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Meet The Team

Marie LaRock
Eagala Certified Equine Specialist

Marie LaRock, Co-Founder 
Eagala Certified Equine Specialist, MS- SLP

Marie's vision for providing quality horsemanship training & life skills in a nature filled environment is the driving force behind Rock Ranch. Marie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and a Master's Degree in Speech- Language Pathology from Minnesota State University - Moorhead.


Her lifelong love of horses and working with children was the spark igniting the formation of Rock Ranch. Marie is a Foundational Member of ARCH (Arenas for Change), participating member of PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) and certified as an Equine Specialist under Eagala (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association).


Marie has worked with children on horseback at Rock Ranch for over 10 years and has provided speech therapy and instruction in school systems all over the region since 2001. 

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Eagala Certified Equine Specialist

Carissa Palmberg, Director of EAC

MS, LPC, LAC, Eagala Certified Mental Health Practitioner

Carissa received her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology with a minor in counseling from Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, MO and her Master of Science degree in community agency counseling from Missouri State University in Springfield, MO. After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Carissa worked at New Hope Wilderness Camp in Ava, MO. It was there that she was introduced to equine assisted psychotherapy in 2006.


For her internship in graduate school, Carissa was able to continue pursuing equine assisted psychotherapy at Healing Reigns in Waddell, AZ. Now Carissa is happy to be helping bring equine assisted psychotherapy to the greater Sioux Falls, SD area.


Carissa is a licensed professional counselor and licensed addiction counselor. She began formal training in equine-assisted psychotherapy through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (Eagala) in 2010 and is a Foundational Member of ARCH (Arenas for Charge) since 2021.


Carissa’s husband is recently retired from the South Dakota Air National Guard, and together they farm in Iowa. They have six young children who share their love for adventure and the outdoors.


Natasha Kellenberger, LMFT

Brain Health Coach, Certified in Prepare and Enrich 


Natasha is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in the State of Minnesota. Certified in Prepare and Enrich, Brain Health Coach and trained in ARCH Therapy Model. She received her Bachelors in Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Wisconsin and was a teacher for ten years. Then began her journey into therapy by getting her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at Argosy University Twin Cities. 

Natasha's areas of interest are: Adolescents, Women Health, Parenting and Family, Grief and Loss, Trust and Infidelity Issues, Family of Origin Issues, Pregnancy and Fertility Issues, Communication and Conflict Issues, Life Transitions, Pre-Marital Counseling and Marriages. 

Natasha and her husband are excited to be a part of the community and working on an acreage to live in the area with their four beautiful children. 


Lynne Hunter, MSW, CSW-PIP, QMHP 


Lynne received her Bachelor of Psychology and Social Work degree from University of South Dakota in Vermillion, SD and her Master of Social Work degree from University of Nebraska-Omaha. She worked at Avera McKennan Hospital for 32 years in areas of mental health, oncology, palliative care and hospice. Lynne is currently a Program Coordinator for Mental Health at the Sioux Falls VA Healthcare Center. 
Lynne is one of the newest members of the equine assisted therapy team. She attended an Arenas for Change Retreat recently held at Rock Ranch. Lynne enjoys a wide variety of outdoor activities: particularly walking, hiking and biking in the many nature venues in the Sioux Falls area.  She is looking forward to incorporating her passion for the serenity of nature into the therapy sessions with the equines at Rock Ranch.

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Eagala Certified Equine Specialist

Jill Jonnes-Kuca, LPC, CHt, SIP
Eagala Certified Mental Health Practitioner, Pastoral Counselor

Jill received her Master of Counseling (MC) and Master of Christian Leadership (MACL) at Sioux Falls Seminary. She also received a Master of Divinity equivalency through the National Association of Veteran’s Affairs Chaplains.


Jill is a fifty-something mother of two, and wife of one adult man-child. She was born and raised in the Sioux Falls area and is proud to be a Midwesterner. She primarily works with families, teens, and work place teams. She is also happy to work with individuals that feel drawn to her professional calling.

Jill's work reflects an integrative approach to counseling - psychological (scientifically proven) truths, and Christian Truth. She is open-minded and respectful of all faith perspectives. Jill believes that pain as well as joy is rooted in how one participates in relationships, in connections or lack of. She seeks to strengthen relationships with self, others, and your sense of spirituality if you so desire.


Jill is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and has been certified in equine-assisted psychotherapy through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (Eagala). She is also a Foundational Member of ARCH (Arenas for Change). She is a master Hypnotherapist (CHt) through the National Guild of Hypnotists (NGH), and is a Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapist (SIP) through the Association for Clinical Pastoral Educators (ACPE).  Additionally, Jill has specific training in Functional Family Therapy (FFT), Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT), Suicide Prevention, CBT for sleep struggles, internal Family Systems, Age regression work, and Forgiveness therapy.


Staci Bundesen, Office and Operations Manager


Staci received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation, Parks and Leisure Services with an emphasis is Leisure Planning and Management, and a minor in Business Administration from Mankato State University. She has worked as the Youth Recreation Director for the YWCA and as an Administrative Assistant with the Luverne School District.

Staci joined the Rock Ranch team in April of 2021 and feels very blessed to be a part of such an amazing organization. She loves helping keep Rock Ranch organized and running smoothly!  She has learned a lot about horses since starting here and enjoys participating in Women's Riding Group as well as helping out wherever she's needed.  

Staci and her husband live in Hills and have two children. She enjoys spending time with her family, gardening, fishing, and relaxing at the lake.


Jessica Richters

Lead Instructor, Barn Manager, Equine Specialist

Certified in Equine Massage Therapy

Jessica received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Animal Science: Business and Production with a double minor in Business and Equine Science from South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD.  During school she worked in the swine industry for Pipestone Systems and at the SDSU Equestrian Team Barn.

While at SDSU, Jessica volunteered and interned with the S.T.A.R.S. (Special Training and Riding Skills) therapy program.  She also interned for Bonde's Bouncin' B Acres Miniature and Shetland horse farm, and continued to help them out with chores after her internship ended.

Jessica has always had a love and passion for animals, especially horses, and is excited to be a part of the Rock Ranch team to support and help the organization grow.  Jessica is a participating member of PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Riding) and a trained member of ARCH (Arenas for Change). She received her certification in Equine Massage Therapy from Armstrong Massage Therapy, LLC in Becker, MN.

Jessica lives on a farm outside of Luverne, MN and enjoys spending time with family, friends and her cattle dog, Lady.  In her spare time, she also enjoys riding horses, traveling, and being outdoors.

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