AYHC Board of Directors

Debbie Manring


Debbie has been a 4-H volunteer and coach for equine teams for over 25 years. She has also been an active volunteer/judge for state, All American Quarter Horse Congress and Eastern Nationals 4-H youth contests. She continues to work with youth as she believes in the power of their connection through horses to develop important life skills and lifelong friendships.

Dr. Dean Jousan

President Elect

Dean Jousan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences where he works as the Extension 4-H Livestock Specialist. Dr. Jousan's responsibilities involve needs assessment, planning, execution and evaluation of innovative animal science youth programs and activities. More specifically, he oversees all state-wide 4-H livestock and horse shows, contests, workshops, and trainings for Extension agents.

Amber Krotky


Amber D. Krotky, MS, PAS, currently serves as Quality & Product Development Manager at Mars Horsecare US, Inc (Buckeye Nutrition) in Dalton, Ohio. Growing up in Eastern Oklahoma helped to cultivate Amber's love for horses, cattle and the farming and ranching way of life.  Amber has been involved in agriculture and the horse industry for close to 40 years.  She’s shown All-Around and Reining horses on a state and national level with APHA, AQHA, PHBA and 4-H. 

Brenna Johnson


Brenna is the Youth and Family Programs Coordinator for the Arabian Horse Association.  She learned to ride through Westernaires, a drill team that performs throughout Colorado.  She is enthusiastic about growing youth participation in the equine industry and finding new ways to reach youth. Her passion for the equine industry coupled with the importance of educating youth about the agricultural and equine industries, keeps her loving her job every day.

Marla Lowder

Past President

Marla is a 4-H & Youth Development Agent at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where she oversees the State Horse Development Committee and helped them implement their first State Horse Contest in 2007. Her two passions in life are youth and horses.  She loves the motto of the American Youth Horse Council and honestly believes that “Kids + Horses = Magic”. 

Sara Honegger

Board Member

Sara Honegger is the Youth and Professionals Programs Manager for the National Reining Horse Association. Originally from Arroyo Grande, California, Sara grew up competing in rodeo which led to Oklahoma State University. There she competed on the collegiate rodeo team and completed a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications and Master of Science in International Agriculture. She has been involved with the National Reining Horse Association in two capacities, first in the Reiner Magazine, and now in her current role as the Youth and Professionals Programs Manager

Dr. Chelsie Huseman

Board Member

Dr. Chelsie Huseman is an Assistant Professor and Extension Horse Specialist at Texas A&M University. She serves the state of Texas by disseminating equine education for both adults and youth through seminars, short courses, and a variety of other educational programs. She gives lead to the Texas 4-H Equine Ambassador Program, which strives to provide 4-H youth the opportunity to develop and practice advanced leadership skills and become advocates for the equine industry in Texas.

Dr. Jennie Ivey

Board Member

Dr. Ivey is an Assistant Professor and Extension Horse Specialist at the University of Tennessee. She grew up in a coastal region of New Jersey, but began her career with horses through numerous 4-H projects and avid lessons, shows and training trips. She has served on the Board of Directors of the Equine Science Society, was recognized as an ASAS Midwest Section Animal Science Young Scholar, along with working closely in extension based programming while in West Virginia. She strives to translate research findings into programs and education for youth and adults in order to improve equine health and well-being. 

Connie Jehlik

Board Member

Connie Jehlik is the Instruction Services Director for the United States Pony Clubs, Inc. Connie taught middle school science and high school agriculture for a total of 22 years. She joined Contra Costa Pony Club when she was 11 years old and received her A Certification from Morgan Territory Pony Club. Connie has stayed active in Pony Club through the years by being involved as a Chief Horse Management Judge, District Commissioner of Hoofbeats Pony Club, and Horse Management Organizer for both Sierra Pacific and MidSouth regions.

Dr. Jessica Leatherwood

Board Member

Dr. Jessica Leatherwood is an Assistant Professor of Equine Science in the Department of Animal Science at Texas A&M University. In addition to student development, Dr. Leatherwood has advised multiple graduate students in the areas of research in equine nutrition and physiology. As an active participant in 4-H as well as an American Farmer Degree recipient, she realizes the positive impact that organizations such as the American Youth Horse Council can have on the lives of young people. With the many challenges and avenues that are posed to youth today, Dr. Leatherwood believes the horse is a great tool to which families can bond.

Shane Michael

Board Member

Shane Michael is the County Extension Director and a 4-H Agent for Seminole County in Florida.  His major programming area is youth animal science projects. He holds a BS in Animal Science and an MS in Agriculture Education, both from the University of Florida. Shane has presented workshops at the AYHC Symposium numerous years and most recently served on the planning committee for the 2020 event. 

Shelby Turner Rader

Board Member

Growing up in the Arabian industry, Shelby Rader is now actively involved with the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). She is a certified riding instructor, Certified Equine Facility Manager, Assistant Site Visitor, and Regional Representative for CHA. As an AQHA Professional Horseman and open horse show judge, she is passionate about helping to educate and equip the next generation of horseman, as well as advocating for proper horsemanship. Shelby has completed her training to be an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship, International. 

Katie Reynolds

Board Member

Katie Reynolds is the Director of Youth Development & AQHYA at the American Quarter Horse Association.  In this role since July of 2016, Katie is responsible for engaging a youth membership of more than 22,000, developing a diverse portfolio of programs and educational resources, and providing career and leadership development opportunities to tomorrow’s industry leaders. A native of Wisconsin, Katie is a lifelong horseman. 

Andrea Rice

Board Member

Andrea Rice is a Team Marketing Coordinator for Penn State supporting Pennsylvania 4-H. Andrea has coached several youth horse judging teams and found great success in her method of utilizing hands-on activities. She started creating and sharing information specific to horse judging through her Facebook page and website: Equestions – Horse Judging Answers, in order to provide resources for and assistance to new coaches. 

Gail Silkwood

Board Member

Gail Silkwood is a University of Idaho Extension Educator working with 4-H, Agriculture and Natural Resources in Benewah County, Idaho. She is a lifelong Idaho 4-Her and active horsewoman competing in AQHA events, open shows, and trail riding. She enjoys teaching and coaching youth to become the best they can be! Gail was a workshop presenter at the 2020 AYHC Symposium, is a current chair of the AYHC Youth Activities Committee and served on the planning committee for the 2019 Symposium held in Idaho/Washington.

Danette McGuire

Executive Director

Danette McGuire has served as the Executive Director of the American Youth Horse Council since 2012.  She has more than 15 years of experience in youth development and program management in the non-profit sector having previously served as Director of Youth Programs for the National Cutting Horse Association and New Mexico 4-H Activities Specialist. 


1 Gainer Rd

McDonald NM 88262


Kids + Horses = Magic

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