About Miracles in Motion
over 30 years serving our community
Miracles in Motion has served hundreds of students over the years with a work force of over 300 volunteers and a herd of 10-15 horses and 3 minature horses. Our students come from Linn, Johnson, and other eastern Iowa counties, and consists of children and adults with physical, emotional, and cognitive challenges.
As Iowa's first Premier Accredited Center, Miracles in Motion meets the highest standards for safety and therapy set forth by the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH, formerly NARHA). PATH provides continuing education for staff and instructors.
There's something magical about the transformation that occurs when we bring together the energy and spirit of horses with people in need. Confidence, comfort, strength, and community grow exponentially.
Our programs impact not only the student, but the entire family. The changes started at Miracles develop into new opportunities and hope.
We provide a safe zone for learning, trying new things, building—and sometimes even re-building—relationships and attitudes.
Board, Staff, & Instructors
Deb Leichsenring, is the Director of Operations which includes everything from laundry to chores to helping with workdays to learning about the volunteer roles – all so she can oversee all the “moving parts” of Miracles! Growing up in Chicago, Deb’s love of horses began by spending time with the Palominos her cousin raised. Deb later moved to Amana and lived on a farm very close to the Miracles…
Nick is the property manager at Miracles doing mowing, routine maintenance, and chore detail. Born in Florida, he grew up on a farm near Hedrick, Iowa, an indispensable background for helping take care of our 76-acre farm and older farmhouse. He headed to Iowa City to attend the University of Iowa. He and his brother have now bought a house in Cedar Rapids that they are currently remodeling in the…
Diana began volunteering at Miracles in Motion in 2016. Since then she has served on the board of directors, been a horse lead, side walker, team leader, web site manager, and part of the afternoon feeding crew. After a year as an instructor in training, Diana is now a CTRI PATH-certified therapeutic riding instructor. Before she retired and thus could spend many hours volunteering at Miracles, Di…
Eric is the parent representative on the board. He has been associated with Miracles in Motion since 2004 when his son Ben started taking hippotherapy at three years old. Ben has ridden nearly every year since then. Eric, his wife Cynthia, and daughter Katherine have all volunteered as sidewalkers, giving him the opportunity to see how the program makes a big difference for riders and volunteers. …
Kristin started at Miracles as a side walker for classes and has also been a horse lead and instructor aide. She enjoys working with the riders and spending time with the herd doing groundwork. Before volunteering at Miracles, she taught middle school band for 40 years. She grew up in Iowa City and lives near North Liberty with her husband, Cary, two dogs, and a cat. In her spare time, she enjoys …
Lauren is the president of the Board of Directors, as well as the volunteer representative. She grew up in Creston, Iowa, where she showed quarter horses in Western pleasure, barrel racing, and pole bending. She received her Masters in Art at the University of Iowa, where she met her husband, Joe, who is a dentist in Cedar Rapids. They have three children-- Kylie, Landon, Connor-- and a dog Maya. …
Steve Erickson is a bank officer at the Hills Bank home office location in Hills, IA. He is looking forward to spending time at the Miracles farm as he is passionate about being outdoors – biking, hiking, camping, kayaking or just sitting around a fire pit in his backyard. He has also volunteered for the Boy Scouts, Children’s Ministries at St. Marks and participated in several events for enviro…
Lois James is in charge of Development (fund raising) and the program committee, in addition to general board duties. She joined the board in 2017 as she was transitioning to phased retirement from her business, James Investment Group, Inc., which she started in 1984. In addition to her love of horses, Lois enjoys travel, photography, gardening, and spending time with her partner, Bruce, and dog, …
Tracy Kolosik is the treasurer of the Board of Directors. She volunteers as a side walker, horse leader, barn assistant, and assists with chores and special events. She has been a health care administrator for 36 years, serving 24 years on active duty in the U.S. Navy (serving 4 years as a hospital corpsman, 20 years as a Medical Service Corps Officer), and 12 years at the VA Hospital in Iowa City…
Noreen O’Connor-Abel joined the Miracles in Motion board as the parent representative. She and her husband, Ted Abel, were happy to find such a welcoming place where their son, Seamus, could continue adapted riding lessons, which he started in middle school when they lived in Pennsylvania. Seamus has been riding at Miracles since 2021. Noreen is a managing editor at the University of Pennsylvania …
Joe Petta is the secretary of the Miracles Board of Directors. Following a 36-year career with Consolidated Edison of New York, Joe relocated to Iowa in 2008 and lives with his wife, Amy, on her family’s century farm in Amana. In addition to his board responsibilities, Joe volunteers for morning chores and has been a side walker, horse leader, and barn assistant; he also assists with property and …
Susan is the volunteer representative to the Board. She volunteers for chores, and as a horse lead and side walker for classes, as well as serving on the horse committee. She grew up riding horses on a hobby farm in southeast Iowa, attended Iowa State University, worked as a veterinarian, and raised three children. She is retired and lives on a small acreage north of Iowa City with her husband, Ma…
Mission, Vision, Core Values
Mission: We foster personal achievement for persons facing challenges by providing diverse equestrian activities with therapeutic, educational, and recreational benefits.
Vision: We empower those facing challenges by creating opportunities to connect with the energy and spirit of the horse.
• Compassion. We provide safe and ethical services for our students and horses. We are compassionate partners in our students’ journey.
• Inclusion. We accept the dignity of our students regardless of their background and respective needs. We value each of them.
• Respect. We respect the individual needs of our students to empower their personal goals.
• Achievement. We help students achieve their full potential and increase confidence, skills, and a sense of pride.