Who We Are
An organization like H.E.L.P. is only as strong as the people who work to keep it alive. We are fortunate to have a staff, board of directors, and a herd veterinarian that are passionate about horses and the many ways they can change the lives of our clients. These are the people who make it possible for us to change lives, one hoof beat at a time.
Executive Director & Certified Instructor
Stephanie is a PATH International Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor, Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, and a Certified Special Olympics Equestrian Coach. Starting at a young age she caught the horse-loving bug. Her riding education began early thanks to her Aunt Jerrie and continued with over 8 years of hunter/jumper lessons in Manor, Texas, including show experience in TSSA, CenTex, and CTHJA. Combining her love for horses and helping others, she became involved in therapeutic riding in 2009 at ROCK in Georgetown and earned her instructor certification in January 2010. Her time at ROCK led to opportunities working with at-risk youth, veterans, summer camps, and a chemical dependency program.
With a passion for partnering horses with humans and a focus on horsemanship, her teaching style encourages the connection between horse and rider from the first lesson onward.
In her spare time Stephanie enjoys time at the beaches of Texas and with her nearby family in Georgetown and Jarrell.
President, Board of Advisors, 2018
Caitlin has been around horses for over 20 years. She grew up showing AQHA and hunter/jumpers with her big redheaded ex-racehorse, Dollar. Her passion for therapeutic riding began in college when she worked at a stable that also housed a therapeutic riding program. Along with riding for the stable, she began helping with the therapy classes, carrying out lesson plans provided by the PATH certified head trainer.
She went to college at Kansas State University and earned her Master's Degree in Landscape Architecture and a certificate in Pre-Veterinary Equine Science. Her first internship in the architecture world was with an equestrian architecture firm that focused solely on designing equestrian facilities throughout the country. She now works as an urban designer and campus planner for the local office of international architecture firm, Perkins+Will.
Caitlin has lived in Austin since 2014, currently serves as a board member for HELP and rides just around the corner at Manor Equestrian Center. When she's not at the barn, Caitlin can be found with her husband working on their renovated 1970's bungalow in South Austin, spoiling their two rescue pups, and supporting the local food and beverage scene around town.
Treasurer, Board of Advisors, 2009
Micki has volunteered at HELP since 2006, and served on the board since 2009. She and her mare, Shasta, enjoy riding trails around her home in Taylor.
Secretary, Board of Advisors, 2017
Sandra Navarrete has over 20 years' experience in clinical research and is a former small business owner in Austin, Texas. During her career in clinical research, Sandra has executed successful studies in both the US and OUS, overseen clinical operations and managed key personnel. Sandra is currently attaining her MBA with a focus in Healthcare Management at Our Lady of the Lake University. In her spare time she enjoys occasional horseback riding, flamenco dancing, fashion design, and practicing her Italian with her husband, Paolo.
Board of Advisors Member, 2019
Elaine has more than a decade of experience in healthcare with a focus on supporting seriously ill patients and their families. She currently serves as Vice President of Operations for the local healthcare planning company, Iris Plans. Elaine’s career has centered on start-up operations, growing companies from seed to success. She is a mental health counselor and massage therapist. Elaine earned her Bachelor's in Communications from William Paterson University and her Master's degree in Psychology and Counseling from Goddard College. She moved to Austin last year after spending her whole life in New Jersey. Elaine began volunteering at H.E.L.P. in 2019 to feed her desire to help the clients while learning about horses. In her spare time, she likes traveling with her adult son Andy and hiking local trails with her rescue dog Ginger.
Beau Whitaker, DVM
Dr. Beau Whitaker grew up near Nashville, Tennessee working on his family's farm. Prior to attending veterinary school, he trained halter horses professionally in north Texas. Beau graduated from Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005. Upon graduation, he completed an internship at Arizona Equine in Gilbert, Arizona. Subsequently, Beau then worked as a veterinarian at the 6666's Ranch in Guthrie, Texas.
Beau moved to Salado, Texas, and joined Dr. T’s Equine Clinic (now Brazos Valley Equine Hospital, Salado) in 2007, where he established a busy lameness and sports medicine clientele. Beau is interested in equine rehabilitation and received his Certification in Equine Rehabilitation Therapy (CERT) in 2014 from the University of Tennessee.