“Every hour I look at the ramp and there are walkers, wheelchairs and crutches abandoned there while their owner is in the saddle -- for me that’s a real symbol of freedom.” Edie
Edie Ebbert Dopking, PhD, founded Quantum Leap Farm in 2000 to serve those with injuries and disabilities, and to share the special gifts and sense of freedom horses offer. Though there are several excellent therapeutic equestrian programs serving disabled children in this area, Quantum Leap Farm is the only program specifically designed to serve adults and children with disabilities.
Prior to founding Quantum Leap Farm, Edie earned an Associate of Science degree in Nuclear Medicine Technology in 1983 and worked for St. Anthony’s Hospital, in St. Petersburg, as a Medical Imaging Technologist. Edie worked in both the Nuclear Medicine and MRI Departments, and later became the Director of Marketing for St. Anthony’s outpatient MRI center. In 1990, she co-founded and managed Access Imaging Center, a for-profit diagnostic medical imaging center in Clearwater, which was bought by a public company, Medical Resources, Inc., in 1996. Edie went on to complete her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development at Eckerd College, and in 1998 began work as a graduate student in the University of South Florida’s Aging Studies PhD Program - one of very few Baccalaureate students accepted into the program. During that time, Edie began volunteering for Bakas Equestrian Center, a therapeutic riding program serving disabled children here in Tampa. Edie’s experiences with disabled children at Bakas led her to investigate the physical and psychosocial benefits of therapeutic horseback riding for disabled adults for her dissertation research. While completing her dissertation, Edie was awarded membership in Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society for graduate students ranking in the top tenth percentile nationwide. As a result of her research and prior experiences working with patients diagnosed with neurodegenerative diseases, developmental disabilities, and acquired physical and mental disabilities, Edie gained expertise in the areas of aging with a disability, exercise physiology and aging, fitness and functional mobility, successful aging, and aging and recreation. Since graduating in 2003, Edie has also earned a Certificate in Non-Profit Management, become certified to instruct horseback riding lessons in both English and western disciplines by the Certified Horsemanship Association, and earned certification as an Equine Specialist by the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.
She has won numerous awards for her service to the community, including United Way of Tampa Bay's Volunteer of the Year Award in Health and Human Services in 2002, the Tampa Bay Rotary Club's James Brunner Community Service Award in 2006, Hillsborough County Veterans Council's American Patriotic Spirit Award in 2009, and eWomenNetwork's Innovative Female Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2011. She's been recognized for her work with injured military service members and their families by General David Petraeus, Commander, United State Central Command, and Major General Steve Hashem, Director, USCENTCOM Coalition Coordination Center, among other military leaders.
Edie Ebbert Dopking, Founder
& Operations Director
PhD--Aging Studies Research,
University of South Florida
Certified Horsemanship Association Certified Riding Instructor
Dr. Dopking is a life-long equestrian having “horsed-around” since she was a child. She has extensive experience including many years of horse ownership, taking riding instruction in various disciplines, and competing or trail riding locally and around Florida. She’s been teaching adults with disabilities to ride or carriage drive since 2000. Prior to founding Quantum Leap Farm’s therapeutic riding program, she operated a private boarding/training facility from her farm in Odessa, for almost a decade.
Dr. Dopking founded Quantum Leap Farm in 2000. She has dedicated her personal and professional experience, physical and financial assets, and copious amounts of time and energy serving the Farm’s mission, its participants, and ensuring its future.