Lead Riding Instructor & Equine Operations Manager
Toni grew up with horses, learning on her own, in a small-town north of Seattle. She took a 15-year break from horses while enjoying USAF funded “travel” with her husband and four boys, except for those two short trail rides through the German countryside. After they settled in the Tri-Cities, Toni began volunteering at TROT in 2015. In 2016, she became an instructor. She spends her free time exploring local trails with her horses, Cosmo and Ginger. Her miniature horse Blue enjoys pulling a cart in many of the local parades. Toni ultimately enjoys learning and growing in knowledge of horsemanship and sharing her love of horses with those around her. Toni is a Level 2 CHA certified instructor and currently runs the Trotter Club program at TROT.
Richard has been involved with horses and equine activities for a large part of his life. After a stint in the army, while going to college on the G.I. Bill, he exchanged a couple mornings worth of feeding and grooming at a professional stable for riding lessons. He was the president of the Lake Washington Saddle Club for 4 years and was also a mounting judge for the Equestrian Phase of the Modern Pentathlon of the 1990 Goodwill Games. Richard started volunteering at TROT in 2017 as a horse leader and eventually became an instructor. Richard often helps with the Path to Success Classes and Hippotherapy at TROT. Aside from instructing classes, you can find Richard loving on our horses and helping with anything that needs to be done at our facility. Being at TROT has provided Richard opportunities to work with wonderful people and share his love and knowledge of horses with our clients. Richard is a Level 1 CHA certified instructor.
Rebekah has been riding horses from a very young age and considers it a hobby that she will continue for the rest of her life. As a high school student, she competed in many local rail, reining and cattle work competitions. After gaining her PATH Intl. certification, she continued to compete in activities like rail class and breakaway roping. In 2016, she held the title of the Benton Franklin Fair and Rodeo Queen. She also studied business management at Columbia Basin College. She began volunteering at TROT in 2020 and quickly became one of our wonderful instructors. Her favorite part about teaching therapeutic riding lessons is getting to know each student and their families while watching them grow and learn with each lesson. Her goal as an instructor is to be a fun and encouraging teacher that focuses on the further development of each student’s physical, mental, and emotional abilities. Rebekah is a Certified PATH Intl. instructor.
Barbara Otonicar is a retired Human Resources professional with experience in high technology, hospitality and nonprofits. She holds a Bachelors Degree in History and Secondary Education and certification as a Senior Human Resources Professional. She is a lifelong horsewoman with a love for working western disciplines. Working as an instructor at TROT brings challenges and joy to her second chapter in life. Helping students achieve their physical and emotional goals while learning to ride their horse is an experience she will never tire of. Hearing a nonverbal student laugh out loud while trotting on his horse, watching and hearing the excitement of a cerebral palsy student enjoying freedom of movement on her horse. Everyday there are wonderful moments like this; too many to count. Barbara considers it a great gift to be able to be an instructor for TROT.
Birthday Buckaroo Coordinator
IT Specialist/Event Trainer
Janie has been riding and training horses and dogs since she fell in love with a horse named Snowball when she was three years old. She worked at two vet hospitals as a young adult and assisted in surgeries, emergency first aid, and animal husbandry. Later, she started a training and breeding farm in Minnesota where she bred champion Tennessee Walkers and Arabians. Janie helped her daughter’s Girl Scout Troop earn badges by training them how to work with horses and used her four dogs for teaching and therapy at her children’s school. In 2007, she started a computer business while receiving an IT/Computer bachelor’s degree. In 2017, Janie moved back to Tri-Cities to be closer to family. She began volunteering at TROT as a horse leader and enjoyed getting to know the riders. Being a part of Cynthia’s dream of equine therapy and connecting people with animals is what Janie loves to do, and if she can also help someone understand their technology, she’s in heaven!
Jacy received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in social justice from Eastern Washington University. After college she spent time working with at-risk youth in the juvenile justice system and this is where she found her passion for helping people in the community. She discovered her love for horses while working on a troubled boys’ ranch in Wyoming. When Jacy returned to the Tri-Cities, she discovered TROT and was so excited to contribute to the organization. She is an inspired young adult that devotes herself to the things she is passionate about.
Director of Horses Helping Heroes
He is the Business Owner of Balancing Act and is employed full time by NFSD, per diem, at Lourdes. He is the proud father of 7. He is a Registered Level 1 Hippotherapist from the American Hippotherapy Association.
Cynthia, a Chicago native, moved to the Tri-Cities in 2000. As a Speech/Language Pathologist for more than forty years, she has worked with people of all ages, in multiple settings and across all levels of care to help them with communication disorders. Cynthia’s love of animals and therapeutic skills led her to form Therapeutic Riding of Tri-Cities (TROT), the first nonprofit therapeutic riding facility in Southeast Washington State. With the help of her benefactor Dr. Lawrence Dubose and the support of her husband and daughter, she launched TROT in 2014. Since then hundreds of people have donated resources, talents, and time to make TROT a reality. Her biggest reward has been watching her dream unfold and grow into something that is helping to change the lives and bring joy to those involved in the organization. Cynthia holds Level 1 certificates for both Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) and the American Hippotherapy Association (AHA). She is also a member of Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (Path Intl.). In her free time, Cynthia enjoys making memories with family, hiking, walking on the beach, and spending time with her therapy horses, Cocoa and Cowboy.
Digital Marketing Coordinator
Lauren grew up in Michigan, but moved to Washington in 2020. She has loved being around horses since a young age and worked at a horse barn throughout middle and high school. She’s witnessed the ways in which children and adults transform around horses and believes in the power of therapeutic riding. If she isn’t at TROT, you could probably find her out running or hiking/camping in the mountains with her husband Andrew.