About Our Team

About Our Team

Our Director

Elizabeth Howe: is our Executive Director.  Elizabeth is a long term volunteer and has filled many roles with Safe Harbor including PR Manager, Adoption Coordinator, and Trainer.  She is certified in driving, and teaches Safe Harbor’s learn to drive clinics showcasing off track standardbred horses.  Elizabeth works professionally as a marketing professional with over 15 years of experience creating impactful relationships via social media, content marketing and public relations.  She lives on her own farm in Wilson County, TN with horses, chickens, dogs and guineas.

Board of Directors

Sariah Hopkins: is a founding member, former Executive Director and currently serves as Treasurer, she is the owner of our Cottontown Training Center.  This facility includes 13 stalls, The Rogers Group Outdoor Arena, an indoor training arena, and provides an event space for Safe Harbor events as well.  She has loved horses her entire life and rode for the first time on the King Ranch in Texas when she was 14 years old. With a passion to learn all she could about proper rehabilitation, guided by AAEP principles she formed Safe Harbor with a group of devoted equine welfare volunteers.  She has pursued lessons in equine training and riding for the past several years.  Sariah balances rescue with work as a Chief Financial Officer in the private sector, and utilizes her business acumen for development and best practices in the non-profit environment. Sariah holds certification in Equine Nutrition from the University of Edinburgh, Royal School of Veterinary Medicine.

Benjamin Fillmore:  Is a founding member and our Director of Technology.  Benjamin has extensive experience in systems design and technology and has worked with corporations in the public and private sector; including those requiring high end government clearance.  Benjamin guides us on all things database and technology related and is a voting member of our board of directors.

Jane-Ashe Gailmard: Is our Thoroughbred Intake Specialist.  Jane-Ashe works in the racing industry, and works directly with owners to direct horses to safe new careers through Safe Harbor.  Jane-Ashe teaches beginner riding lessons, and has been a lifelong competitor in Eventing.  Jane-Ashe currently competes with her 5 year old OTTB, Heath.

Linda Roca: Joined Safe Harbor first as a foster parent quickly moving into the role of adoption coordinator in 2017.  She resides on a farm in Cottontown, TN with her husband, Mike, 4 adopted horses, and several foster horses along with a lovely group of chickens and rescued cats.  Linda is passionate about equine welfare and understands the challenges faced by adopters who may be newer to horses. She focuses strongly on equine education and making the adoption process safe and smooth for horses and owners of all adoption levels.

Advisory Board

Jessica Lyons: Is our Training Coordinator.  Jessica hails from upstate New York and trained from youth in equitation and huntseat.  She works as a full time professional trainer and teacher with her own lesson business, Lyons Riding, at Antares Stables.  Jessica uses natural horsemanship methods with a strong focus on solving problems from the ground to make riding safe, fun and relaxing.  Jess enjoys spending time with her husband, son, dog, and horse Max when she is not saving the world through rescue and teaching the world through training.  In Jessica’s role she provides day to day guidance to our training volunteers and matches rescue horse to rescue trainer so each horse in the rescue is worked regularly.

Emily Palmer: Is our Volunteer Coordinator.  Emily joined Safe Harbor as a volunteer at the training center while in High School, and quickly took on onboarding other new volunteers; teaching them basic horse handling, life in the barn, and safety around horses.  Emily rides Hunter Jumper on her horse Jazz Man Do, and trail rides on a rescue spotted saddle horse that she personally rehabbed.  She is full of vibrancy and energy, and is a welcome smile to all who enter our barn.  Emily is currently studying Nursing at Cumberland University, but spends all of her off days in her favorite place – the barn.

Kate Read: Is our Events Coordinator.  Kate found Safe Harbor as an adopter of an off track Standardbred, and we fell in love with her and her family during the adoption process.  Kate has helped over the years since adoption with horse camps, girl scout events, day to day farm volunteering and more.  Her daughters, Molly and Lily both ride, and they live on a beautiful Wilson County farm with their two adopted horses from Safe Harbor.  Kate coordinates all of the details that make fundraising events a success for Safe Harbor, and is a detailed project manager.

Dr. Elise Jones, DVM: Is our Primary Veterinarian.  Dr. Jones is a native of Nashville having grown up in the Bellevue area. She saw a need for large animal veterinary care and decided one day filling that role would provide her a career with personal and professional satisfaction. She attended Hume-Fogg Academic Magnet High School which prepared her for the eight years of college at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville. During the first four years Dr. Jones acquired her Bachelors of Science in Animal Science along with a minor in Biology. She served as Scholarship chair for Sigma Alpha- agricultural professional sorority, Treasurer for Alpha Zeta – agricultural honor society, and Captain of the University of Tennessee Equestrian Team. She also completed two internships; one concerning freshwater aquatic environments and one in equine facilities management. The second four years were spent in the College of Veterinary Medicine pursuing her Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine. During this time she served as co-president of the equine medicine club, was an active member of the large animal emergency and colic response team, worked the 2008 Rolex 3-Day event, and presented research findings concerning intestinal parasites of songbirds’ native to the Great Smoky Mountains. Along with general veterinary courses Dr. Jones also completed courses in camelid medicine, equine internal medicine, wildlife disease, large animal handling, FEMA large animal disaster preparedness, and Veterinary Spanish. She also completed three externships during her final clinical year. Dr. Jones is an avid trail rider and has a special interest in preventative medicine and senior equine care.

Professional memberships
AVMA – American Veterinary Medical Association
TVMA – Tennessee Veterinary Medical Association
AAEP – American Association of Equine Practitioners
AASRP – American Association of Small Ruminant Practitioners
AQHA – American Quarter Horse Association – Lifetime Member

IVCA – International Veterinary Chiropractic Association
CVA – Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist

Our Volunteers

Our team is comprised of a great group of advocates that give of their time to support our cause.  We hold volunteer orientation six times throughout the year, and welcome all who would like to get involved.

We would also like to acknowledge the following critical members of our team:

Mackenzie Gantor – Event Planner and New Volunteer Trainer

Debra Ramos – Event Planner and New Volunteer Trainer

Brenda Lees – Primary Transporter

Debbie Schuld – Foster Liaison

Dawn Roberts – Foster Liaison

Sterling Bishir – Volunteer Trainer

Kensington Bishir – Volunteer Trainer

Hilary Hoffman – Volunteer Trainer


Michelle Elaine Martin – Reiki and Qigong Healing Master Teacher

Kathy McQuiston – Correspondant