Walk On Farm
"A true friend knows your weaknesses but shows you your strengths;
feels your fears but fortifies your faith;
sees your anxieties but frees your spirit;
recognizes your disabilities but emphasizes your possibilities."

-William Arthur Ward

Walk On - About Us

About Walk On

Walk On was the dream of several people dedicated to providing horseback riding for people with disabilities. In 2005 that dream became a reality when a special facility designed specifically for our program became available for use. Thanks to two prominent Barrington Hills residents Walk On Farm was created from the ground up.

Established in 2006, the Not-for-Profit Walk On program was named after the command, "Walk On". This term is used by the participant to have the horse move forward in a therapeutic riding lesson. Currently our program provides services to over 50 participants representing a variety of disabilities. Each week participants experience the magic of the horse while they laugh, have fun and develop balance, feel natural body movements on a three dimensional plane and form an emotional bond to a large animal. Where else can one experience such magic? Developing strength, coordination, visual motor integration, and normalization of muscle tone while improving communication skills, attention span, self image and the ability to follow directions. WOW!

All of us at Walk On are blessed to have the opportunity to bring this program to people with disabilities in the Barrington and surrounding area. Thanks to everyone who has offered their generous support to Walk On so this magical program can reach out to many more participants.

- Marion L. May, Past President

Biographical Sketches


Mary Illing, BS, OTR/L
President & Program Director
As a founding committee member of Walk On; Mary is a Licensed Occupational Therapist, PATH Certified Master Level Instructor, and Meredith Manor Horsemanship Certificate holder. She has been involved in Equine Assisted Therapy for over 30 years and is an experienced equestrienne in second level dressage and training level eventing.

Previously, Mary has managed and instructed at Acorn Hill as well as at Friends of Handicapped Riders & Friends for Therapeutic Equine Activities.

Currently a member of PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International; formerly NARHA), Formerly a NARHA Instructor Certification committee member, a NARHA Workshop Committee member , 1994 National Conference Co-chair, and NARHA Illinois State Representative for a number of years.

Mary is a published author and lecturer on Therapeutic horseback riding topics.

Barbara Cunningham
Barb is a real estate broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Barrington. Formerly a Cultural Arts Chair for Roslyn Road School, a volunteer with the Fox River Valley Pony Club Trails and a Girl Scout leader

An active member in the Barrington horse community; member of two hunt clubs and a member of Barrington Hills Riding Center, active fundraiser for Relay for Life and an avid equestrienne.

Jan Nestrud
Active in the Barrington horse community and mother of three. Attended University of Iowa, worked as Medical Research Assistant and Executive Assistant to President of a manufacturing company. Jan has been extremely active with the United States Pony Clubs, both locally and nationally in numerous leadership positions. Organized and facilitated numerous seminars at USPC festivals and annual meetings; facilitated national contests, organized Combined Training Rallies and Horse Trials.

Jan is actively involved with the Barrington Countryside Park District, the Riding Club of Barrington Hills and the Barrington Hills Country Club. Currently, a Steward for the Forest Preserve District of Cook County for Prairie Restoration, Citizens for Conversation and Spring Creek Basset Hunt. Jan was named a “Legend” at the 2004 USPC 50th Anniversary Celebration and also, received the Governors Cup in 2006 by US Eventing Association. Jan is an avid equestrienne.

Nancy L. Schmid
Active member of the Barrington community. An avid equestrienne and breeder of Warm Blood horses and on the Board of Directors of the North American Selle Francais. Was a member of the Board of Directors of the Fox River Valley Pony Club and an elected commissioner of the Barrington Countryside Park District as well as on the Management Board. Currently, Nancy is the President of Schmid Tool and Engineering.


Allison Roberts Greene
Advisory Board Chair
A 2005 founding member of Walk On. A member of Walk On Advisory Board and avid program supporter. Parent with children participating in the program. Active supporter of many not-for-profit and community organizations. Former President of Image Graphics, Inc. and Past Board member of Addison Chamber of Commerce.

Carolyn Springer
Carolyn was Born and raised in Herkimer N.Y. She has lived in Barrington Hills for 37 years. A Graduate of State University of New York, graduate studies at City College NY, and Fellowship in Developmental Biology for Teachers at University of Chicago. She retired from teaching Biology in 2005.

Carolyn has volunteer experience with PTO at Barrington Schools, Cub Scouts, Fox River Valley Pony Club, Fox River Valley Horse Trials. She is a member of the Riding Club of Barrington Hills and former Management Board member Countryside Park District. Currently she is a social member of the Fox River Valley Hunt, member of the Spring Creek Bassets, and a Deacon of the Presbyterian Church of Barrington.

Elyse M. Roberts
Founding member of Walk On. Member of Advisory Board and generous supporter of Walk On. Active member of Barrington horse community and supporter of numerous not-for-profit organizations and community agencies. Has participated on many Board of Directors, holding various offices and has received recognition for her outstanding work and support.

Steven D. Jelm, CPA
Owner of Steven D. Jelm, CPA. In practice for 30 years, specializing in small business practices. Member of Illinois CPA Society. Previously owner of Continuing Education Resource, Inc, sponsoring over 100 educational seminars throughout the US. Consultant to numerous organizations.


Carol Frisbie Peters
PATH Certified Registered Instructor and Level 1 Centered Riding instructor. Carol has taught riding for the past twenty years. She has been a therapeutic riding instructor for nine of those years.

Michele (Mikki) LeClair, AA
PATH Certified Registered Instructor and Level 1 Centered Riding instructor. Mikki has an Associate of Arts Degree from St John’s University, New York. For the many years has been involved in Dressage as a working student, groom, full time trainee and in competition. Prior to coming to Walk On has worked in various capacities for United and Best Airlines, Tudor Oaks Farm, and Horning Chiropractic and Pediatric Associates of Barrington. Currently, a member of the United States Dressage Federation and the United States Equestrian Federation. Mikki is a dedicated and accomplished equestrienne and part time instructor at Walk On.

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