New York/Upper Connecticut

Regional Youth Board

RYB Members Bios:


Name: Cooper Madden-Hennessey    

Pony Club: Oakendale

Certification: H Trad

Home: Millbrook, NY


Age: 21

Teaching Experience: I have extensive teaching experience from first lessons through training level eventing. I am comfortable teaching all ages, young children to adults. I have taught private/group lessons, clinics, camps, certification preps, unmounted from D1-HA, etc.

What do you like to teach: I love to teach anything and everything!


Name: Emily Shepard

Pony Club: Mystic

Certification: C2 Dressage/HB

Home: Rhode Island


Age: 19

Teaching Experience: I have taught mounted and unmounted lessons in my own club. I have taught private, semi private, and group dressage lessons. Furthermore, I helped teach at Granby’s camp in 2016. My experience ranges from Ds to Cs. I attended the Standards and Certification Clinic last year, which allowed me to take notes on current standards and how riders met them.

What do you like to teach: I like to teach flat lessons. I am hoping to do my H-HM certification in a few years, and therefore need as much mounted teaching experience as I can get! I am also happy to teach unmounted lessons, rating preps, and Quiz preps.


Name: Alessia Salati                                         

Pony Club: Brumbies

Certification: C1 Trad

Home: Jefferson, NY


Age: 16

Teaching Experience: I have been a member of the Brumbies Pony Club for 10 years now, and have competed at the regional level in the Quiz, Dressage, Show Jumping, Eventing, and Tetrathlon Rallies. I received my C1 Traditional Certification in August 2015, and I hope to take my C2 Traditional in the summer of 2018. I have performed as an examiner for a couple of D level Pony Club Certifications, I’ve taught D1-C1 mounted lessons for my own club, as well as for clinics and camps in our region. I have taught many unmounted Horse Management topics, through the C1 level. I attended the Standards and Certifications Clinic in Spring 2017.

What do you like to teach: I prefer to teach unmounted HM topics, and I don’t really have a preference on what topic. I always enjoy teaching something new!


Name: Ruth Swartzfager

Pony Club: Running Fox

Certification: C1 Trad/C2 Flat/HB                               

Home: Warren, CT


Age: 15

Teaching Experience: I have taught unmounted lessons at camps, regular club meetings, and our region’s 101 clinics, as well as individual mounted lessons for unrated/D Pony Clubbers. I attended the Standards and Certifications Clinic for the first time this  spring. I enjoy the opportunity of traveling to different clubs and interacting with members across the region.

What do you like to teach: I enjoy teaching unmounted lessons and am looking forward to the opportunity to co-teach mounted lessons and expand into that role. I am happy to teach unmounted’s at the D and C levels, from Horse Management, to mock quiz, and everything in between!


Name: Michelle Chapman

Pony Club: Mystic

Certification: C2 Dressage/C2 HM

Home: Noank, CT


Age: 20

Teaching Experience: I was in Pony Club from ages 9-12 and recently re-joined in my late teens. I am currently a junior majoring in Psychology at Connecticut College, interested in becoming certified in Elementary Education and as a result I have taken multiple education courses. I was captain of my IEA team in high school and have been a member of IHSA in college.  I have taught unmounted lessons, mounted lessons and ratings at the D level within my own club. I attended the Standards and Certifications Clinic in Spring 2017.  I have experience with and enjoy working with green horses and horses with behavior problems. In addition, I co-run the summer camp program at Treasure Hill Farm in Salem, CT. Through this, I have experience teaching flat lessons to all ages and abilities including basic jumping lessons (through 2’3”) and dressage through first level. References available.

What do you like to teach: I enjoy helping riders of any age or ability work to build a better relationship with their horse! I enjoy teaching mounted lessons the most but am also always willing to teach any topic to an unmounted group! My specialty as mentioned above is working with unique, green, or troubled horses. (While not a Pony Club sport, I am also an experienced single-horse carriage driver and am always willing to do a driving or ground driving clinic using my horse or yours!)


Name: Gracie Taylor

Pony Club: Brumbies

Certification: D3 Trad/C1 HM           

Home: Harpersfield, NY


Age: 15

Teaching Experience: I started out riding Hunter/Jumper and Western but after about 3-4 years I switched to eventing. I have ridden huntseat, western, gymkhana, and everything in between. I’ve taught several unmounted lessons within my 4-H club and have helped teach at several camps. I have also worked with younger riders on the basics of riding. I attended the Standards and Certifications clinic in the Spring of 2017.

What do you like to teach: I prefer to teach unmounted’s but I enjoy teaching all topics. I’m also planning on taking my C2 HM and C1 Riding at the end of 2018, so I would like as much experience as I can!


Name: Diba De

Pony Club: Old Chatham

Certification: D2 Trad/D3 HM

Home: Valatie, NY


Age: 15

Teaching Experience: I started riding a while ago, and joined Pony Club as a 12 year old, not quite sure what to expect. I have only ever ridden english, but never really shown. I have experience cross-country fence judging at various shows around the region. I’m more into natural horsemanship. I don’t have a ton of teaching experience.

What do you like to teach: I would enjoy teaching unmounted lessons.


Name: Ava Marelli

Pony Club: Mystic

Certification: D3 Trad

Home: Waterford, CT


Age: 15

Teaching Experience: I started riding when I was seven years old and joined Pony Club in 2011. I am an eventing rider, but have tried or shown almost every type of equestrian sport. Throughout the past few years, I have taught kids in and out of my club basic horsemanship. In addition, I have experience in giving mounted lessons to people of many different ages and abilities. I absolutely love teaching and meeting new people!

What do you like to teach: I love to teach anything, but really enjoy teaching beginner horse management because it lays the foundation for their further knowledge.


Name: Lily Koorejian

Pony Club: Sleeping Giant

Certification: C1 Trad

Home: Bethany, CT


Age: 14

Teaching Experience: I have been part of Pony Club since 2012. I like Pony Club because you learn about both horsemanship and riding. I have competed at Regional Quiz, Dressage and Show Jumping Rallies. This year I got to ride in the Standards and Certification clinic and attend UL camp.  I really want to get into Eventing! I don't have any teaching experience but I look forward teaching our club's new young members.

What do you like to teach: I would like teach our new members basic horsemanship, how to tack and untack their horse and mini lessons on parts of saddle, bridle, horse, bits and breeds.

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