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Mailing Address

PO Box 68
Sheboygan Falls, WI 53085

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REINS Staff & Board

As a charitable non-profit organization, REINS is governed by an all-volunteer Board of Directors and managed by a staff of paid employees and many active volunteers. Our dedicated team believes whole heartedly in our Mission and is on a steady course to fulfill our vision of growing the program and reaching more people in Calumet, Manitowoc and Sheboygan Counties.

Board of Directors

Deana H. Hamel | Executive Officer

Deana has decades of experience as a rider, instructor and farm owner. Her focus is the positive bond between horse and rider and the restorative nature of that bond. As a former corporate executive and pastor, she brings an unique insight to the program.  She believes in the important role of equine therapy in healing body, mind and spirit.

Kurt C. Nilsen | Financial Officer

Kurt is a CPA, with over 25 years of finance experience in both the private and public sectors.

Gary Sellen | Operations Officer
| Administrative Officer
Peggy Brennan | Fundraising Chairperson


Peggy has loved horses for as long as she can remember, spending many Summers leading trail rides at a family friends riding camp. She had her own horse for 34 years, boarding him at the barn which eventually would become home to Reins. She believes in the mission of Reins and is committed to bringing awareness and including our communities in this great program.

Jim Thimmig | Board Member

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Advisory Board

Dr. Louise Blankenheim | Program Education Advisor

Louise has been involved in education for thirty years and is currently the District Administrator for the Kiel Area School District. She has been riding horses since she was a young girl. Her passion for horses and her background in education has led her to REINS. She believes that equine based therapy has a lot to offer all people and especially those with disabilities.

Jason Connors | Technical Advisor


Tom Blankenheim | Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning
Cheryl Andersen | Senior Equine Specialist

I am very excited and honored to be a part of such a dedicated, amazing team of people and horses who are here to bring help, joy and confidence to those whom REINS is serving.

I have loved horses since I could say the word, “horse”. I got my first horse when I was 17 and always felt there was more to them then just making them do what “I “wanted, there had to be MORE.

In 2001-03, I was privileged to be involved with Therapeutic Riding in Charlottesville, VA, while my husband was stationed there with the Army after 9/11. There, I learned the “value” of what therapeutic riding does for both physically and cognitively challenged people, both young and adult. What I didn’t expect was what it did for me as a volunteer.

In 2009, I became involved with Natural Horsemanship Training. In this program I learned how to use horse physiology, love, horse language and leadership to form a lasting, trusting bond between the horse and human. I have been developing my Horsemanship for many years through the program and have studied and continue too study  with many top professionals.

Thru Natural Horsemanship, I found that I could be and am, a partner in my relationship with them. My equine partners are, Izzie, and Phinneas, both 19. They have been and continue to be my best teachers.

I believe in keeping “THE HORSE FIRST” in all they do and forming a “partnership” and wealth of trust in themselves and those who work them. Each horse is an individual and each has a purpose. Who and what they are, is a unique as we are.

I look forward to meeting the REINS four legged therapists, clients and family members for the 2018 season.

Jacleen Hess | Therapeutic Riding Instructor
"Horses became an important part of my life when I was diagnosed with
several health issues at a young age.  This opened up my eyes to how
horses are able to change people's lives physically, emotionally,
mentally, and spiritually.  In 2014, I was certified as a PATH Intl.
Registered Instructor, and in 2015 I also received an instructor
certification through CHA.  My background as a certified equine sports
massage therapist has given me a better understanding of the
biomechanics of horse and rider.  I am amazed at how a team of
volunteers, an instructor, and a horse can make such a difference in
an individual's life.  I enjoy developing and teaching safe lessons
that are based around a theme and that allow the students to work
towards reaching their goals." Jacleen

Theresa Zimmermann | Program Director

After a great 2017 season as our Volunteer Coordinator, Theresa has accepted a full time position with REINS as our Program Director. Theresa has over 30 years of human resources and business consulting experience. She brings this knowledge, together with her passion and familiarity of our equine friends, to the position. We are excited to see what the future brings as we expand our services to our clients.

Rachel Fischer, Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Hi Everyone!! Thank you so much for your warm welcome to REINS! My name is Rachel Fischer  and I'm so excited to be joining this wonderful program as an instructor for the 2018 riding season! I have been blessed to be involved in equine assisted therapies for over ten years as a volunteer, barn helper, volunteer coordinator and eventually instructor! The thrill of riders achieving otherwise unobtainable goals, the patient four legged teachers and of course the ear to ear grins inspired me to include this as part of my career and fueled my passion to serve as an occupational therapist! I currently work as an OT at American Family Children's Hospital in pediatric acute care and inpatient rehab! I have been blessed to also be a PATH certified instructor for almost 5 years! My previous work as an instructor included group lessons with riders of all ages and abilities, programs for returning veterans and equine assisted learning activities for area teens. When I'm not at work or teaching, you can find me at the barn with my horse, Ramzes, spending time with family and friends, or outdoors with my very active black lab, Charlee! I look forward to meeting and working with you in the near future!!