Joy O’Neal is The Red Barn’s Executive Director. Joy earned her Master’s in Public Administration in 2010 from UAB. She is a CHA certified instructor, certified through Greg Kersten’s OK Corral Series to provide equine assisted family counseling and teambuilding, and trained in Natural Lifemanship She is a registered Pet Partner with our horses Abby, Flame, and Lena, member of the Association of Professional Humane Educators, and certified consultant through the Standards for Excellence for Nonprofits. But, mainly it is her many years of experience as a “barn mom” that are being put to good use.
Shannon Horsley is our Office Manager. Shannon is new to working around horses, but has worked for many years at other nonprofits. She became acquainted with the barn when her 8-year-old son, Gabriel, began taking lessons. Shannon saw the immediate, drastic change in her son’s self-esteem and became sold on the benefits of horseback riding for children! She is excited to meet all of the wonderful supporters who make The Red Barn’s programs possible. Shannon graduated from UAB with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice and is one of the first individuals in Alabama to become a Certified Volunteer Administrator. She lives in St. Clair County with her husband and two young children.
Grace Butler is The Red Barn’s Program Coordinator. Grace has been an office manager and preschool teacher for the past seven years. She has also worked extensively in her church’s ministries. Grace keeps the weekly riding schedule organized for both students and volunteers. Her family moved frequently growing up, so she knows what it feels like to be the new kid. Grace has a unique ability to make new students and volunteers feel welcome at the barn. She has been married to her husband Kyle for 11 years and they have two daughters, Selah and Rylee.
Katherine Mazzara is our Administrative Assistant. Katherine graduated in 2011 from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Public Administration at UAB. While new to working around horses, she has experience working with children and families. Katherine works in the office at The Red Barn and assists with administrative tasks. She is excited to learn more about non-profit management and the day to day operations of an agency like The Red Barn.
Danielle Burroughs graduated from William Woods College in 1997 with a degree in Equestrian Science. Danielle grew up in Maine, but after moving to Alabama in 1998 to be a riding instructor she’s never wanted to leave the South! She makes sure that our horses are well trained and have the very best of care. Danielle also teaches riding lessons and is a PATH International registered level instructor. She specializes in American Saddlebreds and Arabians, but is able to give riders of any discipline a firm foundation in horsemanship. She is especially famous for her “leg lessons” that give riders the strength to sit any twirl, buck, or spook.
Tom Marriott is our Stall and Pasture Manager. Tom has spent his whole life loving and working with horses. He also owns his own horse now, Cody. Tom worked for Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch for 2 years and started at The Red Barn in October 2012. Tom keeps the stalls and water buckets clean, makes sure our horses are happy and healthy, and generally keeps the barn looking wonderful! If you see Tom around the barn, make sure to tell him Thank You, because we could not do it without him.
Hannah Layne is a junior at the University of Alabama at Birmingham studying nursing. Hannah grew up riding English and has owned her own horse, an Arabian named Ben, for seven years. She started as a volunteer with The Red Barn when we only had two horses and saw a dozen kids a week! After volunteering with us for years, Hannah joined our staff in the Fall of 2013. Hannah is a CCHI certified riding instructor and loves sharing the peace the barn can bring with others.
Alison Pewitt is a PATH International registered level instructor, an equine specialist in Equine Facilitated Mental Health and Learning, and trained in Natural Lifemanship. She is also a CHA certified instructor and has CHA Instructor of Riders with Disabilities certification. Alison and our mini-horse JJ are registered with Pet Partners. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a degree in Psychology and Human Development. Since the age of 14 Alison has worked in any barn that would let her to earn riding lessons and she has experience in multiple riding disciplines. From 2006 to 2011 Alison completed various equestrian internships, including horse training and teaching.
Alexis Braswell recently graduated from Birmingham-Southern College majoring in religion, with a psychology minor. She has ridden and shown American Saddlebred horses for fifteen years, winning numerous state, regional, and national titles. In 2012 she was named volunteer of the year by The Bunting Center for Engaged Study and Community Action for her work with Urban Kids. She loves volunteering at The Red Barn to share her passion for horses with horse-crazy children.
Rachel Betz is a United States Pony Club Certified “A”, qualifying her as an experienced rider and instructor in Eventing. Eventing consists of dressage, cross country jumping, and stadium jumping. She graduated from Auburn University with a B.S. in Pre-veterinary Medicine and a M.Ed. in Secondary Science Education. While at Auburn, Rachel rode on the Varsity Equestrian Team competing for the huntseat, dressage, and western horsemanship teams. Rachel has been riding for over 20 years and loves to see a student’s face when they realize they have accomplished something they thought they would never do.
Shelley Jones is a speech pathologist, private school principal, and holds a certification as an autism specialist by the Alabama State Department of Education. She has been involved in animal assisted therapy for almost twenty years, and especially loves working with horses. She is a PATH registered level instructor, and is also a CHA certified instructor for both typically developing and individuals with disabilities. Shelley has also been a Special Olympics Equestrian Coach. Along with Alison and Hannah, she is a registered Pet Partner with our mini-horse JJ. She currently teaches our specialty lessons program Read & Ride where children with reading difficulties use the Orton Gillingham method to improve their skills….all while working with a horse!
Paula Brown has always loved horses, and has spent much of her adult life working with children and children with special needs. Add to that her compassionate and organized nature, and you have the perfect person to teach lessons here at The Red Barn! Paula is a CHA certified instructor. She lives in McCalla with her husband of 25 years and their teenage daughter.
Hannah Ferrill grew up loving horses but wasn’t able to be around them very much. She first began coming to The Red Barn as a volunteer, but has since earned her PATH instructor certification, as well as CHA Instructors of Riders with Disabilities certification. Additionally, she is a registered Pet Partner with our mini-horse JJ. Growing up in a large family has given her a love for children big and small and, combined with her love of horses, makes working at the barn a dream come true.
Matt Bunt is a PATH International (formerly NARHA) registered level instructor. He has over five years experience teaching lessons to people of all ages with a variety of disabilities. He has also completed training in Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and has facilitated groups for adolescents and families. He holds a Master in Counselor Education with a focus on Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Montevallo and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.
Mandy Trolard is a CHA certified riding instructor who has been loving, riding, and working with horses for over 25 years. She has worked as a stable hand, groom, and exercise rider to gain knowledge of horses and riding, which she began sharing with beginner riders as an instructor in Los Angeles, CA in 2005. She has a 5 year old son who began riding in The Red Barn’s Saddle Up program in 2012. She has watched her own son gain self-esteem, confidence, and coordination through riding and believes that being around the horses and the barn atmosphere bring him a sense of peace and belonging that help him in all aspects of his daily life. As a riding instructor, Mandy hopes to help other children to achieve the benefits she has seen in her own child.
Tammy Duley is a PATH and CCHI certified riding instructor who also shows American Saddlebreds. She has a AA degree in Veterinary Technology and worked as an equine veterinary technician at Coosa Valley Equine Center from 2006 to 2013. Tammy is excited to share her knowledge of horses and the magic that can happen in a barn with the students, parents, and volunteers at The Red Barn. Tammy is originally from Owings, Maryland and has been married to her husband Shawn for 25. They live in Ashville with their two daughters.
Barratt Rudulph graduated from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington with a Geology major and a Biology minor. She began riding American Saddlebreds in 3rd grade, and showed horses until she left for college. Her greatest interests are studying science, traveling, exploring the outdoors and working with animals. She recently returned from Iceland where she was studying geology and working as a tour guide and caretaker for Dogsledding Iceland. Currently, she is enjoying being back home with friends, family and horses and she is working to save money in order to continue exploring. Barratt loves working at The Red Barn and feels very grateful to be a part of something so special.
Courtney Rubens has always had a passion for horses. She has 5 younger siblings, with the closest to her age-wise 7 years younger, so she has always been in the position of looking out and caring for younger kids. Courtney now has two children of her own, one of which has been diagnosed with autism. She has been actively involved with equine assisted therapy for two years and has seen the amazing effect horses have on people regardless of age or life circumstances. Courtney feels very blessed to be in a position where she can bring her love of horses and children together in a way that has such a positive impact on others.
Wyspr Black has been horse crazy since she was eight years old, and she competed in Eventing through college with her horse Daddy’s Last Chance. Wysper graduated from Auburn with an undergraduate degree in Vocational Rehabilitation and a Master’s in Rehabilitation Counseling and Vocational Education. She has worked with various disability populations, but has a special interest in traumatic brain injury. Her love of horses and rehabilitation counseling came together recently when she became certified as a CHA Instructor of Riders with Disabilities. She and her husband love running, sushi, attending church, and playing with their son.
Dan Gilliland spent 20 years with Alabama Easter Seals serving as the program director and head of environmental education at Alabama’s Special Camp for Children and Adults (Camp ASCCA). Dan has over 30 years experience trail riding and is also a champion whistler! His love of horses and special people make him a wonderful addition to The Red Barn family.
Connor Samples has known the O’Neal family since kindergarten! He volunteered at Spirit of Hope Youth Ranch beginning in 2007 and began volunteering at The Red Barn in 2012. Connor has always been a great summer volunteer, but since his recent graduation from Furman University he has been able to join us as an intern! Connor has a true heart for our children, and loves to spending time with all the kids.
Jordan Reynolds grew up always wanting to own her own horse. When she began volunteering with The Red Barn in the winter of 2013, she says a “bell” went off in her head and she knew she was in the right place. She loves the chance to combine her love of horses with her heart for special needs. Jordan hopes to work towards getting her special education degree. We are so glad she was able to join us as an intern this summer!
Aubrie Grimes is a rising junior at Belmont University majoring in French. Aubri has been riding English since middle school, and has even taken occasional lessons at The Red Barn in the past. She learned about The Red Barn through a friend and wanted to do a summer internship with us so that she could broaden her life experiences and get out of her comfort zone. Aubri is looking forward to learning more about working with special needs children and equine therapy.
Kali Thompson is returning to The Red Barn for her second summer internship, and we’re thrilled that she decided to come back! Kali is originally from Macomb, Illinois. She currently attends The University of South Alabama where she is a psychology major.
All property maintenance is provided free of charge by the landlord Little Cahaba Properties.
“Uncle Jerry” Phillips keeps the barn safe and maintained. He is the quintessential “grand-daddy” and loves seeing the smiles and listening to the laughter of the children that are enjoying themselves at the barn. The twinkle in his eye and his soft-spoken ways make everyone’s day brighter.
Debbie Prewitt helps us do all manner of things at the barn! She keeps the lawns and arenas looking spiffy and makes countless runs to the store for project materials. Debbie has been married to her husband Carl for 38 years, has one daughter named Mandy, and has two precious grandchildren. She loves working outside, running the coffee shop at her church and spending time at The Red Barn.