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KOSBE Award Winner Takes Reins of International Non-Profit

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - The Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) is pleased to announce, Ellen Stroud, co-founder and vice president of Pinnacle Ranch has been elected chair of the Board of Directors for the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association (EAGALA).

EAGALA is an international non-profit organization developed to address the need for resources, education and professionalism in the fields of equine assisted psychotherapy and equine assisted learning, also known as “horse therapy.”

The association has set the standard for professional excellence in how horses and humans work together to improve the quality of life and mental health of individuals, families and groups worldwide.

 EAGALA has more than 3,500 members in 38 countries and continues to grow world-wide.

“Ellen’s commitment to ensuring access to equine assisted therapy and her business, government and non-profit experience will be a valuable asset as we move forward,” said Lynn Thomas, EAGALA co-founder and executive director.

Stroud’s company, Pinnacle Ranch provides quality mental health services, personal growth, learning opportunities and organizational development utilizing equine assisted activities and the EAGALA Model.

Pinnacle was the 2009 Runner Up for the distinguished KOSBE Award - New Business Category.

The Northeast Tennessee therapy team consists of a licensed mental health professional and a trained equine specialist. Working together the team develops and implements treatment goals through specially designed activities with horses. Clients have a range on mental health needs including but not limited to Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, depression, anxiety, PTSD, behavioral problems and relationship issues. Holly Hopson is the president of Pinnacle Ranch.

Stroud has served as a member of the EAGALA board of directors and as its treasurer since 2009. She is co-founder and vice-president of Pinnacle Ranch and serves as an equine specialist. She is also president of ESI Strategies which is a government and public relations consulting company.

She holds a bachelor of arts in political science from Roanoke College and has management experience in private, public and non-profit organizations. She is a graduate of the Kingsport Leadership Program and her professional and community service work was recognized by the Tri-Cities Business Journal as a 40 Under 40 award winner in 2008.

Stroud and her husband, Jason Dorfman, reside in Kingsport.

It is the intent of KOSBE to be the go-to organization in the Tri-Cities for small business owners and entrepreneurs who want to start or grow their businesses, by creating and developing the right tools and resources and cultivating the right partnerships. In partnership with Tennessee Small Business Development Centers (TSBDC) at ETSU, KOSBE can more effectively serve the needs of entrepreneurs and small businesses. For a complete listing of services, tools and resources, visit

The cooperative agreement between KOSBE and East Tennessee State University is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA’s funding is not an endorsement of any products, opinions or services. SBA funded programs are extended to the public on a non-discriminatory basis. Additional funding is provided by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the state of Tennessee.

To schedule your free confidential counseling appointment in a private setting by TSBDC-certified counselors in person, online by phone or e-mail call Marybeth McLain at (423) 392.8825 or e-mail,  

 For more information about the Tennessee Small Business Development Center (TSBDC) at ETSU Kingsport Affiliate Office and your Kingsport Office of Small Business Development & Entrepreneurship (KOSBE), visit and or call (423) 392.8825. We’re social too; follow us on our Facebook page, Kosbe – The Small Business Connection and on our Twitter account, @KOSBEConnection.


At Pinnacle Ranch Horses Help People Deal With Problems


A different kind of business in Kingsport is helping people deal with their problems and learn about themselves at the same time. Pinnacle Ranch allows people of all ages and every walk of life to interact with horses. The ranch owners believe that horses are mirror images of the people they interact with and that gives humans a rare chance to observe their own behavior. The Pinnacle Ranch has helped autistic children, war veterans and even office workers learn valuable communication skills and the self confidence to cope with life issues.

The Kingsport Area Chamber of Commerce’s Office of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship (KOSBE) recognized Pinnacle Ranch as one of the best new businesses started in the past two years.
Reaching the Pinnacle
Source: Kingsport Times News
Pinnacle Ranch was featured in the Kingsport Times News on Sunday, July 26, 2009. Unfortunately, the article is not available on-line. An exerpt from the artcile:  Bob Larkins, director of juvenille court services for Sullivan County Juvenile Court Division II ...""We are impressed with the program and some of the things it offered like team-building, working together and trust issues," he explained. Larkins would like to continue taking juvenille court kids to Pinnacle Ranch. "What we'd like to do, furture wise, is build that infor our first offender program. let them use that as a means to learn how to stop and think before you make a decision. Learn to work together with others and learn the process that it's easier to think through problems than to react and be impulsive," he said. 
Pinnacle Ranch offers equine assisted therapy to veterans who may not be intereste mental difficulties or willing to get to a standard clinical counseling session. This type of therapy has people work through activities with horses to discover and correct emotional and ...
Now you can learn more about what an EAGALA EAP session looks like by watching YouTube. 


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