Meet Our Board

Julie Puentes,
Executive Director

Julie received her Master of Science Degree in Organizational Leadership & Ethics from St. Edward’s University and her BA in Psychology from the University of Texas.

Julie is a lifelong horse person and rider with 10 years’ experience facilitating Equine-Assisted Learning programs. She is a trained facilitator in the Epona Method, completing a comprehensive 14-month program at Leadership Outfitters in Bozeman, Montana.

Theresa Pugh, MD
Board Chair

Theresa’s love for horses started at an early age in Virginia, where she grew up riding hunters, jumpers and dressage horses. When she’s not at the barn pampering her horse, Hazel, she can be found at Central Family Practice where she practices family and functional medicine. Theresa was a member of the first graduating class in the Facilitator Training Program in Equine Assisted Learning where she was trained to become a HorseLink facilitator.

Caitlin Haney Johnston,
Vice Chair

Caitlin is an attorney at The Haney Law Firm, where her practice focuses on civil litigation, probate litigation, and estate planning. She works with her clients to find the best, most effective outcomes to problems facing individuals, businesses, and families. As a cancer survivor and longtime equine enthusiastic, Caitlin strongly believes in the programming provided by Horselink.

Mandy Morrow,

Mandy became part of the Horselink family and began riding horses at about the same time in early 2014. One short year later, and after 26 years in Austin; teaching at the Austin Graduate School of Oriental Medicine and having a private acupuncture practice, she moved to Montana where she now lives with her 11 farm animals and rides horses in every spare moment. Having maintained bookkeeping clients both in the business and private sector since 2000, she was honored to accept the position of Treasurer on the Board and intends to continue supporting HorseLink, albeit from a distance, for a long time to come.

Kate Thompson,

Kate is a native Austinite, a graduate of the The University of Texas at Austin and co-owner of Thompson Farms. While Kate is not an equestrian, she has a love for all animals and understands the important role that Horselink plays in helping horses and people. Kate also serves on the board of the Pease Park Conservancy.

Shannon Taylor Parks,

Shannon Taylor Parks is an Austin-based marketer, educator, and entrepreneur with expertise in strategic planning, outreach, and small business growth and management.  Shannon has been involved with horses for much of her life and is interested in increasing public awareness of the unique therapeutic benefits of working with horses.  Early in life she became inspired by the powerful breakthroughs that horses and humans can experience together; that’s what drives her to advocate so passionately for HorseLink’s vital work.
Shannon attended Randolph-Macon Woman’s College and Virginia Tech, earning a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and Physics.  She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, Brian, and two children.

Margie Nellor,

Margie Nellor is a Civil/Environmental Engineer with B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Texas. She grew up in Austin riding and showing hunters at Hobby Horse Stables and then at Switch Willow Stables while in college. After a 30+ year professional sojourn in California, she and her husband moved back to Austin for retirement. Having personal experience with retiring numerous competitive horses, she strongly believes in the HorseLink goals and programs.

Michael Kryzak,

Michael is a graduate of St. Andrews University of North Carolina and holds a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction.  A former elementary school teacher, he currently serves as an Instructional Facilitator in Dripping Springs ISD.  Being a lifelong equestrian, former PATH registered instructor, and cancer survivor has shown Michael the incredible impact that horses can have on people.  
Michael is a three year resident of the Austin area.  He is looking forward to serving on the HorseLink Board of Directors to help continue the vision of the organization and grow the impact being made on people and horses alike.

Jessica Marina

Jessica is a professional equestrian (rider, trainer, competitor), focusing on hunters, jumpers, equitation with a foundation in dressage. Her program emphasizes natural horsemanship and connection between horse and rider. She has a special gift for starting and gentling top show horses, and also (what many might call) “difficult” or “problem” horses that many trainers will overlook.

Jessica brings significant nonprofit management and business development experience to HorseLink. With nearly a decade of experience at international NGO Oxfam, as lead for Corporate and Strategic Partnerships, Jessica has garnered millions of dollars in support of Oxfam’s humanitarian and long-term development programs worldwide. She is eager to help secure significant and long-term funding for HorseLink’s programs and increase the number of beneficiaries (equine and human) served.

Jessica earned a degree in Classical Languages from Hamilton College and is a Posse Foundation Scholar.

“I feel very fortunate to have found HorseLink which has given Padi a new career working with people. HorseLink understands that retired show horses have been exposed to so much and have a trustful and giving nature and helping people is what they loved to do. So glad that Padi can be a part of the work HorseLink does with veterans and with those dealing with trauma through illness or loss. This work is so very important in helping people heal and move forward with their lives.”
–Judi, Previous Owner