Meet our Friendly Staff

Project R.I.D.E.’s tiny but mighty staff consists of an Executive Director, an Office Manager, a Community Outreach Manager, an Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator, three PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors and a Ranch Caretaker. Our beloved and hard-working four-legged employees include our amazing team of therapy horses and four official therapy cats, Baker Jr., Hobbs, Mowgli, Piper, Nilly and Twilight. All other duties are handled by our dedicated army of volunteers! To find out how you can help, click here.

Tina Calanchini

Executive Director Tina began working with Project R.I.D.E. in 2002 as a volunteer. She was intrigued that anyone would be crazy enough to place a child with special needs atop an animal period, let alone a 1200 pound horse. On her first day as a volunteer, all of the...

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Genell Csik

PATH International Certified Therapeutic Recreational Riding Instructor since 2015 Meet Genell Csik, our newest PATH Certified Instructor. She's been volunteering with us since August and just passed her test in April 2015. "I was that horse-crazy kid who just never...

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Lori Candelaria

Office Manager since 2012 Lori rejoined staff in 2014 as an Executive Assistant after previously serving as interim Volunteer Coordinator and volunteering. She now manages the office and makes sure our operations run smoothly. Lori moved from the Bay Area in 2010 and...

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Tamara Lipanovich

PATH International Certified Riding Instructor since 2014 Tamara Lipanovich is a wife, mother to five, and grandmother to a small herd. She has ridden horses most of her life and enjoys riding a variety of disciplines ranging from Western trail riding to English...

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Lauren Bender

PATH International Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor Lauren fell in love with horses early on in her life, but it wasn’t until she volunteered at a center in Fresno that she knew she was going to make a long term career out of therapeutic riding instruction. She...

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Suzi Lawton

Volunteer Coordinator of the Year Suzi joined Project R.I.D.E. as a volunteer in August 2008 and now works in our offices as an Outreach Coordinator, ensuring we have the volunteers we need for our program. With a past career in finance, Suzi has a passion for...

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Darren Law

Ranch Caretaker since 2008 Realizing that he had a lot of spare time on his hands, Darren started volunteering at Project R.I.D.E. in February of 2008. When the ranch caretaker position became available he expressed his interest, was accepted and has been at the ranch...

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Marisa DeSalles

Community Outreach Manager Since 2008 Marisa DeSalles started volunteering with Project R.I.D.E. in 2003 and returned as a staff member in 2008. Marisa's favorite part of her role at Project R.I.D.E. is watching new riders overcome their fears. She lives with her...

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Kind of a Big Deal

On the backs of these purple shirts it reads, “My boss thinks I’m kind of a big deal.” Tina’s says “Director of Positive Mojo.”

Field Trip

The staff recently took a professional development day at Giant Steps, another therapeutic riding center located in the Bay Area.


Tina with Alex riding Stella at one of our fundraiser events.


Marisa loves big, tall horses like drafts, thoroughbreds and warmbloods, and has a soft spot for mules like Maddie here.

Little Bundles of Cuteness

Tina enjoys all things small and cute. Here she is with Hope the therapy mini horse and Bethany, another staff member’s child.

Tina Goes Above and Beyond

In 2013, Tina was awarded Elk Grove’s Above and Beyond award to celebrate those making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. Here she is with family and staff with her well-deserved award.

Volunteer Coordinator of the Year

Suzi was awarded the Director of Volunteers in Agencies Volunteer Coordinator of the Year award in fall of 2014.

On the Trail

Tina and a former board member enjoying our Trail Ride event in 2010

We Moustache you to Volunteer with us

Tina with Karis and Neela


Lauren with Blue the miniature horse

Riding Stella

Staff and Board at Big Day of Giving