Meet the Staff
Staff in our Horsemanship Program are men and women skilled in teaching and avid advocates of the science and art of horsemanship.
We are so fortunate to have Ann Marie Walker returning for a fifth summer in riding, her fourth as head of the department. Ann-Marie grew up in Mobile, Alabama and attended Sewanee: The University of the South in Tennessee, majoring in international relations. She worked in Atlanta for 18 months before coming to Vermont, where she has just completed the post-baccalaureate pre-med program at UVM. Ann-Marie has a long history training and showing horses across the country, in both national and international competitions, resulting in an impressive list of awards, including a gold medal at the Prix de States in 2008. In college, Ann Marie was a member of the Sewanee equestrian team for four years and captain during her senior year. Ann Marie plans a gap year before applying to medical school.
Michelle Kirsch grew up in Rochester, NY. For the past four years she has been a student at the University of Vermont where she majored in animal science, graduating in May. Michelle has been riding horses since the age of eight and she taught riding as a counselor at Longacres Riding Camp in East Aurora, New York in 2012 and 2013. During this school year, Michelle was an intern at AFTER the Track, an organization that specializes in retraining and placement for Thoroughbred ex-racehorses. Following camp, Michelle will be a working student at a horse breeding and training farm in Vermont.
Emily Knickerbocker began her Brown Ledge career at the age of 10. She graduated from the JC program in 2013 and she is returning for a second summer in the riding department. Emily has worked with horses in many settings; as a therapeutic riding instructor, a riding counselor at Rock Creek Park Horse Center, a competitor on her school’s varsity polo team, and a student with international trainer, Nuno Santos. Emily grew up in Washington D.C. and she is a rising junior at Skidmore College. In addition to horses, Emily has other passions and talents, including singing and dance.
This will be Danni Percival’s third year at Brown Ledge. Danni grew up in Liverpool, England and she moved to Coffs Harbour, Australia four years ago. She has been around horses her entire life and riding since the age of five. In England, Danni competed in local, county and national level showjumping and working hunter classes. Though her working life in Australia does not give her much free time, Danni continues to ride for pleasure and she has managed to compete in dressage and show jumping at local shows.
Tess Littledale is from Putney, Vermont and she has been riding horses for 17 years, including with her 28-year-old Appaloosa, Splash. This spring, Tess graduated from the University of Vermont where she was on the hunter/jumper team for three years. Tess is also interested in eventing. She worked with a dressage trainer last summer and she is furthering her event training with Brown Ledge veteran, Mary Brust. Tess graduated as an English major and she plans to use her degree to teach middle school English.
Marjorie Isaacs is back for a fifth summer on the riding staff and her 12th summer at Brown Ledge! Marjorie captained the drill team for two summers and she received her horsemanship vanguard in 2009. (The vanguard is our highest level of achievement and a near professional level of accomplishment.) Marjorie just graduated from the University of Vermont with her degree in social work, and will be going on for her masters degree in the fall.
2016 Stable Crew
Jana Kolinska is returning to Brown Ledge for a third summer after a skipped year. Jana was born in Prague and she has been living in Finland where she has participated in an exchange program. In the fall she will return to Prague where she is working on her Master’s degree in international trade at the University of Economics in Prague. Jana has had horses in her life since age 11. She has been a rider, stable hand, and horse owner in a variety of venues. Having seen more reindeer than horses in Finland, Jana is excited to return to her equine roots!
Sophie Howes is from Fife, Scotland and she attends Edinburgh Napier University where she has completed her second year in psychology. Sophie has long been interested in horses, beginning lessons at the age of eight. A few years later, she joined a club at her stable where she assisted in all aspects of horse care. Sophie also has strong interests in both children and the performing arts. She is a volunteer with a local Brownies group and she has participated in variety of dramatic and musical productions.
Sinead O’Callaghan is from Dublin, Ireland and she is in a five-year program at University College of Dublin where she is studying science and engineering. Sinead began riding and taking care of horses at a young age. She has competed in three-day event competitions and she has helped provide week-long camp experiences for younger children at her local stables. Sinead is an avid hiker; she has hiked and camped around Europe and completed all four of the rigorous Mountain Pursuit Challenges which are based in the four provinces of Ireland.
Iris Spanbroek grew up in a small village in the Netherlands and she has been living in Amsterdam since 2012. Iris is a student at the University of Amsterdam. She has just completed her Bachelor’s program in theater arts and she will continue at the Master’s level in the fall. Iris has organized and coordinated several festival and theater events. Iris was a horse enthusiast as a teenager and she has experience riding and taking care of horses.
Blazka Subic grew up in a small village in Slovenia. She completed secondary school in design and photography and now attends the University of Ljubijana where she is studying agriculture and animal science. Blazka was introduced to horses several years ago and it quickly became a passion; “riding is something I’d love to do for the rest of my life.” Blazka has been able to ride horses, including Lipizzaners, at a local barn. Other interests include photography, drawing, and hiking.