Meet Our Staff

Makayla Parr

Owner & Executive Director

Makayla Parr is the Founder and Program Director of Master’s Touch Recreational Riding. She specializes in providing therapeutic activities for children and adults with mental and physical disabilities, while teaching horseback riding skills. She was raised in the small town of Social Circle, Georgia, where she developed her love of animals and the outdoors.

 

In her eighteen years of experience as an equestrian, Makayla has competed in multiple disciplines including hunt seat, working cow horse, reining, cutting, mounted drill team and vaulting. She began her teaching career as a teenager when she started her own riding lesson business. Throughout high school, she served as a captain of the Walton County 4-H Mounted Drill Team, leading her team to win multiple state and regional titles. She went on to become an NCAA athlete on the equestrian team at the University of South Carolina where she received the Most Outstanding Rider Award and Community Service Award.

 

At a young age, Makayla developed a passion for riding horses and for working with disabled children. While doing research for a school assignment, she learned of Hippotherapy (physical, occupational, speech or language therapy that utilizes equine movement) and realized her two passions could be combined. After earning a bachelor’s degree in public health in May of 2017, she returned home to Georgia to achieve her lifelong dream of opening a therapeutic riding facility. With the generous help of family, close friends and numerous volunteers, her dreams have become her reality.  

Cathrin Willbanks

Equine Therapist

Cathrin is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and Certified Equine Interaction Professional (CEIP), specializing in integrating animals in her therapy services. Cathrin is one of few practitioners in the country who holds a BA and MS degree in Equine Therapy, in addition to a board certification as Equine Interactions Professional by the CBEIP. Throughout her work experience as a Mental Health Counselor, Cathrin has specialized in working with children, adolescents, and families using the integration of animal interactions and activities in an experiential therapy model.

 

Cathrin’s journey with horses started early in her home country of Germany, where she first started vaulting at the age of 6 and riding at the age of 7. Cathrin successfully competed in vaulting for over 13 years, coached several teams, and assisted various organizations around the world to start their own vaulting program. Cathrin’s riding experience ranges from primarily English to Western and Spanish riding, has successfully shown in Eventing and combined tests and she holds a CHA instructor certificate.   

 

When Cathrin is not at the barn, you will find her somewhere in the great outdoors together with her husband Mike, baby boy Micah and their four-legged family members Buddy the Husky and Layla the Boxer. Hiking, bike riding, canoeing, paddle-boarding, rock climbing – you name it and the adventure-seeking family of 5 has done it. Cathrin and her family also spend a lot of time with their church family at Eastridge Community Church, leading a small group, working with the youth ministry and leading worship on Sunday mornings.

Faith Henning

Instructor

Faith Henning is an instructor at Master’s Touch. She has been unashamedly obsessed with horses since early childhood, when she and her sister started riding lessons at a local farm. As a child and teen, she competed in hunt seat, hunter over fences, and dressage as well as western pleasure at local shows. Starting at age 16, she spent every summer for a decade helping run Double E Horse Camps all over North Georgia with her best friend.

 

After college, she found her “heart horse” in a Tennessee Walking Horse named Copper, who now lives at Master’s Touch. She began training, teaching riding lessons, and coaching at shows for local barns in 2010. After getting married in 2013 she left the professional horse world to work for the State of Georgia, but has continued to occasionally teach lessons and, of course, to continue trail riding with Copper. She’s instructing at Master’s Touch part time while maintaining her full-time job and her side business as an artist.
 

She is so grateful for the instructors who poured knowledge and encouragement into her as a horse-crazy girl, and wants to do the same for the next generation of equestrians. Her passion is turning horse-crazy kids into equestrians who can ride competently and compassionately and who are knowledgeable in all aspects of horse care. Faith lives in Newborn with her husband, Matt, and her completely spoiled boxer mix, Oberon.

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Master's Touch | 2794 McGarity Road Social Circle, Georgia 30025 | (770) 672-5759 | masterstouchriding@gmail.com