Staff

Randi Gardner, Interim Director/Hunt Seat Team Coach

Randi GardnerRandi Gardner joined the Held Center staff in October of 2011. Previously an instructor, stable manager, and team coach at YMCA Camp Letts Equestrian Center just outside of Washington, D.C., Gardner has a wealth of experience working with horses and riders in multiple disciplines, including hunt seat, western, eventing, dressage, and even polocrosse. Prior to her work at Camp Letts, she was the barn manager and head riding instructor at Reverie Acres Riding Academy, the first United States Pony Club-approved riding center in Maryland. Gardner was also the center administrator for the USPC program at Reverie Acres, as well as the leader for the stable's 4-H club.

Gardner's role as associate director includes ongoing support of the director's responsibilities, lesson instruction, oversight of the barn staff, and marketing expertise for recruitment purposes. She is also the coach of the Albion College hunt seat team. Since coming on board as coach in 2011, Gardner has had many individuals and the team compete at the IHSA regional, zone and national levels. The Albion College hunt seat team was the champion regional team in 2013 and 2014, and Gardner coached the team's first individual rider to IHSA Nationals in 2014.

Carolyn Killewald, Office Manager/Events Coordinator

Carolyn KillewaldCarolyn Killewald is a graduate of Albion College and holds a B.A. in English. She was previously employed as a magazine editor for a trade association in Jackson, MI before being hired at the Held Equestrian Center in August 2008. Killewald's role at the Held Center includes planning events and projects, marketing, recruitment, accounts receivables, purchasing, and serving as a liaison between the Center, students, community members, and faculty/staff of Albion College. During horse shows at the Held Center, Killewald serves as the show secretary, coordinating competitors' entries and fees, issuing awards, and tracking results.

A lifetime equestrian, Killewald competed in the U.S. Pony Club and eventually placed her focus on dressage. She has competition experience in eventing and USDF recognized dressage shows and regional championships. When not in the Held Center office, she can often be found out working with her young horse in the barn. Killewald currently resides in Concord, MI with her family.

Nathan Horsman, Western Program Manager/Western Team Coach

Nathan HorsmanNathan Horsman joined the instructional staff at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center in September 2016 when he assumed the role of head coach of the western team. An AQHA Professional Horseman who is also a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) master instructor, Horsman brings with him a lifetime of experience in the horse world.

A rider since he was first placed aboard a horse at the age of two, he ventured briefly into the world of rodeo, where he competed both in bull riding and the bareback bronc riding event before opportunities to train horses full-time called him away. For the past decade, Horsman’s specialty has been in training horses for reining, cutting, and reined cow horse events. He’s also been a popular clinician across the U.S., working with non-pro and amateur horses and riders to help them improve their communication and training.

As a coach in the Albion equestrian program, Horsman’s primary duties involve training the horses and riders affiliated with the IHSA western program, reviewing donation prospects, recruiting new students, and supporting the daily operations of the Held Equestrian Center. His goal is to develop a program that is a top contender for national championships.

Randi Heathman, Recruitment Coordinator

Randi HeathmanRandi C. Heathman is a 2003 alumna of Albion College. She graduated with a degree in English and a concentration in Mass Communication, then earned her MA in Communication from Spring Arbor University in 2011. Employed in the Albion College office of admission from 2004-2010, she was responsible for recruiting students from a variety of territories across Michigan and along the eastern seaboard, as well as serving as liaison between admission and the equestrian program. In 2010, she transferred to the Held Equestrian Center to assume full responsibility for recruitment and marketing operations, a role she held until 2012.

Since 2012, Heathman has worked in private practice as an independent educational consultant, a job that has allowed her to expand her understanding of both college admissions and intercollegiate equestrian programming – knowledge she brought back to Albion with her in 2016 when she assumed the role of equestrian recruitment coordinator. The job divides her time between the Bonta Admission Center and Held Equestrian Center as she aids communication between prospective students and the equestrian center staff, helps coordinate tours of the equestrian facilities, and plans on- and off-campus recruiting events and outreach. She is also the Equestrian Club's staff advisor.

Outside the office, Heathman competes at FEI dressage aboard her longtime partner Ricochet, with whom she secured her USDF bronze and silver medals and has accumulated a number of local and regional championships. She also assumed the challenges of young horse ownership in 2015 with the purchase of Kashmir H and looks forward to bringing him through the levels. She and her horses reside on her family’s farm in Horton, MI.

Brandon Fuller, Assistant Stable/Grounds Manager

Brandon FullerBrandon Fuller first began working in 2008 at the Held Equestrian Center working as a member of the part-time barn crew. In 2010, Fuller was promoted to the full-time position of assisant stable/grounds manager at the Center. He is responsible for maintaining the grounds and equipment at the facility, coordinating the hay baling operation, mowing and snow removal, and doing much of the general maintenance on the property. His experience working with and around horses is especially useful during much of his day-to-day work, and he often pitches in with barn chores and helps to drag and maintain the arenas.

Ann Marie Abbott, Assistant Stable Manager

Ann Marie AbbottAnn Marie Abbott graduated from Adrian College with a B.A. in Business Administration with emphasis on management. Being involved with horses since an early age led her to a strong desire to want to work within the equine industry. Since age 10, Ann Marie worked off her horse's board by doing farm chores, which she did all the way through college. She grew up riding both English and Western, but has focused mostly on Western riding. She loves working with kids and beginners to show them the ropes of working around horses.

Abbott began working part time at Albion College as a Groom II in July 2016, and she was quickly promoted to her current full time position in December 2016. Her duties include supervising barn chores, scheduling part time workers, providing care to rehab horses, daily feeding and watering, assisting stable manager with barn management tasks, and helping to prepare and setup for horse shows and events.

Barbra Reis, Dressage Team Coach

Barbra ReisBarbra Reis is a United States Dressage Association Bronze and Silver Medalist. Barbra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Studies from Centenary College (now University) in New Jersey and also attended Porlock Vale Equestrian Centre in England where she earned a British Horse Society Assistant Instructor Certificate.

Reis continued her education with jobs in the New York City area at the United States Equestrian Federation (then AHSA), Miller Harness Company, as an instructor at both Claremont Riding Academy in the city and Overpeck Riding Center in New Jersey. She managed Millbrook Farm in upstate New York and spent time grooming on the AA hunter circuit. Reis rode with George Morris, Greg Best, Gunnar Ostergaard, Anne Kursinski, and in clinics with Bert DeNemethy. Upon returning to Michigan, she competed on the hunter and eventing circuits to continue broadening her education. Dressage became her primary equine discipline in 1995 and she has shown successfully through Intermediate I, winning many local, regional, and national breed association awards with her own horses, as well as client-owned horses. She and her husband Brian currently operate Brilliant Reflection Farm in Ortonville, MI.