The Horse Shelter

Rescuing Abused, Abandoned and Neglected  Horses Throughout New Mexico

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First Place: Clint Mortenson with Dreamer

Clint is a silversmith, artist, and horseman. He 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.

Dreamer, a three year old light roan gelding was adopted at the event!

Clint Mortenson  (505) 424-9330,

Third Place: Michelle DeCanditis  with James

Michelle DeCanditis has practiced occupational therapy for over 12 years and is a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist. In addition, she has a Master of Science degree in Human Movement. Michelle blends her education and clinical experience to provide a unique approach to teaching riders and training horses that centers around an understanding of behavior, movement, the nervous system, and the motor learning process.  Michelle has been actively involved with horses since childhood and has earned accolades locally and nationally ranging from hunter over fences and dressage to working cow horse, reining, ranch sorting, and versatility ranch horse.

James was adopted at the event!

Michelle DeCanditis         


Fifth Place: Rogelio Enriquez with Little Red

Rogelio, was born in Zacatecas, Mexico in 1969 where he lived on a ranch and learned about horses from his father and brothers. He has been training horses since he was ten years old.

Little Red is available for adoption!

Rogelio Enriquez, 505-501-5977

Second Place: Loal Tucker with Tom Thunder

Loal is a third-generation rancher and horseman whose family has been ranching in New Mexico for 150 years. During his youth, Loal spent summers on horseback at a ranch high in the Pecos Mountains, learning how to work cows, mend fences, lead pack strings, and hunt.

Loal is a highly respected trainer and clinician. To date, he has started over 400 colts. In addition, he offers the following clinics throughout the year: Confidence Building, Introduction to Working Cattle, and Ranch Versatility. Loal tailors his teaching style to accommodate the personalities and abilities of both horses and people. He is an accomplished speaker and showman. Throughout the year Loal offers clinics such as Stock Horse Days to help promote and continue the tradition of stock horses.

Tom Thunder, was adopted at the event!

Loal Tucker, (505) 469-0834,

Fourth Place: Stephanie Gershon with Mateo

Stephanie spent her junior years riding and showing sale horses and earned many Champion and Reserve Champion awards in shows. She was recruited to ride for the Equestrian team at New Mexico State University and received All American Honors in Equitation on the Flat for NCAA (now NCEA) Varsity Equestrian. Through NMSU’s horse starting classes, Stephanie also worked on her western riding and produced the top selling horse at the NMSU sale. Stephanie worked for 5 time Olympian Show Jumper, Anne Kursinski, and is currently head trainer at Skybound Farm and has helped many horses and riders of all different backgrounds. Though she considers hunter/jumpers to be her specialty, her diverse experience in multiple disciplines allows her to cultivate a horse’s strengths and allow them to reach their potential.

Mateo was adopted at the event!

Stephanie Gershon, (505)670-8562,

Here the 2015 Gimme Shelter Trainers in order of their placement at the event

Most videos are courtesy of Donna Wells, director and videographer. She is currently working on a documentary of The Horse Shelter’s Gimme Shelter Event. The Clint Mortenson video is courtesy of CindyRoper.

Giselle in training with Erlene Seybold-Smythe

Erlene Seybold-Smythe is a third generation horsewoman. Erlene Seybold-Smythe was raised at Roy-El, quite literally on a horse. She won her first national title at the age of four. As a teen she studied saddle-seat equitation under Nancy Whipple Becker, one of the world’s leading equitation trainers, President of the International Saddle-Seat Equitation Association and coach of the Saddle-Seat Equitation World Cup team. Ms. Seybold-Smythe also studied hunt seat, hunt seat equitation, and jumping from Jeffray Ryding, a Level III certified instructor with the U.S. Eventing Association, of Goose Downs Farm, a 3-Day Eventing Center. Rounding out her education, Ms. Seybold-Smythe studied western equitation and western riding from Deborah Warrick of Albuquerque, NM, a noted Quarter Horse and western seat trainer. 

Giselle was adopted at the event!

Erlene Seybold-Smythe (505)603-6016,

Eight Place: Maureen Mestas with Giambi

Maureen began riding at the age of five and is a graduate of New Mexico Military Institute – being among one of the first classes of women to be admitted to the school. At NMMI, she was involved in the rodeo team, polo and hunter/jumper events. She trained in Hunter Equitation and Hunter with her TB gelding whom she trained herself. In 1994, dressage caught her attention.She began riding and training with Conrad Schumacher in Germany and the U.S. She also trained with Jan Ebeling, Herwig Radnetter, Andreas Hausberger, Michael Rohrmann, and Dorothy Morkis. Maureen trained extensively in Germany and has 10 years of equine riding and management training in Germany. Maureen currently trains horses in dressage and breeds Warmbloods for dressage and other sports and has a yearling program for young horses.

Giambi was adopted at the event!

Maureen Mestas (505) 310-1050,

Sixth Place: John Wayne Haynes with Vanessa

John Wayne started riding at the young age of four. He has been around horses and cared for them all his life and no horse incurred injuries were able to deter him from his love of riding. John relocated from MI to NM in 2008 on horseback, with a pack horse and his dog Sheila. Six months and three weeks later he arrived in Santa Fe.

Vanessa was adopted at the event!

John Wayne Haynes (313) 460-1780

Seventh Place: Michele Wolford with Dally

Michele took over Dally’s training the week before the competition when his intial trainer resigned. Michele is one half of The Horse Shelter’s ranch manager team and is also our Volunteer Coordinator. As Dally had not received a lot of training, Michele had only five rides on him before entering the arena. Michele started riding at the age of nine. She showed horses throughout her adult life and was a professional horse trainer. Michele is a certified farrier, has been certified in EGALA and managed a horse show team for El Pueblo boys & girls ranch. Her vast experience and love for horses is a huge asset and benefit to our horses.

Dally is available for adoption!

Michele Wolford(505) 577-2193,