Our Board of Directors

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.

Ride With Pride Board of Directors

Laura Martlock (President)

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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.

Allison Bagley (Vice-President)

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Allison Bagley, is a graduate from Iowa State University with a B.S. and M.S. in Animal Science. Following graduation in 2003, she has worked for multiple businesses in agricultural marketing, including the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Streetmarc Advertising & Marketing. Allison recently joined the Administrative Department at Augusta Co-op in Staunton, VA and is responsible for marketing, advertising, public relations and communications.  Currently, she resides in Swoope where she and her husband raise cattle with their two daughters.

Alisa Fernez (Secretary)

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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 (Treasurer)

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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

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Christie Meek

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“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.”

Dr. Julia Hecking

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Dr. Julia Hecking is a local veterinarian with the Blue Ridge Equine Clinic. She received her Undergraduate at Virginia Tech and moved to the University of Minnesota to complete her DVM. She is now a Federation Equestrian Internationale(FEI) veterinarian, a member of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and Vice President of the Virginia Association of Equine Practitioners. She has been on the Ride With Pride board for 2 years and assists with organizing events and assisting in the veterinary care of the Ride With Pride horses. She lives in Goshen and enjoys eventing and fox hunting with her horse Cody

Annie Mathot

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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.

Sophia Martina

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Originally born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Sophia moved to Virginia at the age of six. Her passion and love for horses began at an early age. Sophia attended Bridgewater College in Bridgewater, Virginia. She graduated in 2015 earning her bachelor’s degree in Biology. Sophia works for an Equine Nutrition Company, Foxden Equine, Inc. located in Stuarts Draft, VA. Her role as their Quality Control Manager allows her to combine her two passions: horses and science into a career. Sophia has been volunteering and helping with Ride with Pride since she was in middle school. Every year she makes sure to volunteer her time to help because she is a huge supporter and believer of the program. Sophia is also an avid dressage rider with the goal to one day achieve all her USDF Rider Award Medals.

Sarah Westman

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Sarah has a background in a variety of disciplines including vaulting, hunter/jumper, and western dressage. She currently coaches the valley’s only vaulting team, Valley Vaulters, and hopes to start teaching a few riding lessons at RWP as well. She loves coaching and strives to build lessons that are inclusive and fun to help her students not only ride well, but learn life long lessons in teamwork, perseverance and compassion. Sarah is also certified 200RYT yoga instructor, and a mom. 

Alisa Berry

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Alisa C. Berry is a native of Augusta Co. She grew up riding and showing on the Southwest VA Hunter Jumper Ass circuit. She was also an active member of Glenmore Hunt Pony Club. Alisa graduated from Sweet Briar College, where she participated on the IHSA & Hunter Show Team. She has taught lessons for SBC and JMU College Equestrian Programs. Currently, Alisa is the Equine Specialist at Augusta Co-op Farm Bureau. She also competes in the Amateur Owner 3’6” division at USEF rated shows up and down the east coast. Alisa helps her husband, Jason, manage Jason Berry Stables LLC, a full service training, lesson (home to JMU Equestrian Team), & show barn. She and her husband have 2 children; Carter, age 12 and Sydney, age 5.