Who We Are
Director / Co-Founder
Valery graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee with a BA in Psychology and a BS in Criminal Justice. She earned a Master’s degree in forensic psychology from Arizona State University and is currently working on her second Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
She spent 12 years as a Federal Law Enforcement Officer until 2020 when family needs at home outweighed her career. She has been a military wife for 14 years and knows how tough it can be living with, supporting, and raising kids in a house with a veteran that struggles with their inner battles.
Establishing Warhorse Ranch is not just her and Mike’s dream, it’s also their therapy. Their past careers have always involved serving their communities and country, and to be able to provide that same passion and help to military, first responders, and victims of trauma through their ranch, is something that they feel they were meant to do.
Mike served in the United States Marine Corps from 1991-2004 and the United States Air Force Reserve from 2004 to present. He also served as a federal law enforcement officer and a firearms instructor with the Department of Homeland Security for 10 years.
The most memorable of his deployments was in 2003 in which I served as a TOW section leader, Anti-Tank Platoon, 2d Tank Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, 1st Marine Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2011 it took his wife as well as other fellow vets to help him understand that he had a problem. He was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, anxiety and severe depression, all of which he knew nothing about. In 2014, Mike attended a Wounded Warrior Project Odyssey retreat in Park City, Utah. It was here that his life was changed by being introduced to equine assisted therapy. In 2019 he was diagnosed with having an AVM (arteriovenous malformation) on the right frontal lobe of the brain. After a successful craniotomy, Mike still struggles with residual side-effects, but still has the drive and passion for helping fellow veterans who are experiencing similar difficulties in life.
Bio Coming Soon.
Jo has spent her entire life in the company of horses and horseman. Since the 1960s, she has been an active participant in the horse industry, training horses, instructing riders, etc.
As of the 1970’s & 80’s, the pinnacle years of that industry’s success. She was marketing and promotions manager for more than a dozen Arabian stallions, each of which achieved National acclaim and million dollar plus value under her direction. She enjoyed the experience of being production coordinator, script writer, and marketing director for numerous multi-million-dollar Arabian horse auctions. She was the editor of seven internationally distributed equine publications, and editorial contributor to many others. And she was Publisher of the award winning Arabian Horseman Magazine; Founding board member of the Arabian Professional Horsemen’s Association; and co-writer and marketing director of the Arabian Horse Show industry’s primary prize money program.
Jennifer served in the Marine Corps as an Aviation Electronic Technician on the Blue Angels and EA-18G Growlers. She moved from her home town of Austin, Texas to Steamboat Springs to start a new life and career path. She currently works at Emerald Mountain Tax and Consulting where she was connected with Warhorse Ranch. Jennifer has a passion for helping others and serving her community.
Advisory Committee/Equine Specialist
Cheri and family have called the Yampa Valley home since 1995. In 2000 Cheri founded the of Humble Ranch Education and Therapy Center. As a licensed Physical Therapist, Cheri initially partnered with horses to provide equine therapy for individuals with physical challenges.
As the center grew and collaborative community relationships were formed, Cheri’s focus expanded to include Equine Assisted Learning and Equine Assisted Psychotherapy.
After 20 years of witnessing and experiencing the healing power of horses, Cheri is excited to be a part of Warhorse and their important mission to empower veterans, first responders and trauma survivors.
Equine Specialist/Social Media Coordinator
Tori grew up in Massachusetts where she spent most of her days at the barn with horses. In 2016, she graduated from a small university with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. During her last semester, Tori interned at a PATH certified equine assisted therapy farm where she was as a horse handler. In 2016 after graduation, Tori moved to Colorado and has not looked back. Currently, she works for the Sheriff’s Department as a Sergeant in the detention division. Tori has been working with horses in some fashion whether that be taking lessons, giving lessons, wrangling at a dude ranch right up the way from Warhorse or just riding her own horses at home. She is very excited to have the chance to put her love of horses and helping people in the same arena.
Abby is a Minnesota native with a background in Occupational Therapy helping people manage mental health conditions in both inpatient and outpatient settings; after completing her MBA, she became a project manager for hospital operations and grew into health care leadership roles. Moving to Steamboat and finding Warhorse Ranch has allowed her to combine her love for horses and being a partner to helping others pursue their goals and discovering their potential.
I first found Warhorse at a fund-raising event in November 2021. I listened to another volunteer describe the mission, vision, and values of the organization and immediately signed up as a potential volunteer, as well as made a donation. My name is John Paulus. My family moved to Steamboat in August of 2011. Before moving to Steamboat, I spent my career in Oil Refinery Maintenance Engineering and Management. I helped manage a $150+ million maintenance budget. The management staff that reported to me directly supervised over 200 employees.
My first exposure to Warhorse was through a retreat involving four participants, four non staff volunteers, and ten or more staff volunteers. I had no idea that it would be a near “life changing” experience.
I have unfortunately suffered two severe trauma related experiences in my life with the loss of my mother at age 13, and my wife and best friend, six years ago. I did not receive proper expert mental health assistance to help me through those life altering experiences. I certainly wish I had taken advantage of the professional help that was made available to me. I am so very happy that I can perform assistance to such a worthy cause as Warhorse Ranch. I have seen firsthand how a five-day retreat can assist someone who is lost, how they can move forward towards a happy and fulfilling life, and then transition into someone who has hope. Warhorse Ranch continues to keep those participants in their sight as friends, near family members, and people who they want to keep as an important part of their daily lives.
I currently perform many physical duties such as fence building, hay barn construction and support for the many wonderful programs that the Warhorse Ranch participates in. Come be a part of a very rewarding community focused organization.
As a native to the Colorado Rockies, Carla knows how spending time in God’s creation can be healing. Her journey with PTSD and panic attacks began over 20 years ago when she and her family were evacuated due to a wildfire. In the years since, her husband joined her brother as a volunteer firefighter and each of their 3 boys followed in their footsteps when they turned 18. Their second oldest went on to become a US Marine and their youngest is a Sheriff’s deputy. Carla is a speaker, a Ziglar Choose to Win Coach and working toward a Mental Health Coaching license. She has recently joined the ranks of first responders as a volunteer for Routt County Crisis Response.
Catherine Kurtz, born and raised in Connecticut (GO HUSKIES!), first moved to Steamboat in 1984, then 1989, then for good with her husband Jack in 2012. After retiring from a long career in IT and Data Privacy, she met Mike at the Steamboat Farmers Market and has been volunteering in any and many capacities, since that fateful day in 2021! She participates in Warhorse retreats, Music Fest activities, BOCES Adaptive Educational Services, golfing in the Warhorse Stampede fundraiser, and can also be found working on fences, scooping poop and loving on the horses and the team.
Jennifer Wilkinson, was born and raised in Kentucky, she first moved to Steamboat in 2000, raised two amazing girls in this fantastic valley and worked for Smartwool for 15 years. She currently works as an IT recruiter, and has a professional background in marketing, political campaigns, retail, merchandising, graphic design, and ecommerce. She is a board member for Steamboat Creates, a Holy Name Church lector, an equestrian, and is addicted to yoga and cycling. She has been involved with Warhorse Ranch since the summer of 2023 thanks to a Facebook volunteer post.
Kent Fredrickson, born and raised in Oregon, started the move with Katrina to Steamboat in 2009 and completed it in 2017. He spent 20 years on active duty with the Navy as a Surface Line Officer and an Engineering Duty Officer. After retiring from Active Duty he spent 18 years as a contract engineer with the Navy. Kent met Mike and Val at the Farmers Market in 2021 and started volunteering with Warhorse Ranch in 2022 in support of ranch maintenance, Freedom Retreats, Flag Retirement Ceremonies and fundraising events. Kent finds that volunteering at Warhorse Ranch is both richly rewarding and fun.
Grant Writer/Marketing Advisor
Amy Gamet is a professional writer with a background in grant writing for non profits and feature writing including the Herb Brooks Foundation. She is currently authoring her first two books.
Having worked in the hockey industry for over two decades, she spearheaded non-profit youth hockey programs for Thunder Youth Hockey at Trine University and for the Herb Brooks Foundation. Amy has served as a USA Hockey professional trainer for coaches teaching safety protocol and positive mindset.
Coming from a military family with a mother who served in the Airforce, a father who served in the Army, she has a heart for veterans. Amy has volunteered for non-profits that support Suicide prevention including SAVE since 2002. The most meaningful project for her was lobbying for the mental health parody bill on Capitol Hill.
She has a passion for creating a strong sense of community and encouraging others to live their most fulfilling life. Her passion for writing is expressed in poems, songs, a blog and she is publishing a children’s book on grief. She has enjoyed being a contributor to Let’s Play Hockey newspaper for several years utilizing her journalism background.
Amy is originally from Minnesota and resides with her husband Jonathon Gamet in Steamboat Springs, CO. When not working on a project, Amy enjoys paddleboarding, waterskiing, downhill skiing painting and studying optimal health practices. As a lover of the country lifestyle she enjoys horseback riding, time at the lake, country dancing and ending the night with a campfire. On her mind always, is their next adventure.
Roger is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice. He has been on the Horizons and Partners board of directors in the past. He brings his knowledge of therapy, non-profit organizations and fundraising to the Warhorse Ranch staff.
LCSW, EMDR/BSP-Trauma, anxiety, depression, relationships