We wouldn't be where we are without the sacrifice and dedication of our staff who ensure that all events at Heroes are conducted safely and efficiently.
ROBERT "Bob" Lee
Robert Lee (Bob) is in his tenth year as executive director for Heroes on Horseback, after retiring from a career that included commercial banking and manufacturing. Over the last decade, Heroes on Horseback has experienced a tripling in the number of special needs individuals served, while reducing expenses by nearly 25%. Bob credits this growth to the creation of new programming, an increase in volunteer resources, and the implementation of collaborative partnerships with strategically placed organizations in our community.
In addition to his role with Heroes on Horseback, Bob serves as treasurer for the board of directors for the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance, advisory board member for Area 8 Special Olympics, and chairman of the board of trustees for the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. Bob is also an adjunct professor at Georgia Southern University, where he teaches entrepreneurship.
PATH certified instructor
Laura Kinsey joined Heroes On Horseback in 2007 as Equestrian Director and, soon after, became one of their PATH Certified Riding Instructors. Since then, she has also taken on the position of Program Director for the organization. Laura has coached three Heroes On Horseback athletes in two Special Olympics World Equestrian Games. Her equine education and experience include a United States Pony Club member, instructor, District Commissioner, and horse management judge, as well as, several jobs working as a large and small animal veterinary technician. In her spare time, she volunteers as a cross country fence judge for The Kentucky Three Day Event and the World Equestrian Games.
PATH Certified Instructors
Jessica began volunteering with Heroes on Horseback during its first full session and became a PATH Certified Riding Instructor in 2009. She has served as a National Guard medic, a newspaper editor, a traffic court clerk and a paralegal. She is now a community and economic development specialist with Lowcountry Council of Governments and lives in Ridgeland with husband Dave and one spoiled dog. As the lead instructor on Saturdays, she focuses her time on private students, helping create an environment where they and their families feel at home and maximum progress can be made.
Star joined Heroes sixteen years ago after a chance encounter with a purple-clad lady (Maxine). While living in Savannah, GA and volunteering for Pegasus Riding Academy in 2014, she earned her PATH Riding Instructor certification. After moving back to South Carolina, Star decided to join forces once again with Heroes on Horseback and now shares her teaching skills with our Saturday classes.
The one and only, biggest lover of purple, Maxine can easily be identified in a crowd! She joined Heroes on Horseback in 2001, and her love for horses and working with children led her to attain her PATH Riding Instructor certification in 2003. Currently, Maxine is our instructor most dedicated to the Silver Saddles program. Maxine is an artist and enjoys applying her artistic talents to her lessons in order to make them both fun and educative.
Annegret moved to the United States in 1977 from East Germany where she had grown up around horses on her family’s farm and was a school teacher. She and her husband Stephan called California “home” until 2004 when they moved to Bluffton. A friend introduced Annegret to Heroes, and she became a volunteer horse leader in 2006. She enjoyed “getting back to her roots” and renewing her horsemanship skills. Seeing the smiles of the children and watching their progress deepened her passion for our program and inspired her to become a PATH Certified Riding Instructor in 2013.
Kate’s journey with Heroes on Horseback began almost 10 years ago as a volunteer horse leader. It was not long before she wanted to do more and began the formidable process of becoming a certified instructor through PATH International. Kate achieved her PATH Riding Instructor certification in 2013 and enthusiastically took on all of the teaching responsibilities, including planning, scheduling, documentation, and arena setups. She views our work as “a labor of love” and receives tremendous gratification from seeing the excitement of the students coming off the school bus or from hearing a rider shout out, "I did it" with such a sense of pride and self accomplishment. When the program is between school sessions, Kate really enjoys a long trail ride or exercising the horses as a way to experience a little equine therapy of her own.
Marketing and Advertisement
Originally from Puerto Rico, she has been in the South for the past 8yrs and has spent 3 of those years volunteering at Heroes. Her love for the program helped spark the fire to go and get certified as an instructor. She has been riding horses in jumping for the past 25 years, competing in places such as Canada, Panama and Dominican Republic. Gloria also brings her marketing expertise to Heroes, helping rebrand and give new life to the organization.
Horsemanship Trainer / Horse Leader instructor
Bob is our resident horse whisperer. His mastery of Natural Horsemanship techniques and unlimited patience make him invaluable to our Unmounted Equine Assisted program, our Veterans program, and the training of our therapy horses. Bob's expertise has extended to our volunteer training, as he oversees horse leader training to make sure there is consistency with the methods used by all volunteers when interacting with the horses.
It was 2007 and Nancy was in need of an outlet for some restless energy and wanting a bit of spiritual balm. She soon found both by volunteering as a sidewalker at Heroes on Horseback. Nancy had little-to-no experience with horses, but plenty of contact with children with certain disabilities, as her family includes three nieces who have Down Syndrome and multiple other disorders. When she offered to help out with some of the HOH office paperwork, she had no idea what that would entail. Nancy has since served as the Volunteer Coordinator and also served as a Board Member, but her favorite times are the ones she spends helping with the classes, sharing the experience with other volunteers, and feeling like she's found her heart’s home.
Janet began volunteering at Heroes on Horseback five years ago after moving to Hilton Head from Boston. She brings a background of teaching special needs children, specifically those with hearing, speech, and language impairments. Janet is our chief paper pusher who keeps all the participant files up to date and the office running smoothly. Her love of horses began at a young age as a horse owner, 4-H member, and volunteer at a therapeutic riding program in Virginia.
BOARD of directors
Karen Norwood, President
Nancy MacKenzie, Secretary -Treasurer
George Cobb, Board Member
Carol DeVilbiss, Board Member
Robert Lee, Executive Director