Rhonda Smith

Founder and Executive Director

Rhonda profile pic


For native Texan Rhonda Smith, her life's work became clear to her following a near fatal accident involving an 18-wheeler in 1999. After the wreck, she left her job as Corporate Benefits Manager for Dell Computer Corporation and founded Spirit Reins in 2003.

Eliana Mijangos-Brown

Development Director

Eliana Mijangos-Brown has her M.S. in Public Service Administration and Nonprofit Philanthropy from Texas A&M University. She joins Spirit Reins after spending the past five years at Texas A&M University working in various roles that include communications, recruitment, and alumni relations. She has been working in development for the past three years, cultivating major gift donors for the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Before Texas A&M, Eliana ran the Texas Wesleyan University newspaper and television publication. Born in San Antonio, TX. to a restaurant family, she enjoys getting to know new people and sharing her passion for animals and equine therapy.

Debbie Okrina

LCSW - Clinical Director

Debbie Okrina

Debbie Okrina has her MSSW from the University of Texas. She is a Clinical Social Worker and a Board Approved Supervisor. She has been providing trauma therapy for 19 years and has been doing equine assisted psychotherapy for 8 years. Before working at Spirit Reins, Debbie was Clinical Director at the Houston Area Women’s Center, Clinical Director at Lone Star Behavior Health, and a therapist at Promises Austin. She is trained in EMDR. Debbie is a Senior Faculty member for The Daring Way and incorporates Brene Brown’s shame resiliency work into her practice.

Kris Weixel

Director of Finance and Technology

Kris Weix 

Kris has a B.S. in Business Administration from Minnesota State University - Moorhead. A former fiscal analyst for the Texas Department of Commerce and software engineer for IBM, Kris is in charge of the operations of the organization including financial controls, technology and budgeting. 

Karen Logan

Executive Assistant

Karen Logan

Along with colorful travel stories of fun and adventure, Karen brings to us valuable administrative and organizational skills. Prior to joining Spirit Reins, she spent time as a volunteer Park Ranger at national and Florida state parks and extensively traveled across the US. Previously she worked as an Executive Administrative Assistant for the president of a Fortune 500 company and also supported top level leadership executives, including several of their North American corporate officers, during her year career.

Ana Guerrero

Billing and Client Services Specialist

Ana Guerrero

Ana is a recent graduate from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s in Healthcare Administration. From a young age, she showed interest in the healthcare field and pursued studies of healthcare finance, healthcare law and policy, as well as quality improvement. Ana completed an internship with St. David’s Medical Center in the Quality Department where she discovered a love for the clinical side of healthcare. Eventually, she would like to pursue a master’s degree in accounting/finance or nursing. Prior to joining Spirit Reins, Ana worked in the customer service field for six years, spending the last four of those years in management.

Ryan Authier

LPC- Therapist


Ryan earned his B.A. in Psychology from Texas Wesleyan University and his M.A. in Counseling Psychology from St. Edwards University. Prior to Spirit Reins, he served as Program Manager for Communities in Schools of Central Texas. 


Shirley Brown

MSW/MPH Therapist

Shirley Brown

Shirley has a MSW as well as a MPH from the University of Michigan. She has over 20 years of experience working with adults, children/adolescents and families. She has worked in schools, home-based, domestic violence shelters community mental health centers and wellness clinic settings. Her life’s work has been in helping people recover from invalidating experiences, trauma, and other mental and physical health issues.

Paula Loring

LCSW - Clinical Therapist


Paula has been a psychotherapist for over 40 years and a horse lover all her life. Her work has always focused on children and trauma in one way or another. She began her career as a child protective social worker and then worked in a psychiatric hospital for adolescents. For the last 20 years she was in private practice and the director of a Bereavement Program in San Antonio. She is trained in several trauma treatment modalities, including EMDR, and has been a Registered Play Therapist. Paula is currently working toward her certification in Natural Lifemanship and is devoted to providing equine assisted therapy to traumatized children and adults and their families.

Tiffany Otting

PhD, LPC Therapist

Tiffany describes herself as a music educator turned counselor. Prior to moving to Texas, she taught middle school music for 9 years in Georgia. Tiffany has been a Licensed Professional Counselor in Texas since her 2012 graduation with a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She began practicing animal-assisted therapy in 2013 at the University of North Texas, where she earned her doctorate in counseling with a specialization in animal-assisted therapies. Tiffany has worked with animal-assisted professionals across the United States as well as in India, Israel, and China to educate and improve the field of animal-assisted interventions. Tiffany’s publications include Integrating Feminist Therapy and Expressive Arts with Adolescent Clients and Human-Animal Relational Theory: A Constructivist-Grounded Theory Investigation. Additionally, Tiffany is currently co-author of Animal-Assisted Interventions for Emotional Concerns: Conversations with Pioneers of the Field, to be released in 2018. Concurrent with her academic work, Tiffany worked as a therapist in psychiatric inpatient and outpatient programs for clients across the lifespan, residential treatment centers, chemical dependency programs, and private practice settings. Tiffany recognizes the impact of trauma and related stressors in the lives of clients and works to provide a safe space for clients to move through trauma toward healing.

Jenna Pywell

MSW - Equine Professional/ Co-Therapist


Jenna has a B.A. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University and a MSW from The University of Denver. She has six years of case management experience working with youth and and years of horse experience. Before Spirit Reins, she served as an Employment Specialist at LifeWorks.


Kate Van Norman

Equine Professional/Co-Therapist

Kate VanNorman









 Kate has her B.A. in Psychology from Austin College and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Denver. Kate is looking forward to combining her extensive riding experience and experience working with kids and families from hard places in her role as Equine Professional/ Co-Therapist.

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Spirit Reins

2055 County Rd. 284
Liberty Hill, Texas

Fax - 512.582.8366