Our Team

Mountain Valley Horse Rescue relies on a small staff with the support and direction of a passionate Board of Directors in order to further its mission. 

 
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SHANA DEVINS

Executive Director

Shana took her first horseback riding lesson in second grade. She began leasing her first horse in seventh grade, and showing at small local shows. As her interest grew, her parents purchased her first horse when she was a freshman in high school, a green broke 5 year old American Holsteiner. They grew and learned together, showing dressage extensively throughout the Midwest until Shana lost her to colic during senior year of college. The devastation of losing her became the catalyst for her move to Colorado.

Shana was lucky enough to meet a wonderful horse mentor here, Willard Forman, who helped her re-find horses, and get to know them in a more Western setting - trail riding, pack trips, and even horse drawn sleigh rides. Thanks to Willard, Shana soon found herself part owner of Indian Summer Outfitters at Bearcat Stables, offering daily trail rides, Vail to Aspen horseback rides, hunt camps, and horse drawn wagon, carriage, and sleigh rides. Dozens of horses and hundreds of miles on trails helped heal her heart and find a way forward.

After marrying fellow horse and mountain lover Mike Devins in 2005, and welcoming their first child Grady in 2006, Shana sold her half of Indian Summer Outfitters and spent the next four years helping friends develop horseback riding and other recreation on their ranch in Garfield County. In 2010, now with Grady and 2 year old Leila, she scaled back, keeping just a small herd of ten horses and basing a small outfitting business out of her home while focusing on being Mom.

It was during this time that Shana started fostering horses for MVHR and offering  rides as MVHR fundraisers. In 2011, she joined MVHR officially and has been thrilled to be a part of the organization’s growth. Horses have meant so much to Shana throughout her life, and it is meaningful everyday to help them in return. With little Zoe now rounding out her family, any time Shana doesn't spend with horses is spent supporting the kids or working around the ranch!

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AMY BEN-HORIN

Director of Community Programs

Amy joined the MVHR team earlier in 2017, to help elevate our education programs and opportunities while building advocacy around why our rescue is important, and how our horses and the community can benefit one another.

Amy holds a Master’s degree in Education, with a focus on Environmental and Adventure Education, and has worked with preschool-aged children through college, helping foster relationships between parent and child, and horse and child.

This fall, Amy launched MVHR’s Mini Horse Heroes program, and will continue this program in the spring with 3 to 5 year-olds. Mini Horse Hero students help out around the ranch, while also learning language arts, math, social studies and PE/movement skills. They’ll learn to write and recognize horse names and symbols, sort brushes and groom, and walk the horses. The sessions are all part of a curriculum based on Colorado Department of Education standards and kindergarten readiness, and parents and students both love the interaction with our horses!

Other programs Amy has launched and will continue to host this spring include service and educational days with several schools and homeschoolers throughout the region, Rescue Club (High school students meet once a month at MVHR and are responsible for creating an advocacy project to raise awareness or funds about the rescue) and Horse Heroes (programs that create connections between students and horses, with a focus on perseverance, communications and other related skills).

Amy is thrilled to continue building MVHR’s education offerings in the spring, along with a variety of summer programs that will pick back up in 2018, and encourages parents, teachers and other educators to contact her directly to learn more.

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COOKIE MURPHY-PETTEE

Vice President

In 2013, Cookie moved to Gypsum from her home state of California (mostly the Bay Area), to live nearer to her daughter.  During her career in local government service, Cookie served on the board of the International Association of Facilitators, started her continuing joy of creative non-fiction writing and, after retiring, studied Feldenkrais somatic education, and consulted in strategic planning and organizational improvement. 

As part of her move to Colorado, Cookie made the explicit commitment to be directly involved in animal welfare – always a passion.  Her daughter (now owner of MVHR adoptee, Buffalo; and her son-in-law owns another, Indie) introduced Cookie to Shana at an MVHR event.  Cookie started volunteering right away and joined the Board in 2015; hoping that her organizational, budget, facilitation and administrative skills would be helpful resources, as she learns more each day about MVHR’s equine charges and their needs.

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LARRY CAVANAUGH

Board President

Larry has been in the Vail Valley since 1997 when he moved from Pittsburgh, PA. He is a Senior Vice President at Citywide Banks.

His extensive banking and financial background serve him well as the current President of the MVHR board providing insight from a financial perspective. Larry also feels his 25 years of experience in the hardware business prior to banking allows him to better serve the organization from a facilities management perspective.

Larry joins the other board members with the same level of excitement and enthusiasm about the direction of MVHR’s mission. Larry lives in Edwards with his wife Janet. They have five children, the youngest of whom is a senior at CSU. His hobbies include hiking, skiing, hunting and fishing.


 

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NANCY Lindbloom

Secretary

Following her retirement from teaching for over 30 years at Battle Mountain High School, Nancy's lifelong love of horses brought her to MVHR.  As a volunteer she has been able to continue to do what she loves--working with school-aged kids--by helping with the many school programs and summer camps held at the Rescue.  And adding horses to the mix, really is the perfect combination.  Getting in her weekly dose of horse time while completing her chore shift in the serene beauty of the ranch is one of the highlights of her week.  The remainder of her time is spent with her husband, Carl, their two kids, and three grandchildren.  (Granddaughter Annie has already fallen in love with Racey and Roman.)  Nancy is honored to be part of the MVHR Board and looks forward to working with the amazing people who lead the Rescue in helping to find loving, forever homes for the many horses in need.

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MARLEen HOPKINS

Treasurer

Marleen was born and raised in The Netherlands before moving to Colorado in 2008 to be with her husband. They live in Edwards with their daughter Penelope and Corgi mix, Jax.

Riding horses at an early age at the local horseback riding school, Marleen got the horse virus and it never went away. Coming to MVHR on a cold December evening to check out a horse that was up for adoption resulted in continuing to volunteer, becoming a board member and eventually adopting Grace, who still resides at MVHR. Most recently a Palomino Pony, Sassy came to the rescue and early childhood memories came back resulting in Marleen & her family adopting Sassy, so that Penelope can learn to ride on a Palomino Pony as well. Besides that Sassy is really awesome!

A treasurer of Mountain Valley Horse Rescue, Marleen keeps us in line financially and makes sure the bills are paid!

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LESLIE ROBERTSON

Board Member

Leslie moved to the Vail Valley in the fall of 1995, fresh from the University of Kansas. After volunteering and serving on the board of Vail Mountain Rescue Group (search and rescue) for many years, Leslie was looking for another volunteer opportunity that aligned with her love of animals. Leslie attended a volunteer orientation in December 2014 and started helping with chores after that. In the spring of 2014, she learned how to feed and has had a regular feeding shift ever since.

Not having much prior experience with horses, other than the occasional trail ride, Leslie has enjoyed learning about their care and big, beautiful spirits. She has had wonderful guidance at MVHR and always tries to take advantage of workshops and training opportunities that are offered. Being passionate about animal welfare, she joined the board in 2018 and hopes to contribute in an even bigger way to the mission of MVHR. 

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KATHRYN MIDDLETON

Board Member

Kathryn moved to the Vail Valley in 1984.  As a ski bum, she has worked in retail, and owned a few retail businesses over the years to allow for a flexible ski schedule.  She spent many winters in the late 80s and early 90s in Austria skiing the Alps as well. 

At this time in her life, she was looking for an opportunity to give back to the community and help horses in need.  Horses were also a passion for Kathryn growing up, so she is excited to be a part of the MVHR board to help the horses and contribute to fulfilling MVHR's mission. 

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JOEL AGUILAR

MVHR’s onsite caretaker and one of our horse trainers! Joel grew up in Eagle, Colorado and always wanted a horse. He finally got his first horse at the age of 18 while at college in Grand Junction. Soon after, he started buying unwanted horses at auctions, letting them each teach him something different about horsemanship before finding them new homes. Joel moved back to Eagle after college, found MVHR and started volunteering while he rode for dude ranches, working ranches, and outfitters. He now has his own own horse training business, JJ Natural Horsemanship, and is also keeping a caring eye on all the critters at MVHR, his natural abilities and extensive experience with horses are invaluable assets with the many different horses here at the ranch!