Board of Directors
Joey started volunteering at BDF shortly after it was established and became a board member in 2007. She has spent most of her life riding horses and worked as a riding instructor before moving to Georgia. She is retired from the UGA Cooperative Extension where she worked as a 4-H Program Assistant in Oconee County. She now enjoys spending plenty of time with her granddaughter. As board president, Joey is an invaluable source of information and support for connecting volunteers and community members to the farm. She oversees short and long-term service projects with the program and heads up all major fundraising functions benefiting the farm.
Cat was born in Limestone, Maine, but since her father was in the Air Force, she moved throughout the country during her childhood years. After starting college at Oregon State University, she transferred to the University of Georgia in 1985 and has lived in Watkinsville ever since. Cat works as a speech therapist and specializes in working with children who are medically fragile, have severe communication deficits, and have difficulties with feeding and swallowing. Cat worked for St. Mary’s hospital in Athens, Georgia, for eight years, but she now has an outpatient pediatric therapy practice in Watkinsville, Georgia, that employs physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Cat has seven adopted children, a birth child, and now a stepdaughter. She has also been blessed with five grandchildren. She co-founded BDF Therapeutic Riding Program with friend Tracy Mosher, after the loss of her daughter. Alli was an adopted, severely disabled child who, during her short life, experienced great healing and joy from her love of the horses at the farm that is now BDF.
Judy is a retired public school educator with more than 30 years as an administrator and teacher in the Oconee County and Greene County public school systems. Twenty-five years ago Judy ‘cantered’ into the equine world with her daughter’s obsession with horses. When her daughter left for college, she realized she missed the equestrian community and was happy to be able to support the mission of BDF by serving on the Board of Directors. She values the team effort of therapists, trainers, volunteers and parents to provide an incredible experience for the clients at BDF. Mrs. Marable is committed to serving the local community as a volunteer, mentor, and member of several organizations.
Kat has been a professional in the hunter/jumper industry for 23 years. She is the owner and operator of Four Seasons Farm, an active showing and training facility in Madison, Georgia. Kat has been on the board of BDF for 10 years and is extremely proud of her involvement with this wonderful organization. She loves what the horses do for all the children and adults involved with the program.
Diana and her husband Cliff relocated to Bishop from Columbia, South Carolina four years ago, and are the parents of two daughters, and have two grandchildren. They have a quarter horse named Hope and 2 mini horses, Gabby and Rose, that live with their daughter in Commerce. Diana began volunteering at BDF as a side-walker and horse leader in 2014, and shortly after she took over the position of Treasurer on the Board of Directors.
Emily Kittrell, Public Relations Sub-Committee
Emily grew up in northwest Arkansas, right in the heart of Razorback country. Her family raised Missouri Fox Trotters, so she was fortunate to experience first-hand the special bond that can develop between horse and rider. She learned at an early age that horses are powerful and deeply intuitive creatures, and that, unlike other animals that are naturally more obedient, building a relationship with them requires respect, patience, and trust. Emily first learned about equine-assisted therapy during graduate school, and she has been a passionate advocate ever since. She joined the BDF Board in 2013 and currently serves on the PR committee. Emily has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Arkansas and a M.S. in Family Studies from the University of Kentucky. She is the Assistant Director for the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Georgia.
Mandi is a Georgia native who received her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from the University of Georgia and J.D. from Pepperdine School of Law. She became involved with BDF when her youngest son began hippotherapy. Her son did traditional speech therapy in an office setting for several years. When they transitioned to hippotherapy they found he was more calm and engaged during the sessions. After seeing this powerful transformation with her own child, Mandi decided to donate her time and valuable expertise in both the legal field and PR.
Dana is an equine veterinarian in Watkinsville, Georgia. She grew up in Michigan, and her grandfather encouraged her passion with horses. She began riding at age seven and always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. She graduated from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1998 and moved to Georgia in 2000 with her husband, Dr. John Peroni, who is a large-animal-surgeon at the University of Georgia. Dana opened Covered Bridge Equine in the fall of 2002. She and John have two children, Julia and Luca, and live on a small farm in Watkinsville. She also owns three horses, four dogs and 60,000 honeybees. She enjoys trail riding, running, walking her dogs and yoga. She is very happy to support BDF and to be a member of its board.
Marie was “bitten by the horse bug” at an early age. Over the years she has shown hunter/jumpers, plantation walking horses and exercised off-the-track Thoroughbreds. After taking a few years off to raise her children, she resumed teaching when her daughter turned six. She spent many years as an instructor and riding program director at Camp Loquastee, Camp Ton-A-Wandah and Valley View Ranch. Her family was active in Hilltoppers Pony Club and eventing through her daughter’s college years with her horses. She has taught Special Education and reading classes in schools across North Carolina and Georgia and is now retired. Today, she and her husband selectively breed, and board UGA Event Team members’ horses, area trainers and their students.