Passion for the horse industry and passion for serving other seems to rise to the forefront for this year's leaders on the National Snaffle Bit Association's Foundation board of directors. This team is tasked with assisting the Foundation in administering its core programs, including Equestrians With Disabilities Grant Program, Trainer Crisis Fund, Heroes On Horses, Animal Welfare Fund and the Youth Scholarship Program.
The Foundation is Your Opportunity to Get Involved by Sharing the Dream!
Now, let's get to know this year's officers and directors.
Jennifer Hulcher, of Pilot Point, Texas, has been involved in the equine community for many years. Her hobby is also her vocation through her ranch, Equine Sale Water Therapy, which provides preventive maintenance therapy, conditioning and rehabilitation for horses across several breeds, as well as event horses. Since first competing at NSBA events four year ago, Jennifer has met many friends and earned many awards and titles. Jennifer and her daughter Brooke Bancroft have been involved with ApHC for several years, earning national and world champion titles.
Jennifer has been an ApHC member since the early 1970s, and has served on the Dal-Worth Appaloosa Horse Club and Texas Appaloosa Horse Club boards, assisted the Appaloosa Youth Association, as well as coordinated the Texas World Show Team. Her community involvement makes her an ideal board member for the NSBA Foundation, including the Community Civic League, United Way, Angel Tree, Humane Society of Flower Mound, Teton County Animal Shelter, Jackson Hole Animal Shelter and Coast for Kids. One of her horses, Ravishin Radical, has been used as an EWD therapy horse at Stable Strides in north Texas.
A member of NSBA since the association's inception, Carrie Oakley, of Pilot Point, Texas, has been a horse owner, breeder and active exhibitor in the industry for many years. In addition, she has owned two NSBA Hall of Fame horses, Hotrodder's Jet Set and Delea Siemon. An NSBA and AQHA champion, who is passionate about the pleasure horse industry, Carrie came through the ranks as a Youth, Amateur and Select exhibitor; and passed her passion for horses along to her daughter, Courtney, who also competes in Amateur and Non Pro events.
A professional inside and out of the arena, this Texan is also a real estate agent and equine insurance representative, and has won many awards honoring her achievements in and outside the horse industry. She has actively participated in United Way, Chamber of Commerce fundraisers and is involved in missionary work through her church. "I am driven to succeed at my personal and business endeavors," she said. Carrie and her husband Troy reside in Pilot Point, Texas.
Amy Hassinger, of Aberdeen, North Carolina, was a professional horsewoman with a successful national hunter/jumper business as a competitive rider, trainer, judge and coach for more than 20 years. In addition to her duties as the NSBA Foundation Chair in 2019, she focuses her attention on the growth and development of her family veterinary businesses, Hassinger Equine Sport Medicine/Rehabilitation, Equine Healthcare International, and the Hassinger Group.
Amy appreciates the mission of the NSBA Foundation, and how it touches the lives of so many.
"The ability of a foundation to provide support for its members is one of the many qualities that separate NSBA from other organizations," she said.
Amy has a special interest in developing educational programs that provide a pipeline for new riders to participate in our industry, and new trainers to be successful for the long term. "Opportunities for individuals to compete on horses from a grass roots level is necessary to sustain growth in our organization.”
After being introduced to the NSBA Foundation through the Equestrians with Disabilities and Heroes on Horses programs at the NSBA World Championship Show, Laurel Champlin, of Pilot Point, TX, has watched the Foundation grow, and observed the impact fundraising efforts have had on riders who face challenges. She stated with her children now grown, she now has the time to match her desire to help others and get involved.
Additionally, Champlin has always been a steward of her animals and their welfare. She believes the NSBA Foundation programs, and mission to serve others in the horse community, as well as their animals, align nicely with her own values. Champlin is a tremendous asset to the Board of Directors bringing her kind heart and her “Let’s Do It” attitude to inspire those around her.
Laurel has been involved with NSBA since it began it 1983. She served as a horse trainer, coach, judge and breeder, before becoming an Amateur exhibitor later in her show career. In addition to the NSBA Foundation, she has been involved with other non-profit groups including the Desert Club scholarship program, volunteered at Kids and Horses, and as a board member of Pet Network.
AQHA professional horseman Ryan Cottingim has been involved and competed in the American Quarter Horse industry for over 25 years. Cottingim is a graduate of the University of Findlay in Findlay, Ohio, with a Bachelor’s degree in both western equestrian studies and equine business management. Following his graduation, Ryan spent two additional years at the university as an instructor.
He then opened his own training and lesson program in southwestern Ohio. Ryan had an opportunity to advance his career in the show horse industry, and took an assistant training position at Tommy Sheets show horses. After eight years of success and advancements, Ryan and his fiancée, Amanda Gately, opened the doors at their training program Ryan Cottingim Show Horses, in Spring Hill, Tennessee. There, they have established a very successful program, earning multiple world show and Congress championships. They specialize in the western and English all-around events, as well as coaching amateur and youth riders.
Although not getting involved in horses until later in her life, Beth Hartman, of Mattawan, Michigan has seen not only success in the show pen, but how horses can change people's lives.
As an active volunteer of the Cheff Therapeutic Riding Center based in Richland, MI, Beth has had the opportunity to help children, teens and adults make great achievements while aboard the therapy horses. "There are no words to describe the feeling I get when I see these people aboard a horse, loving every minute of it. I really want to see the Heroes on Horses and Equestrians With Disabilities programs grow because I've seen with my own eyes how horses can change a person's mood and outlook on life," Beth said.
Beth has worked with the NSBA Foundation in creating the Coaches Summit in an effort to continue to educate the therapy community about the benefit of horses and horse showing. Beth has watched her daughter compete for the last seven years, and is now enjoying the success of her own horses showing and winning at AQHA and NSBA events across the country.
Owner Whitney Lagace is the head trainer and instructor at Whitney Ridge LLC in Higganum, Connecticut.
Born in New York, Whitney started riding with encouragement from her mom, who loved to see the horses in Central Park in New York City. She started with a pony and her involvement with horses grew as she started working for trainers who had Arabians. She was approached by another farm to start a lesson program using Quarter Horses, and she quickly became enamored with the trainable, calm demeanor and the versatility of the Quarter Horse.
As an AQHA and NSBA credentialed judge, Lagace learned about the works of the NSBA Foundation through her professional relationship with NSBA Director of Operations, Stephanie Lynn. As an instructor during the NSBA Foundation funded Boot Camps, she realized the importance of the outreach and financial support needed to attract and retain new riders of all ages, who are interested in the equine industry.
She is anxious to get involved and continues to share her expertise and assist in the outreach efforts of the Foundation. She strongly believes in giving back to the industry that has allowed her to have a career and do what she loves.
As a loving mother of four, Whitney has balanced her family business alongside her husband Mike, who is an engineer. The Lagaces have three grown children, and a daughter still at home, who shows with her mom at AQHA and NSBA events across the country.
Michael Laplace is an equine industry veteran, having owned, bred, and raised Quarter Horses for more than 50 years. His love of Quarter Horses stems back to his childhood when he was first introduced to them, competing in local open and AQHA sanctioned shows. Michael’s passion continued into adulthood, and in the 1960s he began breeding, raising, and training registered Quarter Horses at his family farm in Chester, NY. When the farm was first purchased, his family raised and sold Black Angus cattle for several years.
Michael and his wife Linda still live there today, and that is where they raised their twin daughters, Dale and Hannah. Dale and Hannah were introduced to Quarter Horses at a very young age. The family passion for Quarter Horses continued from one generation to the next, making it a family affair. Hannah and Dale have earned numerous NSBA World Championship titles and top ten placings throughout their youth and amateur careers.
Today, Michael owns and operates a commercial industrial park in Elmwood Park, NJ, that was formerly a family owned chemical distribution company location serving the Northeast. Today, Michael continues to breed and raise Quarter Horses. He also enjoys trout fishing and deer hunting.
Michael is a former member of the Advisory Board for National Community Bank of New Jersey and the Regional Board for the Bank of New York. He is a graduate of Miami University of Ohio, where he earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in business administration and economics.
Judy Smith holds an MS in Leisure Studies, with an emphasis in Therapeutic/Recreational Programing, from Oklahoma State University.
Currently, Judy is serving as the Director of Equine/Human Sciences at Utah State University, and oversees the Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies Minor, and the Community Service Program offering Adaptive Riding and Equine Assisted Learning activities. She has been instrumental in adding Veterans to the therapeutic riding program at Utah State, collaborating with cross campus groups and community services.
Judy is a certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, with the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International.
Smith grew up on a farm in central Washington state, and participated in the Horse 4-H program for twelve years. She also rode and competed in hunter jumper events, during her youth career. Currently, she rides dressage with a 17 hand Dutch Warmblood. She and her husband Roger have been married for 36 years and they have three grown children and eight grandchildren.
Page Simpson of Jacksonville, Florida began her love of horses as a four-year-old, with her pony “Torpedoes Black Jack”. Horses have remained a constant in her and her family’s life ever since. Competing in over fences classes in the Midwest as a youth, to the past 11 years on the Appaloosa Horse Club circuit with her daughter, Dawson, Page continues to be an active horse show competitor herself.
Page’s professional career has been varied as gallery owner, grant writer, and finally with the Community Foundation for Northeast Florida as Director of Grantmaking. Her experience in program development, reviewing and making funding recommendations, will be a tremendous asset to the NSBA Foundation. Page retired in 1999 to raise her daughter Dawson, but continues to volunteer. Page also serves on the Board of Directors for Christian Healing Ministries.
In addition, Simpson provided financial support, which was instrumental in the implementation of the Windemere Hunter Classic at the Appaloosa Horse Club’s world championship show. She enthusiastically supports a number of Appaloosa Horse Club activities at the local, regional and national levels. Her involvement in many non-profit organizations has benefited the arts, medical causes and efforts focused on women’s related initiatives.
She is grateful to have learned some of life’s greatest lessons through her involvement with horses. Page commented, “NSBA’s program of work offers so many opportunities to positively impact a wide range of horses, and those who love them, in ways that provide relief, education and encouragement”. She is looking forward to helping the Foundation continue to grow its mission.