Ali is a constant at the barn. Although her 'day job' is being the trainer for our Moonshadow Ranch riders, she is our resident expert in all horse related questions. She assists the program by evaluating and finding therapy horses, answering horse related questions, or schooling our horses when they need it. Ali Ahrend has spent most of her life as an equestrian and has experienced so many different teaching styles, horses, and riders she has come to understand what works and what doesn’t.
Visit Ali at her website http://www.equusinternationalstables.com/
Carly has been riding her whole life and owns her own horse, Max. However, she enjoys coming out to Special Spirit to help out as a sidewalker, as well as exercise the therapeutic horses.
Dakota has been in love with horses from early childhood. After 10 lessons at the TES at Griffith Park, she continued to take lessons at Chatsworth’s Ride On Therapeutic Riding Center, and spent a few years with the California Rangers drill team, where she adapted to riding and competing with many different rental horses. Her dream of jumping horses finally became real when her family moved to Shadow Hills and she started taking jumping lessons on her little Arab mare. She currently helps by exercising and schooling the program’s horses, and assists with both therapeutic and able-bodied beginner lessons.
Dr. Jeffrey Chavis comes from a family of horse people. He grew up in Pennsylvania on a farm with his grandfather foxhunting, and his dad playing polo. His mom and sister went into breeding, training and competing, continuing a passion for horses in the family. Jeff became a licensed chiropractor, and while treating human patients also trained in chiropractic for animals. Although he continues his human chiropractic clinic, he also follows his passion of working with horses. He now assists Special Spirit by providing chiropractic care for therapeutic horses and volunteers, driving trucks/horse trailers, and helping with the ranch and horses as needed. Please visit Jeff at www.horseandridercare.com.
Social Media Marketing
Julia Chavis joined the Special Spirit team in the spring of 2011, handling Communications and Social Media Marketing. She currently works in Communications and Social Media Marketing for a private benefits broker and is also a student working on her BA in Communications and Psychology. With her family heavily involved at Special Spirit, her experience and skills, we were happy to have her join our team!
You can reach Julia via email at email@example.com.
Molly can often be seen as a side-walker for any of Special Spirit's riders, but she also helps exercise the therapeutic horses. Molly has been riding ever since she was a child and knows her way around the ranch. She can also be found at the ranch throughout the week. In 2009 Molly took 4th place at Rose Bowl Riders dressage schooling show on Nickel.
Branding / Designer
Janice Grimes is the mother of Millie Grimes, soon to be veterinarian and owner of Nikko the horse. Janice helps beautify the stables by planting cactuses and succulents, creating potted plant arrangements. She has also volunteered her time and talents designing brochures, postcards, business cards and flyers for Special Spirit and Moonshadow Ranch. Janice is a freelance graphic designer, painter, and writer. You can contact Janice via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sue Holland lives on Moonshadow Ranch, the home of Special Spirit. She owns and loves Calvin, a beautiful Haflinger gelding, who helps out with Special Spirit work from time to time. Calvin has been to the past two Kiwanis Special Olympic Horse shows with Sue, where he loves to help our Special Spirit riders win blue ribbons.
Calvin and Sue ride on local trails and arenas, travel to trail trials, hunter competitions, obstacle courses, and even do mounted patrol rides in the Hansen Dam area. Aside from providing Calvin, a very diverse horse to our program, Sue is a volunteer at all our fund raising events.
Lena was born and raised in Sweden and came to the U.S during the 1980s. She has worked as a model and stylist, and is just as comfortable in front of, as well as behind, the camera lens. Lena has spent most of her adult life involved with charity causes and promoting health. Lena joined Special Spirit in 2009 and was instrumental in making the fundraiser a huge success. Apart from acquiring sponsors for Special Spirit, she also participates as a volunteer working directly with the children.
Sam owns one of our therapy horses, Murphy. As one of our Moonshadow Ranch Riders, Sam is a constant at the ranch. She assists with anything needed ranging from grooming, caring for, and exercising the program's horses to side walking during lessons.
Coming soon. . .
Jung Min "James" Park first came to Special Spirit in the fall of 2009 for a College English assignment that required community service. However, after completing his assignment, he found that he had become enamored of the mission, the people, the environment, and the animals of Special Spirit. Now, James comes to Moonshadow Ranch to volunteer once or twice a week, and helps the program by assisting the instructors in providing lessons and taking care of the animals.
Jane has been our 'Musical Director' for the Special Spirit Annual fundraiser for the third year now. She brings over 20 years diverse experience in the music industry, working in different aspects of management, specializing in recording studio management, marketing and record production. Jane has also been working as a consultant with Rock Nation School and the Paul Green School Of Rock in Los Angeles. She has been a member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for 12 years, and has been on the Business Advisory Board for the Young Musicians Foundation, based in Beverly Hills, for the last nine years.
Sabrina grew up in Sherman Oaks in a Swedish/Danish household. Her love for horses started at the age of six. Weekly lessons and frequent trips to her aunt’s ranch in Oregon fueled her passion for riding. As a junior at The Buckley School in Sherman Oaks, she was introduced to Eva Lund through the tightly knit Swedish community. After talking with Eva and hearing of her therapeutic riding program, Special Spirit Inc., Sabrina was eager to volunteer. She participated in the planning of the organization’s second fundraiser. In addition, Sabrina works weekly hours with the children and volunteered at the 2009 Kiwani’s Special Olympics. Eva and her program have inspired Sabrina to pursue her passion for horses and occupational therapy in college.
Nicole is originally from Germany, and boards her Hanoverian Percheron Thoroughbred gelding Romeo at the ranch. She works with Public Relations and assists in spreading the word about Special Spirit to a broader audience, so that more people can benefit from therapeutic riding.