In 1999, Hope for Horses was established and is a 501(c)3 non-profit. Hope for Horses primary goal is to find quality homes for the many unwanted, neglected and abused horses in our area. We also provide sanctuary for equines that cannot be adopted due to health, behavioral, or other reasons. Additionally, Hope for Horses is committed to helping responsible horse owners keep and care for their horses.
Current Board Members
Whitney Wright - Founder
Ann Stuart, DVM - President
Nancy Kay, DVM - Treasurer
Caren Harris - Secretary
Nancy Kay, DVM
I am an author, a retired veterinarian, and the mother of three millennials and will soon become a grandma. In addition to writing and animals, my passions are horseback riding and gardening. I first joined the board shortly after moving to Hendersonville in 2010 and am happy to be serving again. I chose to be on the board because I use the forest pretty much daily for hiking and horseback riding. It is such a jewel in our community and I am eager to help preserve its beauty and wonder in any way I can.
I was born and raised in Asheville, attended Mary Baldwin College and graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill and went on to law school at Mercer in Macon, Georgia. My husband, Jim, and I have been practicing law in Waynesville for the past 30 years. We raised three children at our small farm in Waynesville. I have been riding and a horse owner since I was a youngster. I was an avid pony clubber, and so was my daughter. I still own two horses and continue to ride as often as I can. I have competed in Eventing and love trail riding. I joined the Board several years ago because of my love for horses and to support this organization that strives to alleviate their suffering in whatever form.
I grew up in NJ. My husband and I moved to Asheville in 2015 for a lifestyle change. We love living in the mountains with our 2 horses, pony, and dog. We have 2 adult children and 3 wonderful little grandsons. I have loved horses for as long as I can remember. As a junior and young adult, I showed hunters and equitation in the northeast. As an older adult, I enjoy trail riding and hunter paces. My favorite equestrian sport is combined driving, which I enjoy as a spectator. My passion for horses helped me to quickly make friends in WNC and introduced me to Hope For Horses. I joined the board in 2017 after volunteering at several events and seeing the positive impact HFH has on at-risk horses in our community.
Current Staff Members
Gina Zachary-Doan - Executive Director
Kathleen Kelley - Barnardsville Farm Manager
Jennifer Troeger - Volunteer Coordinator
Heidi Gobel - Horse Match Coordinator
Lauren Lukert - Caretaker New Hope
Sandy Bagarella - Weaverville Farm Manager
I am a teacher and an artist living in Weaverville NC. I have had horses in my life since I was a young child soaring over jumps in the hunters and jumpers show world. I stumbled upon the teachings of quality horsemanship as a young woman while managing a breeding facility for APHA reining horses. I never looked back. I started my journey in becoming a forever student of the horse and began sharing my knowledge with others. My passion for the well being of horses landed me into the position of running an equine rescue up in the NC mountains, Horse Helpers of the High Country. After moving down to Asheville my desire to better the lives of horses has continued through my work with the Hope for Horses training program. I have been teaching horsemanship and helping humans better understand their horses for over 20 years. I continue to learn and share every day.
I was born and raised in Candler, NC, and have lived in Haywood County since 1992. I am married and have two sons, one daughter, and a grandson, that we are most proud of! I have been a part of the Hope for Horses team since 2015 and have loved every minute of it. In September 2020 I became Executive Director and I look forward to many years serving the horses in our community and working with this incredible organization and "family". When I am not working, I spend a lot of time with my family and my German Shepherd, Liesl. I love music, hiking, going on Jeep rides and just being outside enjoying our breathtaking mountains and nature!
I've been riding, caring for and loving equines all my life. I'm an endurance rider and I enjoy the thrill of the 50 and 75 mile rides; I especially value the training and the mentoring I've gotten from endurance riders and vets who have generously spent time with me and helped me understand the nutrition and trail mileage and pace necessary to care for an equine over the long distances. I met Whitney Wright, founder of Hope for Horses, on the endurance trail and learned about the mission of Hope for Horses through Whitney's history of rescue and rehabilitation of the wonderful equines that have been saved by the organization. I have a business (Equine Therapeutic Bodyworks), and I volunteered to do myofascial release on Outlaw, a 2019 rescue. When I realized how receptive he was to connective tissue body work, I couldn't stop going out to work on him. I hope to assist with myofascial work on many other rescues in the future -- it's such a rewarding way to give back to the equine community that has been a loving part of my life so long.
Hi, I'm Sandy Bagarella. I am a retired educator from Central Florida. I live in Weaverville. Growing up I had a deep love for animals and their well-being. When I retired I decided I would go into animal rescue work. I have 8 years experience working and volunteering at different animal rescues from Arizona to Tennessee, and Central Florida. When I landed at a horse rescue in Clermont, Florida, I fell in love, with the horses and the work. I moved to Weaverville 4 years ago and found Hope for Horses. I volunteered doing whatever I could to help the horses. I loved the mission of Hope for Horses and knew I had found home, with the horses, the people, and the organization, thus accepting the Barn Manager position at the Ox Creek farm. It is my deep desire to continue to serve and do whatever I can to help provide horses a safe place to call home.
I was born and raised in Michigan but spent several years in Florida before making my way to the Asheville, North Carolina area. My love for all animals runs deeps, but there has always been a draw to horses since I was a child. I am married with two adult children, work full-time in the field of IT and look forward to spending most of my free time with the horses. I consider it a blessing to serve in my role as Volunteer Coordinator. I'm inspired by the mission of Hope for Horses and our great community of volunteers that dedicate their time, energy and love to the rehabilitation of these horses; it's truly an honor to serve alongside them.