2016 Election: Candidate Statements

WE United 2016 Election

The WE United 2016 election is being handled by the independent balloting company Simply Voting. All US Adult members should be receiving an email with instructions for password-protected voting by October 4, 2016.  If you have not received a ballot by noon, October 4, please check your spam folder, and if you still cannot locate the email from Simply Voting, please immediately notify us at so we can ensure that we have your current email address on file with us.

Thank you in advance for participating in WE United’s first election!

WE United Candidate Statements

Please note: All Candidate Statements received by the October 1st deadline are included here.

When more than one member is running for a particular seat, candidate statements are listed alphabetically, by candidates’ last name. Candidate statements will also appear on the ballots circulated by Simply Voting.

Julie Alonzo, Candidate for President

My involvement in WE extends almost a decade. I was introduced to the sport as a member of the United States Equestrian Federation’s AL Committee, tasked with writing rules to enable us to begin to offer WE classes at USEF shows. Several of us on that committee devoted time to the rules, but I’m embarrassed to admit we made little headway.  Creating a complete set of rules for a new sport as complex as WE presented great challenges.  Fortunately, the Committee Chair asked member Bruce W. Menke if he would be willing to help out. Bruce’s attention to detail and training as project manager for an architectural firm helped wrestle the rules into order, and we eventually managed to add them to the USEF rulebook.  I was impressed!  Soon thereafter, several of us on the committee, including me and Bruce, had the opportunity to attend a week-long judge seminar taught by the international judge trainer for the World Association for Working Equitation. We quickly realized that the rules needed updating, and turned our attention to making the necessary changes to match WAWE’s expectations. This work resulted in the rules published by WEIAUSA. Additional experience from attending more judge seminars, assisting international judges with U.S. competitions, and hosting and attending clinics with international WE trainers, judges, and competitors, led us to make additional adaptations to the rules.

We formed WE United in February 2016, when it became evident that the privately-owned WE group for which we’d volunteered our time for the past few years was determined not to transition to a nonprofit, as we’d thought was the plan. Knowing that for the group to reach its potential, it would need multiple perspectives, I asked five members of the WE community from across the country to join me and Bruce as members of the Transition Committee, an interim board. I’m proud of all the TC accomplished: we built a comprehensive website, developed popular Performance Awards Programs, formed relationships with breed associations and corporate partners, successfully earned 501(c)(3) public benefit charity status, published a comprehensive set of rules closely aligned with the World expectations for the sport, wrote Bylaws to govern the organization, and are holding our first election – all within the timeframe we proposed when we formed in February.

As WE United moves into our second year, we have a number of important projects to see to fruition: collaborating with the other WE groups to adopt a single set of rules/dressage tests for use throughout the US (fortunately, we have lots of experience with this!), the development of a comprehensive and rigorous judge education/licensure program, continued outreach to parts of the country where WE activity is just starting to take hold, and working with a computer programmer to create a searchable online database for tracking horse and rider performance over time, much like programs offered by USEA and USDF. This is truly an exciting moment for the sport here in the U.S. Your vote will help ensure the success of these initiatives.

Tarrin Warren, Candidate for President

My name is Tarrin Warren. I have been nominated for President. I live in Milano, Texas with my husband and two kids. We breed Quarter Horses. I teach lessons and train a limited number of outside horses in addition to our homebred horses. I have been involved in WE for four years. I am currently a carded judge with all three national Working Equitation associations. I teach WE clinics throughout the United States. I have shadow judged with multiple international judges, ridden with multiple international clinicians, and scribed for our judges in the USA. I have organized shows and clinics domestically to help with growth of WE.

My goal for WE is to have a single set of rules and dressage tests for the United States. I want to see a judge’s program that has comprehensive continued education guidelines, a professional program, and educational programs recognized by ALL the national organizations. My goal for the United States is UNITY so we can continue to grow the sport domestically and work on developing an international team once we receive WAWE protocol. In order to receive that protocol we need to work harder in the USA to bring the national associations together to work towards common goals. As president I would work for open communication between the national bodies while continuing to develop and grow the program WE United has by working with the BOD and encouraging the body of WE United to help serve on committees that will support those programs.

Barbara Price, Candidate for President Elect

Thank you for your nomination for the position of President-Elect. I would like to serve as President-Elect on behalf of WE United for several reasons.

I love the discipline of Working Equitation (WE), and have great respect for its historical significance and its unique capacity for developing diversity in both horses and riders.  No other equine discipline in my 25+ years of owning, riding and showing horses has captured my interest and enthusiasm like WE.

Perhaps most germane to serving on the WE United board, I would like to see more collaboration among the various U.S. WE groups and associations. All of the key associations have done invaluable work introducing and developing the discipline. The time has come for these groups to collaborate more effectively to promote this relatively new sport. It is very important to attract national level competitors, but also local and regional riders/competitors of all levels. Advancing equine sports in the U.S. is an arduous process, and moving WE forward will require the support of all involved. It’s imperative at this early stage of formalizing WE in this country that bureaucracy and politics be minimized for the future of the sport.

I’ve been an active WE participant for several years as a rider, coach and judge. Currently I am a licensed WE United ‘r’ judge and a WEIAUSA ‘L’ judge. I own two P.R.Es, two American Aztecas, and two Iberian pony crosses, five of which are trained, or in training, for working equitation. In years past, I was an adult amateur rider/student in the dressage and hunt seat disciplines.

Professionally, I’ve spent nearly 30 years as a corporate marketing and communications executive, most of it with Fortune 100 companies. I have a deep understanding of the business, personnel and financial intricacies necessary to successfully run an organization.

I appreciate your consideration.

Barbara Price

Michele Lincoln, Candidate for Secretary

Working Equitation is my new passion and it would be an honor to serve as Secretary for WE United. My name is Michele Lincoln and I am from a small town just outside of Lincoln, NE. I am 45 years old and have had a love for horses my whole life. I grew up with the basics in 4-H and then started focusing on the relationship and my horsemanship with natural horsemanship. I am so excited to have discovered Working Equitation and would like the opportunity to support the sport.

My employment experience and elected positions I have held makes me a prime candidate for this position. I was a Municipal Clerk/Treasurer for ten years where I was responsible for recording minutes and maintaining all records; preparing meeting notices, agenda’s and publications; worked with boards, committees and community groups; and maintaining compliance with all state and federal regulations. I then moved on to work for the County Sheriff’s Office for six years where I maintained arrest and mental health warrants. For the last three years I have been with the County Assessor/Register of Deeds where I process land records, Personal Property returns and Homestead Exemption applications. I have served as Secretary, Treasurer and President of a local community improvement group and as Secretary/Treasurer, Vice President and President of an area clerk association.

I have integrity and am very approachable. With my employment history and enthusiasm for Working Equitation, I believe it would be the perfect opportunity to use my experience to help build such an incredible and worthwhile organization.

Bruce W. Menke – Candidate for Secretary

I have had the pleasure of meeting many, but not all of you, yet. I have been continually involved in the development and the promotion of Working Equitation in the United States since January of 2010. I, working in coordination with many others, have had the rewarding opportunity to participate in the building of the sport here in the US. I have extensively worked on rules, scoring and other forms, conducted and coordinated clinics, competitions, and have worked to build organizational infrastructure.

In February of this year, I was honored to be included in the Transition Committee of WE United. That committee laid the foundation for WE United, establishing numerous programs, drafting bylaws which we expect to be adopted by the new board upon election, and conducting the elections in which you are participating. The guiding principle for our work has been to build an organization and the sport on the tenets of integrity, inclusivity, and positivity. It is my sincere hope and goal to honor and extend that foundation.

I was the Secretary of the IALHA during 2010/2011. During a particularly challenging year, I was not only able to document all meetings in a timely and complete manner, but also put into place many organizational frameworks. I bring this experience that I believe can be very beneficial to the functioning of WE United.

Those of you who have met me know how important WE is to me. Whether sharing rules or how obstacles are made, conducting seminars, watching horses and riders negotiate a course I have designed, etc., when I talk or walk WE, I get enthusiastic. For good or bad, it is a passion of mine to help the sport develop, to introduce new people to the sport, and help and watch them grow and improve. I believe the sport has so much to offer to horses and riders.

I believe with the foundation laid for WE United, the organization is poised to help the sport grow here in the US. By following our guiding principles and continuing to introduce and manage programs designed to augment the sport and those attracted to it, Working Equitation has every opportunity to not only grow, but excel.

I ask for your vote so that I may help continue the good work that has begun.

Thank you.

Bruce. W. Menke

Cari Schwartz, Candidate for R1 Director

Hello everyone, I am Cari Schwartz, and I am nominated for Regional Director. I care a lot about the success of WE United and Working Equitation in the USA since experiencing the first show at the Oregon State Fair 3 years ago. Julie Alonzo introduced WE during the Andalusian/Lusitano breed show there. I followed and learned more about the sport for the following year, bringing students and their horses and introduced my own horse, Exsarena to novice at the first recognized show. Well, I was hooked! I proceeded to compete at Intermediate level at every show possible, volunteered at Haras Cup, participated in 5-day judging seminar, gave clinics, demonstrated at Pacific North West and Washington Horse Expo, judged schooling shows, rode and audited Nuno Matos clinics, and participated in two full 5-day Pedro Torres Trainers Seminars. I am currently an L judge, WE United top Intermediate competitor, and prepared to show Advanced in 2017.

I am prepared to be the voice for the members in our PNW region. I am passionate and patient about helping the development of this fantastic sport. I have over 40 years of competitive experience with different breeds and disciplines for United States Equestrian Federation or U.S.E.F and formerly A.H.S.A.,or American Horse Show Association, such as Hunter Equitation, Eventing, and Dressage . I have worked with youth groups nationally such as 4-H and Pony Club, and locally with Oregon High School Equestrian Team, or OHSET. I feel my diversity will allow me to create a level playing field for all breeds, age, and style of competitors. The priority being the harmony between horse and rider, the training and technical skills being displayed, and clearly written and understood rules. I will be available for all members to answer any questions and support you on your journey in whatever way possible.

Thank you,

Cari Schwartz

Polly Limond, Candidate for R2 Director

As a long time dressage rider, trainer and competitor I have recently become very excited about working equitation and hope to have a strong role in helping it grow in the United States with strong membership and active chapters.

I have over 30 years of retail management and administrative experience.

I am a USDF bronze and silver medalist, and silver freestyle medalist. I participated in the USDF L Judges Program and graduated with distinction. I am a member of the Pedro Torres Academy and recently participated in the Intensive Training Seminar with Nuno Matos. I have several students that I have coached to Bronze and Silver medals and also to High Points, Regional Championship placings and RAAC Championships.

I am ready to take on the responsibility of Regional Director, bringing new ideas and respecting the contributions of those who have supported this sport thus far.

Kimmie Peterson, Candidate for R3 Director

I am honored to run for a director position. I am from central Nebraska and over the years have held many officer and directorships for many different horse clubs. I train my own horses and compete on a national and world level in Appaloosa, AQHA, Palomino, classical dressage, western dressage and now working equitation. I take every opportunity to introduce horse people to WE. Working eq combines everything I like to do in training and showing. My hope is to now help Working Eq storm the nation and gather new riders from everywhere. I will be dedicated to the group and do all I can to promote the sport. I have been involved in horses in a serious level my entire life and have a broad experience in both holding an office, showing and training. I have been a 4-h leader and helped put on and organize shows including secretarial duties and hiring judges. Have started clubs and held many offices. I am not afraid of hard work and will share my experience when needed. Let’s get Working Equitation going on a National level and see where it takes us. I see a bright future.

Chris Stanko, Candidate for R3 Director

My name is Chris Stanko. I live in Loveland Colorado. I am running for Regional Director for Region 3. I have been involved in WE since 2007/2008 promoting the sport, participating in and teaching clinics. I have facilitated many WE clinics and shows in Colorado. I am one of the founders for High Country Working Equitation. We now have over 70 members, and became a 501c3 this year. I would like to continue my work on a national level with WE United. I strongly believe WE needs a single set of rules and tests for the USA.  I will fight for the WE riders in the US to unify and collaborate on one set of rules and one set of tests. That will make it easier for all of us to learn and compete in this wonderful sport.

I have personally competed more in the last 2 years.  This year my biggest show was the Andalusian World cup in Vegas. My horse, CO, and I ended up 4th overall in the Open Intermediate division.

My desire is to grow Working Equitation in the US and to unify the sport in this country. We have an awesome WE community and I would like to help stabilize and grow the sport and the family as much as I can.

Doreen Atkinson, Candidate for R4 Director

Working Equitation came to my knowledge about 5 years ago and I have enjoyed the sport since I found it. My horse, Obadi Del Dios, and I competed and have won at the novice, intermediate, and advanced levels of WE. I continue to train, study, and invest my time in the sport of working equitation. A judges’ seminar was offered and taught by WAWE training program for judges, in which I attended and became recognized and approved to judge WE. I have and continue to judge some shows offered around the country.

Also, I teach horsemanship and riding at Highlander Ranch in Waco, Texas. I am a certified riding instructor with Certified Horsemanship Association. Currently, I have earned the USDF bronze and sliver medals and am working my on my gold medal.

I have own many different breeds of horses and won several regional awards, national championships, year-end awards and, horse of the year horse award in dressage and competitive trail competition.

My home is in West, outside of Waco where I have lived for 10 years. Before moving here, my late husband and I owned and operated his veterinary business in Aubrey, Texas. We raised three children, 2 daughters and one son in Aubrey. I have one grandson and three granddaughters.

Being nominated for regional director is an honor and if elected, I will do my best to represent region 4.

One goal is to see the USA unite together in WE and become approved by the WAWE and have an international team to compete in the world competition of WE.

Thank you for considering me as regional director in WE United.

Howard Peet, Candidate for R5 Director

If you know me, you know that I believe that teamwork and hard work pay off.  I have been involved in working equitation as a competitor, student, and trainer for several years now and have helped organize clinics and schooling shows in California when my wife Erica and I lived there, and more recently in Illinois and Wisconsin, where we are very happy to be living now.  I have been a student in the Pedro Torres Academy of Working Equitation, USA since Nuno Matos’ first visit to the United States two years ago, and have competed and placed on horses I have trained at both the 2014 and 2015 Haras Cup Championship Working Equitation Show in Texas.  Since moving to Northern Illinois, Erica and I have worked with the extended WE family in the Great Lakes Area to offer introductory clinics, more advanced seminars, and multiple schooling shows with a variety of clinicians and judges, all with the goal of helping the sport develop and grow properly in this region. We have donated all of the proceeds from events we have hosted back to the sport, using the money to purchase awards, cover event insurance, and fund events in the region.

I have been honored to serve as a member of the WE United Transition Committee since February of 2016, where I have been able to contribute to the development of the many programs that make WE United such a great organization for supporting the sport across the country.  I am running for the position of Region 5 Director because I want to see the sport, and WE United, succeed. Life is Awesome! And Fun! WE is a great sport, with great people. I want to continue to support that growth.

Kimberly da Silva, Candidate for R6 Director

To the Voting Members of WE United,
I am really excited to be nominated for the Regional Director for the East Coast. I spent seven years in Brazil learning Working Equitation and became fluent in Portuguese. I worked and studied with Fabio Lombardo, who was World Champion in Working Equitation. I competed in Brazil up to the Intermediate level, attended judges’ clinics, and scribed for judges during my time in Brazil. I have been back in the United States for nine years. During that time, I have tried to promote and educate people about the sport through clinics and talks. My full time job is a special education teacher in an elementary school. I understand the different needs of individuals. I know how to listen to issues and break apart a problem to figure out a solution. If I become elected, I would use these skills to continue to promote my passion for Working Equitation and be a voice for the members in my region.

Thank You,

Kimberly da Silva

Ruth Perez, Candidate for R7 Director
I have devoted over 25 years to horses as a professional trainer. Specializing in Doma Vaquera, Dressage and Halter. I have successfully won many Regional and National Competitions. Was awarded Professional Horsewoman of the Year from the International Andalusian and Lusitano Association. I have traveled numerous times to Spain to train closely with top Classical and Doma Vaquera trainers and develop an extensive knowledge to bring back to my students and horses. I travel to a few states during the year, working with riders emphasizing classical principles.

I have coached riders from lower levels up to Grand Prix and have helped them be successful in earning their USDF medals.

My husband Joey Perez, Heather Walters and myself are working very closely together to properly educate riders about Working Equitation.

My Focus is to expose all levels of horse and rider to Working Equitation by actively continuing to do more clinics and shows.  By doing so, riders will get the proper educational experience and knowledge of what this sport is all about.

A PDF of the 2016 Candidate Statements can be downloaded by CLICKING HERE


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