The Horse Shelter

Rescuing Abused, Abandoned and Neglected  Horses Throughout New Mexico

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Board Member Profiles

Jennifer Rios


Jennifer Rios is married to Martin Rios and the mother of two daughters, Emma and Anneliese. She has her undergraduate degree from Skidmore College and an MBA from Georgetown. She owned her own, Public Relations firm in Santa Fe for nine years and is currently the Co-Owner/General Manager of Santa Fe's "Restaurant Martin" with her husband.

Jennifer has been an “animal person” all of her life and currently shares her home with nine animals: four dogs, two cats, two box turtles and a crab, almost all rescues. Horses became a priority for Jennifer when her mother, Jan Bandler, founder of The Horse Shelter passed away prematurely in 2004 and Jennifer assumed the role of President of the Board of the organization.

Jay Ritter

Vice President

Jay was born in Newark, New Jersey. He received his college degree in

fine arts specializing in photography.

Jay is married to Beth Ritter and has three daughters. Heis the owner of the Squeaky Clean Car Washes in Santa Fe.

Jay’s daughter, Meredith, is in nursing school, rides daily and has participated in the sport of three day eventing. Jay spent much time at the barn with his daughter and decided to start riding himself. Now Jay has two horses that he rides every day.

Jay is passionate about The Horse Shelter and improving the lives of the abused and neglected horses in New Mexico.

Arlen Sarkissian


Arlen received his undergraduate degree in Accounting & Finance from California State University in Dominguez Hills in 1988. Arlen has spent the past 22 years as Controller and Director of Operations for various Fortune 500 companies. Currently, Arlen is President of Sarkissian Consulting, a local accounting firm, specializing in Sana Fe based businesses.

Arlen and his wife Robin, moved to from Los Angeles to Santa Fe in 1995. They were married in 1996. Together Arlen and Robin are parents to Lauren 13, Noah 10 and Megan 8. The Sarkissian family live in Santa Fe with their six dogs (five of them rescued). Arlen and Robin often are picking up strays and finding their owners or homes for them and have shared the experience with their children.

Arlen Has been a financial advisor to The Horse Shelter for the past two years and is currently on the Board of Directors of The Horse Shelter.

Tara Earley


Marketing & Event Planning

November of 2012 brought a much awaited change for Tara and Stephen Earley. They had been visiting New Mexico for 30 years and have had a second home in Santa Fe for 25 years. As of November 1, 2012, the Earleys changed their residency from Half Moon Bay, California to Santa Fe, New Mexico. Tara and Stephen Earley are partners in life and in business, owning Earley & Earley Marketing Communications Agency, Inc., which specializes in website development, print advertising, direct response, custom promotions, sales collateral and trade shows.

Tara has long been a horse woman with two APHA mares in New Mexico and will relocate her gelding to New Mexico in the spring. "The relationship between humans and horses is one of earned trust and respect - or not. The Horse Shelter speaks to both. I was honored to be asked to join the Board of The Horse Shelter and look forward to applying my personal love of horses and my professional marketing skills to support the mission and the goals of this impassioned organization."

Carole Berger

Fund Raisers and Annual Events

Carole was born and raised in New York City where she remained until she married. She and her husband then moved to the suburbs of New York City where they raised 2 daughters who are now married with children of their own. Carole and her husband moved to Santa Fe in 1999.

Carole served as an event planner on the boards of Silver Bullet Productions and The Grand Prix de Santa Fe as well as The Horse Shelter. She can often be found walking her dogs, riding her horses, skiing, or at the gym.

Carole has been instrumental in making The Horse Shelter events successful.

Berkley Chesen, DVM, DACVS-LA

Veterinary Care and Equine Health

I grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska riding horses (hunters, jumpers and young race horses). I graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1996 and went to Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine in West Lafayette, IN.

After graduation in 2000, I moved to Lexington, KY where I completed an internship at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute. I stayed in Lexington, working for Hagyards until 2005.

In 2001-2002 I completed the International Veterinary Acupuncture Society Acupuncture Course in Houston, TX and became certified. I also became certified in Large Animal Rescue and have assisted in several natural and man-made disasters.

In 2005, I moved to College Station, TX for a large animal surgery residency, which I completed in July, 2008. I became board certified in Large Animal Surgery (diplomate of American College of Veterinary Surgeons) in 2009. I have stayed on at TX A&M as an emergency clinician and surgeon for the year.

My husband, Ben, and I enjoy the outdoors, especially backpacking, skiing, snow shoeing, and spending time with our dogs. I am currently learning German and riding my young mare as often as possible!

Beth Longanecker

Trainer Program

Beth Longanecker grew up on the back of a horse and her passion for horses runs deep. She has successfully owned, operated and managed several of her own horse farms in Colorado and New Mexico and currently runs and owns Sunset Trails Ranch in Santa Fe, NM with her partner of 8 years Jim Blake. Throughout her career she has trained and owned many state and world champion horses and coached several youth and novice amateur teams to top wins in the Quarter Horse and Paint industry. Her focus now is on really dependable, reliable and well broke trail horses and on setting up trail adventures for groups. She has a real talent for pairing up the right horse and rider to become a real life long partnership. An active advocate for saving mustangs, Beth is a strong supporter of The Horse Shelter’s mission to rescue neglected and abused horses. In conjunction with THS she saved and kept a horse and also reported a horrible abuse situation, which resulted in three horses being rescued from starvation and added to the THS herd for rehabilitation.

Beth feels it is important to implement new training programs at The Horse Shelter to allow these horses to reach their potential and increase their adoptability, so they can find their forever homes. Her expertise is vital in designing and overseeing a new full circle training program at The Horse Shelter as well as the new “Gimme Shelter -Trainers Rally For Rescues” event.

Clint Mortenson

Equine Community Outreach

Silversmith, artist, and horseman Clint Mortenson grew up in Aberdeen, South Dakota where his father, a horse trainer, and his mother, an artist, encouraged the development of his talents at a young age.  His travels have taken him to Hollywood, where he managed a custom leather goods store while training horses and giving riding lessons at Will Rogers Ranch in Pacific Palisades. From there, he went to Disneyland Paris to perform in "Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show" and began making saddles and other tack for the show.  After returning to the states, he settled in South Dakota for a while before moving his business to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Thomas Smart

Legal Advisor

Thomas A. Smart graduated from Dartmouth College summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa in 1971.  Thereupon, he entered the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he headed the Law School’s Moot Court Board, graduating in 1974. Mr. Smart practiced law as an associate with Davis, Graham & Stubbs in Denver, Colorado from June, 1974 to October, 1975, when he joined Kaye Scholer, LLP in New York as an associate. Mr. Smart became a partner in Kaye Scholer in 1982 and shortly thereafter became head of the firm’s Trademark, Copyright and False Advertising Group, a position he held continuously until his retirement at the end of 2011. Mr. Smart also served as Kaye Scholer’s Chairman of Recruiting for new associates for some ten years.  During his more than 36 years of practicing law, Mr. Smart specialized in litigation involving trademarks, copyrights, false advertising, and consumer fraud class actions, representing, inter alia, Pfizer, Novartis, Sanofi, Staples, Disney/ABC, and Hershey, and handling cases in both state and federal courts throughout the United States Mr. Smart is an avid equestrian, owning and taking care of two horses on his property on Lone Butte Drive in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and competing in both Eventing and stadium jumping events. He is widowed and has two adult sons.

Jack McCarthy

Volunteer Outreach

Born in the Midwest, lived in Maine, spent time in India, Jack McCarthy and his family have called New Mexico home for the last 23 years.  Jack has been a Regional Director for the National Safety Council in the Northeast US and Canada, and Director for Program Development in the Midwest.  Upon coming to the Southwest, he worked for the state of New Mexico and became Deputy Director for the Museums of New Mexico. Prior to his retirement, his last project was overseeing the building of the New Mexico History Museum (NMHM) in Santa Fe, New Mexico which opened in 2009.

McCarthy has degrees in Art and Cross-Cultural Art History.  He is a published author and has also been involved in illustrating works by other authors. In addition to being an artist, he is also an historian; focusing on the American West.  And there is no doubt that the animal icons of West are the American Bison and the Horse.  

Since there are very few bison in the Santa Fe area, Jack is a volunteer at the Horse Shelter and enjoys spending time weekly with these magnificent animals. In addition, he has recently been named to the Board of the Horse Shelter. As a new member of the THS Board, he is dedicated to working with fellow members in creating a new life for abused, abandoned, and rescued horses.  As he so often says, “animals make us better people.”