Meet the Team


Maggie McDonald

Maggie McDonald - Executive Director

Maggie took the position of Executive Director in June of 2009. She is a PATH, Intl registered instructor and enjoys teaching lessons at the barn in between speaking engagements, grant writing and running the administrative side of HorseSense. Maggie has her Master's degree in Recreation Management from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse and is an accomplished jumper and dressage rider. Maggie has competed through Prix St George and earned her USDF silver medal in 2016.   


Ashley Adams - Operations Manager

Ashley has been involved with HorseSense since Fall 2012. She started off with an internship as the Volunteer Coordinator, which then lead to her volunteering with the program as much as possible. After graduating from Viterbo with a degree in Biopsychology in 2014, she then became the new HorseSense Volunteer Coordinator. She then left to pursue other career opportunites, but has since came back to La Crosse and is now our Operations Manager! Ashley has had a passion for horses since she was little, and has been taking lessons again to improve her riding skills and knowledge. She has to thank the HorseSense staff for teaching her everything and anything over the past couple of years! She also loves working and interacting with the volunteers, parents and especially the riders. 

Elizabeth Micheel – Instructor 

Liz has been involved with horses since she was very young.  Her childhood horse, “Barry” was one of the horses used in the very first HSSR session back in 1989!  Returning to the organization some 20 years later, she now enjoys teaching lessons as a certified PATH, Intl registered instructor.   Liz has a Master’s degree in Biology with a Physiology emphasis and she is very passionate about riding with a mind toward the anatomy and biomechanics of both horse and rider.   She hopes to pursue certification as an Interactive Vaulting instructor in the near future.


Brooklynn Scholze

Brooklynn Scholze - Instructor 

Brooklynn has been involved with horses throughout her life and enjoys her time in the arena with Horse Sense as both an PATH Intl. Registered Level Instructor and mentor.  Brooklynn has a diverse equestrian background ranging from barrel racing and hunter jumper, to saddle seat and dressage as well as showing in the Natl. Arabian horse circuit.  Outside of horses Brooklynn holds a background in biomechanics research and uses that background to color her teaching with an eye for anatomy and biomechanics of both horse and rider.  In the future she hopes to pursue a driving certification. 


Rachel Vik

Rachel Vik – Instructor 

Rachel started riding horses when she was eight years old.  She has been teaching riding lessons for over four years.  In May 2012 she graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a degree in Therapeutic Recreation. Rachel is happy to be able to combine her love of horses and share the joy of riding with people of all abilities!

Sloan Komissarov – Instructor 

Sloan has been working with HorseSense since spring of 2011 and became a PATH Riding Instructor in 2013.  Sloan has been riding horses throughout her life and taught summer riding lessons for 5 years before joining HorseSense. She enjoys sharing her love of horses through her teaching at HorseSense. In addition to horsemanship, Sloan also has a professional background in art history and librarianship.

Betty Ottesen- Instructor

Betty revisited her love of horses later in life after raising a family. She and her husband enjoy starting new horses, trail riding, horse camping and competitive obstacle trail course riding. She is also a barefoot trimmer and sometimes a horse rehabilitator.   She became an instructor in 2007 via an AmeriCorps Worker. She enjoys working with the riders, the volunteers and the other instructors both human and equine!

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Holly Bambenek - Secondary Instructor 

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Christy Lowell - Barn Manager


Board of Directors


Amy Stodola - President

Marlis O'Brien -Vice President

Jennifer Jones - Treasurer

Linda Temte - Secretary

Brian Benson

Tom Desjarlais

Lori Dubczak 

Dan Howes

Vincent Stodola