Our Instructors

Bree Vining

Instructor in Training

Bree Vining is an instructor in training. She has been dedicated volunteer at Stockhands since fall of 2014. Bree is a lifelong animal lover and she has been involved in 4H and FFA throughout her life as a member and an advisor. Bree graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in May 2020 with a degree in zoology.

Cassandra Rodriguez

PATH Instructor

Cassandra joined Stockhands in 2015 as a certified PATH instructor. Cassandra graduated from Ohio University Southern in 2013 with her degree in Equine Studies and a concentration in Therapeutic Riding Instruction. She also holds a degree in Special Education from The Ohio State University and teaches for Columbus City Schools. Cassandra and her husband enjoy spending their free time outdoors hiking, hammocking, biking and kayaking.

Celeste Wilson

Instructor in Training

Celeste fell in love with horses from afar at a very young age. Unable to afford lessons when she was young, her and a friend offered free labor in exchange for lessons and the rest is history. Having never owned her own horse and only riding periodically she longed for any opportunity to be around them. Stockhands is her dream come true. Her working career began in the hotel business and ended with the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team. She met her husband, Mark while she was with the CBJ and they were married in Napa, California in 2003. Currently, she works at home to raising two amazing teenagers who keep them laughing and busy. They also have two cats and a dog. In November of 2017, Celeste began volunteering for Stockhands and she is proud to be a part of the amazing work they do. As an instructor in training she loves working with all of our participants, watching them grow and learn.

Chloe Lanka

PATH Instructor

Chloe began riding when she was 13 years old and competed through the Interscholastic Equestrian Association and the American Quarter Horse Association throughout high school, earning national titles. In 2014, she earned a degree in psychology from Miami University. She joined Stockhands as a volunteer in July 2016 and began assisting with lessons in 2017. In August 2018, Chloe became a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor. In addition to teaching lessons, Chloe assists with horse care and training and acts as a coordinator for the Volunteer Instructional Program. When not at the barn, she works as an accountant and enjoys baking and watching baseball.

Courtney Benton

PATH Instructor

Courtney is a current student at Otterbein University, majoring in Early Childhood Education, with a concentration in Special Education/Intervention. Courtney is also minoring in Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies. She has been a PATH Instructor since 2019. Courtney grew up around horses her whole life, riding both Western and English. Courtney has been a volunteer at Stockhands from the beginning and she loves watching our students and participants grow and learn. Helping create lesson plans to challenge them and spark their creativity is fun for both instructor and student! Outside of the barn, Courtney works as a nanny and has a passion for the Columbus Blue Jackets!

Dusty Wachenschwanz

Instructor in Training

Dusty, born and raised in Millfield, Ohio, grew up showing horses at the Athens County Fair and other local shows. Graduating from Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute with Associate Degrees in Equine Science and Livestock Science, Dusty has ridden and shown horses in the Dressage, English and Western disciplines. After OSU ATI, Dusty obtained two Bachelor's Degrees: Animal Science - specialty in Animal Health, with a minor in Farm Business Management; Agricultural Extension Education, with a minor in Behavioral Psychology. After working various State and Private agricultural jobs, Dusty changed career focus and is now working as a Paramedic. Besides spending time at Stockhands volunteering with the Veteran and First Responder groups, Dusty enjoys spending free time playing with his Aussie Shepherd, Koda; competing in 3-Gun matches; and binge watching MASH and Hogans Heroes reruns.

Michelle Lowe

Instructor in Training

Michelle began as a volunteer with a desire to turn her lifelong love of horses into an opportunity to serve her community. She joined the instructional team at Stockhands Horses for Healing in 2019 and is currently working on finishing her PATH instructor certification. She is an elementary school teacher and is the driving force behind the Read with the Horses program. When Michelle isn’t volunteering or teaching, you can find her spending time outdoors with her husband and daughter, or back at the barn riding horses with her daughter. Her dedication to the development of young riders and young readers makes her an asset to the organization.