Our Board of Directors

Laura Martlock


Laura has been a riding instructor and trainer for 40 years.  She teaches Balanced Seat riding, Dressage, Hunter/Jumper, Eventing, Trail Riding skills and Orienteering both at her place, Wildwood Farm, as well as at clients’ homes in Augusta County. She has served on the Virginia Horse Council for more than 10 years and the Therapeutic Riding Association of Virginia for 4 Years. Currently, Laura is a 4H leader for the Augusta County Equine Club and a mentor to the Buffalo Gap FFA Horse Judging Team.  Laura has been involved with Ride With Pride in one capacity or another for 30 years, including instructing, Volunteer Coordinator, special events coordinator, and board member.

Annie Mathot

Vice President

Annie is a graduate of the University of Miami School of Architecture and relocated to Staunton to join Frazier Associates in 2005, where she works as an architect specializing in residential design with a focus on historic preservation and traditional new construction. Annie is a native of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, whose journey to the Shenandoah Valley included stops in the United Kingdom, Florida, and Pennsylvania. In all of these places, her involvement with horses contributed to her belief in the therapeutic magic of horses. She was thrilled to join the board of Ride With Pride in 2020. She lives in Staunton with her daughter and owns several active and retired horses.

Alisa Fernez


Alisa is a native of the area and graduate of Virginia Wesleyan University with B.A.’s in English and Theatre. After performing as a stand up comedian in New York City in the late ’90’s, she returned to Staunton. She has written a play, three screenplays and is finishing her second book. She also writes the blog “Suspenders Girl”. Alisa became involved with RWP as the parent of a student, then a volunteer, before joining the Board and becoming Secretary in 2010. “I have witnessed many times the positive impact RWP has on those involved. I feel honored to be part of this wonderful organization.”

Sue Guyer


Sue Guyer has been living in Augusta County since 2003 having moved here from Bridgehampton Long Island New York with her husband of 48 years.  She is a retired bookkeeper looking for something to do in her spare time when she heard that RWP was looking for a treasurer.  Although Sue, a daughter and wife of farmers, does not have experience with horses, she loves them and looks forward to working with the group. She has been involved in many community organizations including Girl Scouts, 4H, The Bridgehampton Historical Society, Habit for Humanity, REACT, and is currently the secretary for their home owners association and the statistician for Stuarts Draft Horseshoe Club.  “I needed something to do with my spare time and think this is a perfect fit. I am delighted to have joined this wonderful group”

Diane Gibbs

A native of New Jersey where I bred, raised, trained and showed Arabian horses, I was also a teacher and mental health counselor.. Moving to Virginia in 1994 I became active with fox hunting and mountain trail riding. As a Licensed Professional Counselor I worked in community services and the local hospital. I have always known how therapeutic horses can be. When I learned about Ride With Pride I quickly realized the importance and impact the program has for those with disabilities, both mental and physical. I can not say enough positive things about this organization and am proud to be a part of it.

Christi Meek

“I have been giving riding lessons for beginners through advanced to adults and children at their farm or ours. I love teaching people how to work with their horses, whether they show or trail ride, it’s all about communication. I love to show in combined training, foxhunting and a sport called TREC, which involves map orienteering and obstacles.
I have been more involved with RWP for the past couple of years and have seen how it helps people of all ages overcoming their difficulties and makes them mental and physically stronger.”

Courtney Thompson

Courtney Thompson is the President & CEO of the Greater Augusta Regional Chamber of Commerce. She is a 2003 graduate of James Madison University (Go Dukes!) and lives on a beautiful farm in Nelson County with her husband Phil, their son John Parker, five horses, a small herd of cows, several cats and a dog. In her free time, Courtney can be found horseback riding, reading or playing the piano. She has been riding since she was five and can’t imagine life without horses!

Rosalie Fessier

Rosalie Fessier is a managing partner with the law firm of TimberlakeSmith in Staunton for whom she serves as the leader of the firm’s Local Government Law practice as well as serving as the Pro Bono Coordinator for the firm. Rosalie has been a practicing trial attorney since 1995 and has been successfully representing and defending constitutional officers, localities, and other public bodies for over 20 years. Rosalie also defends hospitals, physicians, and other licensed health care providers against medical malpractice claims in both the private and public sectors. Before joining the Board, Rosalie served as pro bono legal counsel for Ride With Pride since 2018.

Melissa Sheets

With the opportunity to attend college at Mary Baldwin College in 1987, Melissa arrived in Staunton for school, met her husband of 32 years and has been an active member of the community over the years. She has been a Girl Scout troop leader, a volunteer and board member/president with Mental Health America Augusta for 7 years, and Art in the Park volunteer as well. Melissa is currently the Managing Broker and part owner with Keller Williams Commonwealth in Waynesboro, VA. Melissa loves to read, bake and connect with people. Previously, she was a classroom teacher in Augusta County as well as Waynesboro and Staunton from 1991-2017. Her love for education and growth through experience has always been a focus for her and she is excited to serve on the board of Ride With Pride.

Elene Paul

Elene has had a long and varied career in various nonprofit, architectural and marketing firms. She has also worked on Capitol Hill and a federal agency and appreciates the value of public service. Elene retired in 2017 and in 2018, and built their home on land purchased in Churchville in 2006. After Covid eased, she began looking for volunteer opportunities. Elene has loved horses all her life and started helping out at the Elegius Mini Equine Sanctuary in McDowell. Recently, Elene saw a post on Facebook about volunteering with Ride with Pride and signed up. It has been a very rewarding experience working with our clients, volunteers and the horses. Elene feels honored to be on the Board.

Juli Potter

Juli Potter, DVM, CCRT, OMALS/AABW student

Though Juli’s travels took her away from her native home of Staunton for quite some time, she is happy to be back home. Juli’s best memories of childhood are hiking and camping in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her mom. Juli is a small animal veterinarian with interests in physical rehabilitation (physiotherapy) as well as animal behavior and welfare. Juli’s interests were sparked by her involvement with the Military Working Dogs and while overseeing the Veterinary Treatment Facility as an Army Veterinarian. After leaving the Army, Juli studied under a board-certified veterinary behaviorist, she received her certification in canine rehabilitation from the Canine Rehabilitation Institute, and she is currently a master’s student in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at VA Tech with a concentration in Applied Animal Behavior and Welfare.

Juli and her son, Eli, have been part of the Ride with Pride community since 2017. Both Juli and Eli have a passion for horses, and through their involvement with Ride with Pride, they have come to appreciate how amazing horses truly are. Spending time with the Ride with Pride horses and with the Ride with Pride community has been a journey of growth and commitment for both Juli and Eli. Juli is happy to be able to serve on the board of Ride with Pride, hoping to be able to now serve this wonderful community, including the horses who make this program possible.

Ride With Pride serves riders in the greater Augusta County area who have physical, emotional, & developmental special needs with a wide range of therapeutic equine activities. We are able to provide this invaluable service to the community through charitable donations.

Since it was founded in 1989, Ride With Pride has provided services to about 150 therapeutic riders each year.

Our riders have represented more than 8 community groups including foster care, public schools, the youth shelter, and Veterans.