backyard, spending time with her husband Mark, enjoying short weekend trips together, playing board games with family over home cooked meals, and taking time to get caught up with lifelong friends.
How It Works
Our professional facilitators and the horses create an environment for our clients to experience lasting positive outcomes.
The Acres Approach is guided by a team consisting of licensed, credentialed Mental Health Professional, a qualified Equine Specialist, and horses working together with you.
When inside the arena or pasture with the horses, your entire experience is on the ground with the horses front and center, never ridden, and left unhindered. They are considered equal partners on the treatment team.
Learn to strengthen your resilience as you discover new ways of living more fully present.
Find HOPE again, knowing that someone else is in your corner.
Acres For Life is proud to be a founding member of ARCH, a professional community offering facilitator training & support — created especially for psychotherapists, life & executive coaches, and educators who transform lives incorporating horses, animals, nature, and a story mindset.
Come Join Us and Be a Part of the Acres Family!
Schedule a Call to learn:
- How you can experience a session, remote or in-person,
- Inquire about our programs,
- Or how you can be a sponsor.
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