Gail Todter


I’m a Health Educator and student of the horse, and aspire to be a good steward of the land.  My goal is to make a difference in the lives of the people I work with by creating new avenues for health behavior change and well-being. I love to create beautiful healing environments that nurture women as they journey.

I have been providing health education, fitness training, horsemanship classes, and empowerment workshops in Charlottesville and Albemarle county since 1990.  My passions are women, horses, and health: the body-mind connection (psychophysiology), health and fitness, and nature therapy.  When I discovered the ways physical activity in the out of doors influenced perception and mental health I had found my life's work.  Horses and horsemanship have been a love since childhood and now integrate beautifully into my health promotion work with women.   I have the privilege of witnessing the beauty of how women work with horses for many years. This work keeps unfolding and becomes ever more meaningful. I love what I do!!

My Health Education Background

I completed my doctoral program in Health Promotion at UVA and worked as a Health Educator for The Dogwood Institute founding Integrative Health Services in 1998.  In addition to my individual counseling practice, I loved developing mindfulness-based programs: such as Strong Women, the Empowered Women and Unbroken Spirit workshops, the Sugar Class and Food, Mood and Energy. Having worked a lot with eating and body-image disorders over the years, I continue to assist folks with improving their diet, stress management and life planning.  I am particularly interested in Addiction Recovery and ADD.  My work is based on the understanding that each client is innately whole and complete - they are the "expert." Together, the client and I do our best to make sound nutrition and exercise an integral part of life. Like the knot, we create something that holds once my hand is removed.

I balance my work with personal interests - organic farming,  riding and camping in the Blue Ridge mountains, cats and dogs, fiber and book arts, writing, reading, and spending time with my horses.

My horsemanship background

I have had my own horses since age 12, riding, breeding and training for my own enjoyment.  As I completed my BS degree at Michigan State University I was blessed to find positions in Equine Reproductive Research there and with the Colorado State University Animal Reproduction facility where I earned my Master's degree.  I landed a great job as Breeding Manager of the largest Arabian breeding facility in the world.  I got to play endlessly with mares, foals and stallions, learning a lot about herd dynamics and the ways human body language influences horses. 

Since my introduction to Natural Horsemanship, I have ridden in or audited clinics with Louis Wood, Buck Brananman, Peter Campbell, Bryan Neubert, Tom Curtin, and Harry Whitney – all great teachers and students of the horse. Most recently I have completed two teacher trainings with Wendy Murdoch and continue to work with her to heighten my awareness of the dynamic relationship between horse and rider.  The wisdom and skill of these horse professionals feeds my understanding and becomes integral to my own approach, benefiting horses and students at Galleywinter.

I supplement my clinic experiences and everyday learning with periodicals, video, discussion with fellow horsemen, health professionals and most importantly – my own clients and students. They have the gift of Beginner’s Mind and a natural appreciation of the horse. We embrace what we intend to make a lifelong process of growth and learning.