Leg Up Learning Solutions LLC was established in 2020 by Ellen Lichtenstein. The idea was borne from Ellen’s lifelong love of horses and her 15+ year career in the field of Communications. 

After working in both creative and corporate settings, Ellen founded Just Add Communications and began working as a consultant in June of 2020. At the same time, she saw a gap in both personal and professional development that she believed could be filled through equine-facilitated work. 

Leg Up Learning Solutions was founded on the premise of horses as our partners and teachers, regardless of the context. Whether we’re interacting with them on the ground, learning technical riding skills, or exploring nature together, there is always something to discover – most importantly about ourselves – through our work with horses.

Meet the Horses

Our most important “staff” are our equine partners. Without them, we’d just be a few silly humans wandering around the pasture or woods.

Leg Up Learning Solutions currently employs three Icelandic Horses and one American Paint Horse owned by our founder and EFL facilitator Ellen Lichtenstein. After riding an Icelandic Horse for the first time in 2013, Ellen instantly fell in love with the breed and it’s easy to see why. Their small but sturdy build, extremely smooth gaits, and unique personalities tend to win over anyone who meets them.

Every Icelandic horse has a given name and a “from” name, which indicates the farm where he or she was born. In the United States and Canada, most horses’ names include the english word “from,” while in Iceland, the native frá is used.

Snuggur (Snoog-er)

Snuggur from Windstar
Born in Indiana, 2008

Snuggur is a bay pinto gelding with a one-of-a-kind personality. In our experience, he is equal parts playful, adventurous, and mischievous. For riding, we often put kids and brand new riders on Snuggur because we know he is very safe and nearly unflappable. More advanced riders enjoy Snuggur as well because he is game for pretty much anything out on the trail. 

Keilir (Kay-ler)

Keilir from Klakahross
Born in Oklahoma, 2011 

Keilir, named after an Icelandic Volcano, is a solid brown gelding with wild hair.

Tilraun (Til-ruin)

Tilraun frá Pulu
Born in Iceland, 2009

Tilraun is a bay mare and the only female in our group. She traveled from Iceland in 2019 and has lived with us ever since. 

Helo (Hee-low)

Helo from Craigslist
Born in the U.S.A., approximately 2001

Helo is our only non-Icelandic horse and he’s been with us since 2009. 

Learn More About Icelandic Horses

For more information on Icelandic Horses, we recommend: 

Meet the Humans

Ellen Lichtenstein


Ellen has been obsessed with horses as far back as she can remember. She annoyed her parents and grandparents into buying her one at age 11, and has had at least one horse in her life since 1995. Although she grew up riding common breeds like the American Quarter Horse, Arabians, and various drafts and warmbloods, Ellen fell instantly in love with the Icelandic Horse on a trip to Europe in 2013 and her life hasn’t been the same since. 

After purchasing her first Icelandic Horse Snuggur in 2017, Ellen soon realized the truth in the common saying “you can’t have just one.” Two years, and one trip to Iceland later, Ellen has built a small herd of three. 

Ellen received her B.S. in Communication Studies from New York University and her M.A. in Communications from Johns Hopkins University. In both programs she studied not only mass media communication and media theory & criticism, but interpersonal and speech communication as well. 

With a solid background in communication theory and practice, and having spent over fifteen years in the corporate world, Ellen founded her company Just Add Communications in the summer of 2020. At the same time, she founded Leg Up Learning Solutions, started teaching riding lessons again, and began to pursue her certification in Equine Facilitated Learning. 

Ellen considers herself a lifelong student and continues to attend clinics and take lessons whenever possible. She began teaching riding lessons at age 16 both at Camp Coleman and Valley View Ranch, back in her native Alabama and Georgia. 

Ellen has previously held a CHA Level 1 Instructor Certification and currently holds a Level 2 certification from The HERD Institute in Equine Facilitated Learning, as well as a valid adult, child, and infant CPR/First Aid/AED certification from the American Red Cross. In addition, Ellen has been volunteering with The Right Step, a PATH therapeutic riding program, since 2017.

Michael Podhajsky

Michael is our resident horse handler and helper, mostly due to being married to Ellen. While he never grew up riding, he began to learn in 2010 when he and Ellen met and turned out to be quite the natural. Although he learned to ride primarily on a paint horse and an Arabian, Michael took to the Icelandic breed right away and chose Snuggur as his first horse.

At Leg Up Learning Solutions, Michael generally assists with tacking up horses, barn work, and driving the horse trailer. When it comes to teaching lessons and EFL work, he is an invaluable second set of hands around the barn.

Michael holds a current certification in adult, child, and infant CPR/First Aid/AED from the American Red Cross.