Staff

 

Dita Keith, Executive Director Dita Keith – Executive Director: Dita has been an active and involved member of the Central Oregon community since 1992. Dita graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Journalism and worked in the publishing, real estate and fundraising fields before joining Healing Reins in 2007. She is a PATH International Certified Instructor as well as a PATH International Certified Equine Specialist. Dita grew up in Los Angeles and has been an avid rider since the age of 10. With a passion for all things equine, she showed in the junior hunter/jumper circuit for many years, and as an adult, Dita has shared her passion for horses by serving as a Bend Senior High School Equestrian Drill Team coach and a Deschutes County Sheriff’s Posse member. She is married, has two daughters, three horses, two mules, three dogs and various other farm animals and spends her free time skiing, hiking, gardening and logging trail miles and horse-camping all over the state. Contact Dita at ditak(at)healingreins(dot)org
Polly Cohen, Program Director Polly Cohen – Program Director: Polly began her professional career working with equines and “at-risk” adolescents by serving as the Equestrian Director for J Bar J Youth Services in Bend, Oregon. Her interest in the field of equine-assisted activities and therapies took her to Seattle where she worked as a therapeutic riding instructor for Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center, one of the top PATH centers in the nation. Polly Is a PATH International certified instructor, a PATH International trained Mentor, and is also the PATH Region IX Representative. Polly grew up on the Oregon Coast showing competitively in both English and Western disciplines for more than 15 years, and was the Lincoln County Rodeo Queen. Polly is married, has two sons, and a beautiful young gelding she is raising and training in her spare time. Contact Polly at pollyc(at)healingreins(dot)org
Abby Rowland, Development Director Abby Rowland – Development Director: A native of San Luis Obispo, CA, Abby grew up riding horses (and pigs) on her family’s small farm. Understanding, firsthand, the remarkable bond that can happen with horses, Abby joins us as Development Director with over eleven years of experience in nonprofit administration. Her experience includes grants management, program development and all aspects of fundraising. She most recently served as the Director of Development for South Carolina Coastal Conservation League (the League) where she grew a major gifts and endowment program. Prior to the League, she worked at Loma Linda University Health/Children’s Hospital as a Major Gifts Officer across a system that is donor-driven and relationship-based, securing capitol campaign funds by bridging funding programs between the Children’s Hospital and University. After getting her earliest fundraising start as a grant writer is Southern California, Abby took on a role overseeing all fundraising opportunities to support programs for underprivileged youth at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon as Director of Development. Abby holds a B.A. in English Literature from California State University Long Beach. She is thrilled to call Central Oregon home with her husband, daughter, horse, two dogs and fish. Contact Abby at abbyr(at)healingreins(dot)org
Kathryn Smeeth Massey, Lead Instructor Kathryn Smeeth Massey – Lead Therapeutic Riding Instructor: Kathryn has had a lifelong passion for horses. She grew up in Northern Ontario, Canada, where she began riding at age 10. After a brief time riding Western, she switched to a barn that focused on dressage and jumping where she found her true passion in riding. She continued her education in horses in Arizona, where her family moved when she was 16. Kathryn has worked in the horse world since her late teens starting at the bottom as a stable hand. She worked her way up and has since spent time teaching private riding lessons to students aged five to 70, working as the Barn Manager and Riding Program Director at a college preparatory boarding school, and starting and training young horses. She moved to Bend in 2008 and started out volunteering at Healing Reins before becoming a PATH International Certified Registered Instructor there in 2009. She is also certified as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and as a PATH International Mentor. Kathryn enjoys being able to share the joy of horses with others. Contact Kathryn at kathryns(at)healingreins(dot)org
Cindy Cronin, Riding and Carriage Driving Instructor Cindy Cronin – Therapeutic Riding and Carriage Driving Instructor: Cindy fell in love with horses at eight years old and has been a professional trainer for 35 years, specializing in starting young horses for the hunter jumper, dressage and driving disciplines. Cindy graduated from the University of San Diego with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Animal Anatomy and Illustration. She has been a PATH certified riding instructor since 2011 and a PATH certified driving instructor and Equine Specialist since 2014. Cindy lends her creativity and boundless enthusiasm to Healing Reins by serving as our creative lesson planning and arena set-up guru. In her free time, she enjoys sport fishing for sail fish, Dorado and rooster fish with her husband and riding her horses. Contact Cindy at cindyc(at)healingreins(dot)org.
Emily Van Orman - Therapeutic Riding Instructor Emily Van Orman, Instructor: Emily was born and raised in Oregon. She started riding at the age of five, began competing at nine, and got her first horse for her 15th birthday. She was involved in 4H and OHSET, where she enjoyed helping the kids learn how to work with horses. Emily graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. She volunteered at Healing Reins for a year before becoming an Instructor-in-Training, and began instructing classes of her own in the summer of 2015. She has since become a PATH-certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning and is beyond excited to be part of the Healing Reins staff, with the opportunity to combine her passion for horses and working with people. In Emily’s free time she likes to ride her horse, hike around central Oregon and is learning to swing dance! Contact Emily at emilyv(at)healingreins(dot)org
Linda Rhine, Volunteer Coordinator Linda Rhine – Volunteer Coordinator: Linda’s background is education and working with volunteers. She spent 17 years at the Los Angeles Zoo and came to Central Oregon to work with the High Desert Museum and as the STEM Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington. In addition to being the Volunteer Coordinator at Healing Reins, Linda currently works as an online adjunct instructor for Southern Oregon University. Linda has a Bachelors in History, Masters in Education, and all but her dissertation in Education for her PhD. Linda has been in Central Oregon for seven years. She has one daughter, two sons, two dogs and a cat. She loves to kayak and get her feet into lakes, streams, creeks, and the ocean no matter how cold. Contact Linda at lindar(at)healingreins(dot)org
Jenny Chesley, Instructor Jenny Chesley – Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Part Time: Jenny is a PATH International Certified Advanced Instructor and an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning (ESMHL). She began volunteering at therapeutic riding centers more than 20 years ago. Through the years Jenny has volunteered and taught at centers in Washington, Montana and here in Oregon. During college Jenny worked as a wrangler for two summers in Yellowstone National Park and then spent 10 years working in the accounting industry. She received her PATH certification at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Center in Connecticut in 2005. She is married and loves spending time with her two young daughters. Jenny has been an instructor at Healing Reins since 2006 and is delighted to be back in Bend. Contact Jenny at jennyc(at)healingreins(dot)org
Dani Nichols, Instructor Dani Nichols – Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Part Time: Dani is a lifelong cowgirl with a passion for horses and the outdoors. She became a PATH International certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor in 2010, and worked at a PATH-accredited center in Oceanside, California for four years before moving to Bend. Dani enjoys teaching at Healing Reins and earned her Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning certification in 2015. Dani grew up on a cattle ranch in Klamath County, Oregon and worked for four years as a wrangler for a horse camp and ranch in The Dalles, Oregon. She has a Bachelor’s degree in journalism and when she’s not teaching at Healing Reins, she works as a writer and editor. Dani loves cooking, outdoor adventures and spending time with her husband and young daughter. Contact Dani at danin(at)healingreins(dot)org