Randi Gardner joined the Held Center staff in October of 2011. Previously an instructor, stable manager, and team coach at YMCA Camp Letts Equestrian Center just outside of Washington, D.C., Gardner has a wealth of experience working with horses and riders in multiple disciplines, including hunt seat, western, eventing, dressage, and even polocrosse. Prior to her work at Camp Letts, she was the barn manager and head riding instructor at Reverie Acres Riding Academy, the first United States Pony Club-approved riding center in Maryland. Gardner was also the center administrator for the USPC program at Reverie Acres, as well as the leader for the stable’s 4-H club.
Since coming on board as coach in 2011, Gardner has had many individuals and the team compete at the IHSA regional, zone and national levels. The Albion College hunt seat team was the champion regional team in 2013 and 2014, and Gardner coached the team's first individual rider to IHSA Nationals in 2014. She also serves as the associate director of the Held Equestrian Center.
Nathan Horsman joined the instructional staff at the Nancy G. Held Equestrian Center in September 2016 when he assumed the role of head coach of the western team. An AQHA Professional Horseman who is also a Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA) master instructor, Horsman brings with him a lifetime of experience in the horse world.
A rider since he was first placed aboard a horse at the age of two, he ventured briefly into the world of rodeo, where he competed both in bull riding and the bareback bronc riding event before opportunities to train horses full-time called him away. For the past decade, Horsman’s specialty has been in training horses for reining, cutting, and reined cow horse events. He’s also been a popular clinician across the U.S., working with non-pro and amateur horses and riders to help them improve their communication and training.
As a coach in the Albion equestrian program, Horsman’s primary duties involve training the horses and riders affiliated with the IHSA western program, reviewing donation prospects, recruiting new students, and supporting the daily operations of the Held Equestrian Center. His goal is to develop a program that is a top contender for national championships.
Barbra Reis is a United States Dressage Association Bronze and Silver Medalist. Barbra earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Equine Studies from Centenary College (now University) in New Jersey and also attended Porlock Vale Equestrian Centre in England where she earned a British Horse Society Assistant Instructor Certificate.
Reis continued her education with jobs in the New York City area at the United States Equestrian Federation (then AHSA), Miller Harness Company, as an instructor at both Claremont Riding Academy in the city and Overpeck Riding Center in New Jersey. She managed Millbrook Farm in upstate New York and spent time grooming on the AA hunter circuit. Reis rode with George Morris, Greg Best, Gunnar Ostergaard, Anne Kursinski, and in clinics with Bert DeNemethy. Upon returning to Michigan, she competed on the hunter and eventing circuits to continue broadening her education. Dressage became her primary equine discipline in 1995 and she has shown successfully through Intermediate I, winning many local, regional, and national breed association awards with her own horses, as well as client-owned horses. She and her husband Brian currently operate Brilliant Reflection Farm in Ortonville, MI.