The following Candidate Statements are listed in alphabetical order under each position currently up for election. Ballots will be mailed out on November 1, and voting closes at midnight on November 15. Results of the election will be announced on December 1, and that is the date that those elected take office.
WE United Candidates for Election – 2019
President Elect – 2 Candidates
Trisha Kiefer-Reed, Candidate for President Elect
“It’s the way you ride the trail that counts.”
~ Dale Evans
Hello, my name is Trisha Kiefer-Reed from Region 1, and I’m honored to be nominated for WE United president elect.
Confession: I’ve been wiggling and hunting up excuses to avoid accepting this position. Even with encouragement from friends, clients, peers and family, I have been dragging my feet. Then, as the deadline approached, I was fretting about how to sound clever and wise. How to convey my intentions without sounding cliche. Then I stumbled across this simple quote…
It reminded me that I don’t have to know everything about the trail. I don’t need to be flawless or fearless. But I do need to get on the trail.
What I’d like you to know –
My lifelong passion for and commitment to horses, coupled with my thirst for knowledge have gotten me this far. I live my life with a sense of fair play and strive to treat people and animals with respect and dignity. As we gather together to play in another sandbox, my aim is to hold fast to sharing knowledge, challenging each other to excel, and keeping the doors open to all levels of riders.
I believe everyone has the right to learn, improve and master finer horsemanship, and that everyone’s journey looks different. This kaleidoscope of styles and traditions found in Working Equitation is unique and deserves my effort to promote and protect.
I’m blessed to make a living doing what I love. As a seasoned instructor, trainer and coach in several disciplines, the horse industry has taught me many poignant life lessons. The resonating theme I try to carry forward is: everyone deserves an opportunity to experience joy with their horse. When Working Equitation crossed my path, my brain went in to overdrive. “Here it is! Here’s a legitimate sport without prejudice that anyone can try.”
Whether or not I’m elected to the board, you can know my passion for this sport will be undaunted. I’m on fire to make this fantastic opportunity available to everyone. If, in addition to competing and instructing, I can contribute in a productive way to help promote this delightful experience, count me in.
Again, thank you for the nomination. My cup runneth over from the friendship and support found in this unique community.
Kiki Pantaze, Candidate for President Elect
Hi, I would like to take a few moments to introduce myself and share my thoughts about the continuing evolution of Working Equitation in the United States. My name is Kiki Pantaze.
I showed Arabians from the mid 80s to the mid 2000s, and have played Polocrosse since 1995. I have been actively involved with and competing in Working Equitation since 2013, and I am committed to this wonderful discipline and the people who make up the community. I have had the good fortune to compete in events from Schooling to A-Rated, and to travel to Portugal to see WE at a high level. I have attended four judging seminars taught by WAWE ambassadors and have ridden in clinics taught by some of the best American and Portuguese clinicians.
As WE has evolved in the USA, I have ridden under several different associations and rulebooks. As someone who has struggled to learn each new set of rules, I understand why the Working Equitation community is eager for a strong, structured and transparent organization. Competitors want fun, affordable events where the rules are easy to navigate and judging is consistent.
In early 2019, I was asked if I would step in as the Region 4 Director. I am familiar with the job because I served on the board of the American Polocrosse Association for 15 years. During that time, I held a variety of positions, eventually serving as Vice President. With that growing sport, I helped develop many programs and policies that are still used today.
After I accepted the Region 4 Director position, I began to research my expected duties. I was frustrated that the By-Laws did not offer much direction. But in them I did see the mention of a Policy and Procedure Manual, and I thought the information I was looking for might be located in that resource. Unfortunately, the people governing WE United have been so busy getting the organization up and running that the manual was never created. Seeing a need, I offered to organize the Manual.
Collecting the information about the mechanics of running WE United, its policies and programs has been a challenge. In the end, I hope to produce a document that will let anyone quickly locate answers to questions they may have about any aspect of WE United and Working Equitation. I hope that my work in producing this Manual will help advance the discipline across all levels in the USA.
Because of my varied background, I think I have a good understanding of the wide range of people the Working Equitation community attracts. I understand and have experience in the duties of serving on a national board. I enjoy working with others and feel I can contribute significantly to the growth, structure and stability of Working Equitation. I feel that my experience will help me be a strong, open minded and productive President-Elect, and I would like the opportunity to serve in that position for WE United.
Susan Watkins, Candidate for President Elect
In late October, Susan Watkins asked to be removed from the 2019 ballot, expressing gratitude for her nomination and acceptance, and explaining that she wanted to focus on continuing to assist the organization in other ways, as she has in the past.
Secretary – 1 Candidate
Tracey Erway, Candidate for Secretary
Who knew that volunteering to scribe at “some show at DevonWood” meant I’d see the first WE United Championships and involve myself forevermore in Working Equitation. I’ve now volunteered many times, attended judging seminars in CA and CO, and am working on NoNa’Me the mustang’s confidence. I’m a USDF L graduate and have judged dressage for 7 years, I’m a WE TD and a TD candidate, and am working on my WE L judge accreditation. I manage a software team at Intel and live in Sherwood, OR. I’d be honored to volunteer as Secretary for this remarkable organization filled with people I call friends.
Region 1 Director – 1 Candidate
Sheila Mealey, Candidate for Region 1 Director
My name is Sheila Mealey, and I am a lifelong horse person. I grew up with Quarter horses on our family farm in Western Wisconsin. I showed at a local level and devoured anything and everything I could about horses. When I left home, I moved to San Diego, CA where I spent 10 years learning more about horses, taking hunter/jumper lessons, serving on the Poway Valley Rodeo committee and performing on the drill team.
I spent the next 20 years working as a professional in the horse industry in NY and VA.
I moved to Missoula, MT in 2012 and joined my brother in his Sport Flooring business. I became a board member of the Big Sky Horse Park in 2014, and have enjoyed organizing the obstacle challenges, helping at mini events, and being a member of an awesome horse community. We were very excited to bring Working Equitation to Montana, when we hosted the first ever WE United sanctioned event in June of 2019. We plan to host two shows every year, and are proud to be one of the few venues that can offer the water filled ditch and upbank.
I have spent many years on various non-profit boards. I’m currently in my 6th year as Vice President of the Missoula Horse Council, which runs the Big Sky Horse Park in Missoula, MT. I was fortunate to meet Trisha Reed in 2018, and have taken several WE clinics with her and competed in my first WE show in June of 2019. I have a great passion for the sport of WE and the state of Montana, and feel that I would be a great advocate.
Region 3 Director – 1 Candidate
Cindy Branham, Candidate for Region 3 Director
Cindy Branham is a John Lyons Certified Trainer & Clinician from Tecumseh, Kansas, with over 25 years in the Equine Industry. She and her husband Ryan Branham own and operate The Rockin RC Ranch, Home of RC Mustang Redemption’s a multi-faceted education, gentling, training, and adoption program that redeems the value of Wild horses and gives hope to people of all ages. We want to influence and help change the lives of people who are physically and or emotionally struggling by introducing them to the healing power of the horse and human connection. She has specialized in the American BLM Mustang for over 10 years, with the goal of educating the Horseman and non-horseman alike of the value and current plight of the legendary American Mustang. Cindy’s mustangs are part of her Equine Mental Health Therapy Program and whom she competes on in Working Equitation.
Working Equitation has become the forefront in her training and coaching program. She specializes in teaching WE Clinics and Private training sessions focusing on understanding how to better communicate with the horse to further develop a balanced and trusting partnership between horse and rider. Cindy is one of the Co-Founders of Working Equitation Kansas. Over the past three years she has helped promote Working Equitation across Kansas hosting 5 successful B-Rated shows averaging 30 competitors at each show. WEKS has had 5-7 B-rated shows a year since it began, including WE clinics and educational opportunities. “WE is the absolute best equine discipline in which it balances building a performance foundation, that then transitions into obstacle’s which develops the all-around working horse and rider. I am excited for the opportunity to expand and help grow the sport of Working Equitation in my region and help to facilitate unity between all current members and people interested in becoming members of our great sport. WE is not only great for setting and accomplishing goals to further improve our horsemanship; but an opportunity to build life-long friendships between horseman and horsewoman from every aspect of the equestrian community world wide.” —Cindy Branham
Region 5 Director – 1 Candidate
Emily Kemp, Candidate for Region 5 Director
I am so grateful to have been on a horsemanship journey for almost my entire life. I’m thrilled that, that endeavor has merged with Working Equitation! I’m passionate about learning more and sharing horsemanship and the sport of WE with others.
I’ve been competing in WE on several of my horses from Level 1- Level 5.
As a regional director I’m looking forward to helping promote the sport and encouraging others along the way.
Region 7 Director – 1 Candidate
Heather Walters, Candidate for Region 7 Director
I’m an FEI level Dressage rider and trainer that participates as a demo rider for local educational events as well, and volunteer whenever possible. I perform secretary duties at multiple shows in Florida, to include Working Equitation Competitions and Clinics, Schooling Dressage Shows, and WDAA/USEF Recognized Dressage Shows. I’m an L-Graduate with Distinction. While I love Classical Dressage, and it’s the basis of my business, Working Equitation caught my eye in 2015 and I fell in love, and haven’t looked back. I am so passionate about WE that I have started a series of shows and clinics at the Florida Horse Park and hope to encourage growth and participation.