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Staff Profiles

Deborah Shinner, Executive Director

Deborah Shinner,  Executive Director of REINSDebbie started volunteering at REINS in 1992 and became the Executive Director in 1995. Here is why she first got involved.

"I started volunteering at REINS in the summer of 1992 when my dearest friend lost her daughter in a horse riding accident at the age of fourteen. My friends were told by their doctors, that if their daughter were to awake from her coma she would be severely disabled. I was very optimistic that she would ride again because I had just learned about this special program (REINS) that had just moved to Fallbrook. Unfortunately, my friends daughter passed away, but I was changed and inspired by the experiences and the hope of her riding in a new way. It's hard to believe that was so many years ago. REINS had 14 students back then and I am now proud to say and be part of over 185 weekly riders.

What I love most about my job is: "The amazing people I come into contact with on a daily basis. I love the fact that here at REINS we make a difference in people's lives...whether it be our students and their parents, our volunteers, our therapy horses, or our community as a whole. Everyday I want to come to work because I am always greeted with smiles, hugs, and a staff that is as passionate about what they do as I am!"

 

Shauna Jopes, Program Director

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Shauna started volunteering in 1993 and became the Program Director in 1997. Here is why she wanted to get involved.

"I first came to REINS as a volunteer (it was my mom's idea) because of my love of horses. As soon as I experienced a few lessons, I was hooked. I never imagined back then that it would become a job, let alone a career. I became certified through PATH International as an instructor in 1994 and started working full-time at REINS in 1997. I am excited about all the improvements and expansions planned for REINS in the next decade and beyond. I look forward to improving the quality of lessons we provide and reaching out to more students. I also can't wait to expand the infrastructure of the facility with a sensory trail, more arenas, classrooms for workshops, therapy gardens and so much more. We will be the "Disneyland" of therapy!"

What I love most about my job is... "I learn something new every single day. I learn from my students, my co-workers, the volunteers and even the horses. It is so refreshing to have new experiences daily even though I have worked here so long. I never get tired of rolling over that bridge to see what will happen next! The possibilities are endless.

 

Jennifer Gambrell, Development Coordinator

Jennifer started volunteering in June of 2007 and became the Development Coordinator in December of that same year. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I had recently graduated from Hawaii Pacific University and moved to Fallbrook. I was excited to get back into volunteering and my realtor suggested I check out REINS. I have always loved working with horses and I was excited to start working with people who had special needs. I was hooked straight off and found out they were hiring! I never dreamed that a job this perfect was out there. As the Development Coordinator, I get to be a part of all the changes both big and small and it is really cool to see all our efforts coming together. I am so excited that we are implementing our Annual Campaign and expanding our Outreach and Education Program (call me if you want a speaker or a tour). REINS is becoming a Therapeutic Riding Program that is looked to throughout the nation. We are holding clinics, expanding our services and sharing our knowledge with others so that Therapeutic Riding as a whole improves. I can’t wait to see REINS grow upon the firm foundation we are building.

What I love most about my job is… “How much it makes me appreciate life! Every day, I am blessed to see a little miracle whether it be as simple as a smile or witnessing someone in their “ah-ha” moment. This job has definitely taught me that there are many different ways to look at something and I cherish the fact that I will learn something new at some point in the day.”

If you have any event or fundraising questions, email Jennifer at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
 

Kaitlyn Siewert, Program Assistant and PATH Registered Instructor

Kaitlyn started volunteering in 1993, became an instructor in 2001 and became our Program Assistant in 2013. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I came here to volunteer originally because I wanted to play with horses. I quickly learned that REINS had more to offer than just our equine friends. The students touched my heart and I discovered that therapeutic riding was not only therapy for the riders, but for the families of students, volunteers and the instructors as well. After several years of working at REINS, I decided that I wanted to make a career out of therapeutic riding.  I set my sights and earned a Bachelors of Science degree at California State University San Marcos in Kinesiology.  I was pleased at how much my education impacted my understanding of what we do here. I have cherished the time I have had here and I am lucky to say that after all these years, I'm still completely in love with my job! As the Program Assistant I think most exciting idea about the growth of REINS is that we will be able to accommodate more individuals that need this type of therapy. While we grow, we are able to become more educated in our field and provide much more efficient, good quality lessons to our students. The best part about REINS growth is that even though we are getting bigger, we are still able to hold on to that “family feel” we have here. Our hearts are what keep us moving forward.

What I love most about my job is… “That after being at REINS for most of my life I still love every minute of my job. It exercises not only my body, mind and soul but also my love for helping others. REINS keeps me alive!”

If you have any horse or program related questions, email Kaitlyn at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
 

Maggie Schuur, Volunteer Coordinator

Maggie started volunteering in 2000 when her family rented the adobe house on our property. She has been our resident 'on call' volunteer ever since. Maggie became our Volunteer Coordinator in January of 2013. Here is why she wanted to get involved...

"I first started volunteering at REINS at age 10 (this was before our insurance mandated an age limit), when I moved to Fallbrook. I was the 'new kid' at school and found REINS as a place to build relationships and make friends. I also took English Riding lessons with Jill at FEC. Little did I know, I would continue to volunteer through high school and then return as an employee after graduating from University of Arizona with a B.S. in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. I am most excited that I get to work closely with both new and veteran volunteers. I am also excited that I will have the opportunity to work with our Speech Therapist and continue my education in my favorite field."

What I love most about my job is..."Knowing that when I come to 'work' each day, I have the chance to have a positive impact on at least one person's life. REINS was a safe haven for me when I was young, so I hope I can help provide that for others."

If you have any questions on volunteering, email Maggie at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
 

Chris Merry, Volunteer Coordinator

Chris started volunteering in 2001 and became the Volunteer Coordinator in 2003. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I wanted to do something useful and fulfilling after the sale of our business. I have a background in Child Development and love horses and the outdoors. It seemed like a good fit-little did I know it would evolve into a job and such an important part of my life. Seeing a program grow shows how important and necessary the service it provides is to the community. Therapeutic riding is becoming more mainstream as a therapy and being able to share its strengths and expose more people to its benefits is an incredible feeling.

What I love most about my job is… “Being involved with all sorts of people and horses in a beneficial and supportive way, being outdoors is the best!”

If you have any volunteer questions, email Chris at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 

 
 

Cynthia Salazar, Administrative Assistant

Cynthia started volunteering in 2007 and became the Administrative Assistant in 2008. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“After getting married and moving to Temecula, I didn’t have friends in the area and was looking for something to do with my time.  My husband’s friends, Jessica and Kaitlyn Swenson, suggested I come volunteer. I love watching REINS grow.  My favorite part of the program has always been the students.  I love the idea that we can expand and have more and more students ride.”

What I love most about my job is… “Watching each student progress.  I love walking in a lesson week after week and seeing the changes firsthand.  The change can be something such as a student learning a new word or another student sitting up on their own for the first time.  Every change is monumental.”

 
 

Canece Curry-Huber, Development Assistant

Canece started volunteering in June of 2011 and became the Development Assistant in December 2011. Here is why she wanted to get involved...

"I had known about REINS for years as part of the Fallbrook Community. With my love of horses I'd always wanted to become involved and finally my schedule allowed me the opportunity to become a volunteer and a part of an amazing organization. I was very fortunate that after six months of volunteering, I was able to join the staff. I am excited that there seems to be no end in sight as to where the REINS therapy program will grow and I feel blessed to be a part of it."

What I love most about my job is..."That REINS is such a happy place to be. Every time I arrive I am greeted by warm, smiling faces, hugs and an incredible group of people that are all there with a common purpose; to provide an incredible service to so many well deserving students."

 
 

Marla Spraker, PATH Registered Instructor

Marla started volunteering in 1998 and became an instructor in 1999. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I donated my horse to another therapeutic riding program and decided I wanted to volunteer. The first day I volunteered at REINS I knew this was where I wanted to be, helping children and adults to ride horses. I saw the benefits and wanted to be a part of it! I think for me it has been the continuing education. REINS has had clinics and sent us to outside seminars. We have also been awarded grants to have an OT and PT evaluating out students so we can teach more effectively. Also, expanding our staff and improving our horse training and care has been a great learning experience.”

What I love most about by job is… “Teaching my students and having a child say a word or grasp a ring for the first time. And of course the smiles and hugs! I love working with the REINS staff. We all have a passion and dedication for what we do, and still have time to laugh at the end of the day.”

 
 

Jessica Swenson, PATH Registered Instructor

Jessica started volunteering in 1993 and became an instructor in 2001. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I moved to Fallbrook and needed to find new friends. I grew up around horses and wanted to be around them and learn more about them. I am excited to be able to offer more people therapy. With so many new instructors, REINS will be able to grow and develop so much. It is an honor to be able to make a difference.”

What I love most about my job is… “I get to be surrounded by such wonderful people. I’ve learned so much from the students and their families. I will forever value each and every lesson I’ve learned. I love REINS!”

 
 

Naomi Putnam, PATH Registered Instructor

Naomi started volunteering in 1997 and became an instructor in 2003. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I first started volunteering at REINS because it seemed like a great way to do something positive and be around horses. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with all the students and soon it became one of my passions and a huge part of my life. Now I can’t imagine working anywhere else. I am excited that we are able to serve more and more clients. I am also excited that the quality of our lessons continue to improve with our added resources and education. However despite our expansion, I know one thing that will never change is the friendly, family atmosphere that we all love about REINS!”

What I love most about my job is… “So many things! I love the amazing staff and positive environment. I love watching new students go from being terrified to not wanting to leave. But most of all I love the huge smiles that come from our students when they accomplish something they never thought they could.”

 
 

Patricia Richardson, PATH Registered Instructor

Pat Richardson, NARHA Registered Instructor

Patricia started volunteering in 2002 and became an instructor in 2003. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“My daughters were volunteers and with just the little exposure I had from signing them up and then picking them up after their afternoon of volunteering, I was hooked! Each year that I have been employed at REINS I have seen it grow and each year it becomes more exciting. REINS’ growth has always been one that truly benefits all involved. Everyone works hard to make sure that all 2 and 4 legged critters are happy! It has always been that way and I know that is how it will continue to be.”

What I love most about my job is… “Driving over that bridge and knowing that my day will be changed once again for the better. There is nothing better than ending a day of work with a smile on my face. I truly feel I have the BEST job in the world for me.”

 
 

Michelle Price, PATH Registered Instructor

Michelle started volunteering in 2005 and became an instructor in 2006. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I love working with people and horses. My background of working with “at-risk youth” sparked an interest with wanting to bring together horses and people with special needs or challenges in a healing and growth filled way. I am excited about so many new and innovative things at REINS. For example: we have been involved with a dressage clinic and different types of trainings to increase the knowledge of our instructors. Also, we have 2 newly certified Advanced Level Instructors on board.”

What I love most about my job is… “Watching the laughter and growth of my students. I like the positive atmosphere and I continue to learn new things everyday from the students and the horses.”

 
 

Lisa Almendarez, PATH Registered Instructor

Lisa started volunteering at REINS in 1994 and became an instructor in 2007. Here is why she got involved...

“I have twin girls who have ridden at REINS since 1994 so I’ve known REINS for many years. Its an amazing program led by the best! I am excited about having a “REINS Summer Camp” in the future where our students can swim and ride! I am also excited about the value of Therapeutic Horsemanship increasing across the nation, so we can reach out to more people.

What I love most about my job is… “The positive impact it has on my life and other people’s lives!”

 
 

Brenda Redfield, PATH Registered Instructor

Brenda started volunteering in 2005 and became an instructor in 2006. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I wanted to help people and I love horses, I have all my life. The combination of the two is amazing. I took one look at REINS and I knew this was where I was supposed to be. I am excited to see REINS be able to reach more people who need this type of program and to education the public on therapeutic riding. I get excited when I see a child hold their reins for the first time and to hear that a child’s first word was “go”.”

What I love most about my job is… “The feeling of home here at REINS. The smiles from our students and their families, and the friendships gained from my co-workers. REINS is a very special place and everyone gets blessed from coming here. I could not imagine working anywhere else. I love my job!”

 
 

Angel Minton, PATH Registered Instructor

Angel started volunteering at REINS in 2007 and became an instructor in 2008. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“This is something I have always wanted to do ever since I was a little girl. On my first morning I was nervous, but as soon as I drove over the bridge I felt a feeling of peace come over me like I knew I was finally where I was meant to be. One of the things that has been really great with the REINS expansion is our new Feed Room!!! It was built by North Coast Church and I don’t know how we ever did without it! I am also excited about all the clinics that REINS has been and will be involved in. We are so happy to share any knowledge that we have and to learn how to better ourselves as therapeutic riding instructors.

What I love most about my job is… “The love and joy that just surrounds us here. You cannot come here and stay in a bad mood!”

 
 

Sandy Leuck, PATH Registered Instructor

Sandy started volunteering in March of 2008 and became an instructor that same year. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I have always loved horses and know how much that they have enriched my life in so many ways. Having the opportunity to help someone else experience all the wonderful benefits horses can bring is a dream come true! I am very excited that the REINS Program is growing so that we can provide the best quality of lessons to as many students as possible.”

What I love most about by job is… “Getting to meet so many people of all ages and seeing the joy and therapeutic benefits that riding a horse can bring.”

 
 

Heather Corcoran, PATH Registered Instructor

Heather started volunteering in 2003 and after a brief hiatus in Hawaii came back as an instructor in 2009. Here is why she wanted to get involved…

“I originally came to REINS as a volunteer back in 2003. I wanted to learn more about the program and its benefits for the disabled. I was really impressed by the friendliness of the staff and the great team of horses. I really enjoyed volunteering and knew I wanted to return. After I got NARHA certified in Hawaii I came back to REINS to become a part of the team. I am very excited to be a part of a growing team with an exciting future of upcoming opportunities for expansion for the program. As I am still new to the team, I am looking forward to getting to know my fellow team members better and also being able to help out and teach more lessons.”

What I love most about my job is… “The great team of people I work with and getting up to go to work and knowing that I have one of the best jobs in the world!”

 
 

Darcie Loescher, PATH Registered Instructor

Darcie started volunteering at REINS in September of 2008 and became an instructor in September of 2010. Here is why she wanted to get involved...

"I love horses and being outdoors and had always wanted to volunteer at a therapeutic facility. After being laid off from my job, I finally had time to fulfill this ambition. I am so excited that REINS is able to serve so many students and that we are able to continue to grow and benefit even more students."

What I love most about my job is..."Being a part of something that helps so many people. Also, spending time with all the wonderful students, staff and horses here at REINS!"

 
 

Carrie Jacobs, Occupational Therapist; M.OTR/L

Carrie started consulting with REINS as our Occupational Therapist in January of 2007.

She is the owner and director of OT OuTdoors, a private occupational therapy practice in San Diego. She is licensed by the California Board of Occupational Therapy and certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy as a Registered Occupational Therapist. She holds a Master of Occupational Therapy degree from the University of Southern Maine and a Bachelor of Arts in Rhetoric and Communication from the University of California at Davis. Carrie specializes in sensory processing treatment for both children and adults and is qualified to administer the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test.

She has Level I and Level II Hippotherapy instructor credentials and utilizes this along with her 20+ years of horsemanship experience to provide OT treatment to clients while mounted on horseback. Carrie also uses her dog, Connick, a therapy and certified assistance dog, during treatment sessions to assist clients with learing fine motor skills, visual motor skills, social skills, sequencing and motor planning.

What I love most about being a REINS Therapist is... "working with all the great kids and fabulous REINS staff!"

 

 
 

Bonnie Haupt, Physical Therapist; MPT

 

Bonnie began consulting with REINS as our Physical Therapist in March of 2009.

She graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in Biology and recieved her Masters in Physical Therapy from Chapman University. She became a therapist because she loves working with people (particularly kids!) and wanted to help her special needs clients reach their full potiential.

She has always been interested in combining therapy and horseback riding. In past years, she worked with the Special Olympics Equestrian Program and more recently revieved her Level 1 Hippotherapy Certification. Therapeutic Horsemanship gives her  the opportuinity to apply physical therapy treatment strategies in an enjoyable, effective way. "I love being a PT and I love being around horses-combining the two is a 'match made in heaven!'", Bonnie says. Her love affair with horses began when she was very young, having started riding as a teenager. Her love and respect for these beautiful creatures continues to grow to this day. The horses are the most important part of our therapy team and Bonnie is so greatful to be able to work with them.

What I love most about being a REINS Therapist is..."the people! I love brainstorming with our wonderful therapeutic riding instructors to come up with the ideas to help the kids become stronger and gain functional skills while they learn to ride the horses! REINS is really something special and I'm so happy to be a part of it!"

 

 

 
 
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