Old Peoples Riding Club
Old Peoples Riding Club | A riding club for the over 21 equestrian and for all disciplines!
" …for the learning experience, the fun, the camaraderie; not the ribbon, or the glory, but for the memories ..."
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Members of the National OPRC Board of Directors

Meet the National Old People's Riding Club Board of Directors:

Shiela Haviland

President : Shiela Haviland

La Plata, MD

This position will be up for re-election in Jan. 2018 (Job Description)

Second National President

2008 -2013

Membership Coordinator

2006 - 2007


2006 - 2009 & 2014 - Present

Ratings Coordinator

2014 - Present

Vice President: Susan Berry

King George, VA

This position will be up for re-election in Jan. 2020 (Job Description

As a kid, I grew up in suburban Virginia as a horse crazy tomboy. I took lessons and would ride with several friends, but never had my own horse until many years later. I am currently enjoying that first horse now! For the last seven years, I have had the amazing pleasure to share a relationship with a really fun gelding named appropriately sometimes Rebel! I have gained many wonderful human friends and quite an education in the process!

I have been blessed in this life to have overcome challenges, have a wonderful family, and experienced many different things and places. My husband and I have built a great little farmette that we share with our dogs, cats, goats and the horse. We are anxiously awaiting the birth of our second Grandchild in the spring of 2012.

Over the last couple of years, several of my friends and I had talked about getting together to do things and ride. It seemed we could never get the whole group out at the same time. Then one of my friends suggested we attend a meeting of a group called the Old Peoples Riding Club in nearby Southern Maryland. We attended a few meetings and were ready to join, but decided to begin our own chapter in Virginia. The Still Hot To Trot OPRC was established in January of 2011, with Shiela Haviland as our fabulous mentor. I willingly accepted the nomination to be the President of the group. I must say that I am proud of our first year! Our membership has grown tremendously and we have had several very successful events! We are now planning events for the coming year and making the commitment as a group to get out and do those things we never thought we would! We are looking forward to another fun, educational and busy year! I am really happy and honored to be part of an organization that so strongly promotes and supports the education of its members in all things equine.

Secretary: Theresa (Terry) Barcus

Winter Springs, FL

This position will be up for re-election in Jan. 2018 (Job Description)

My dad said that I hit the ground being crazy about horses....in fact, he said that the first word I ever said was "horse". Every Christmas morning, I got up praying that Santa had finally brought me my pony or horse. Well, that never happened, but now I have a wonderful Quarter Horse that I do dressage with. He was bred to be a halter horse, but didn't cut it when it came to the perfect conformation, so I ended up with a wonderful willing partner to learn dressage with. Currently, we're doing First Level Tests. I board him at a barn about 20 minutes from my house. I realized a long time ago, that I'm also a social rider. I know that it's not necessarily safe to ride alone, and I love having people around me that I can chat about horses and horse care.

When I saw an ad in our local paper in 2002 about OPRC, I called a friend about starting a chapter. We started the Mane Event Chapter soon after. (Both of my sons are Eagle Scouts, and I have long been involved in training the adults to work with the Scouts. The biggest lesson I learned from the scouts is that you don't have to be an expert in everything, you just need to know where your experts are.) My friend was the expert at seeing what needed to be done first, second, third etc. The Mane Event Chapter has been active for 14 years. The Mane Event Chapter has monthly unmounted meetings and seminars and usually have experts in horse health care, tack care, trail riding opportunities, breeds and representatives from various feed manufacturers come to talk to us and to share their opinions. I am the Vice President of the Mane Event Chapter and have been the President and Treasurer. It's been a blast to be a member. I've met so many interesting people through the chapter meetings and rides.

While I ride dressage in the ring, my horse, Marshall and I also enjoy trail riding and doing some obstacle work.

Treasurer: Paula Leavitt

Dixmont, ME

This position will be up for re-election in Jan. 2020 (Job Description)

I grew up in northern Maine, almost in Canada. Our town was so small it still had a one room schoolhouse complete with eight grades, an outhouse and one teacher who taught all subjects with excellence. About half of the students there spoke only French when they came to first grade.

There I met my French speaking best friend whose father had a team of horses 'Chub' a Clydesdale look alike and 'Tom' probably a Percheron. I often spent the night at her house and we would get up early and go to the woods with the men and team. When the horses had done their days work, we got boosted up onto the harness and were allowed to ride them home which was about seven miles. We always tried to get them to canter and sometimes would fall off. They always stopped and allowed us to either climb up using the harness or mount from a rock or stump. Somehow we managed to live through all that and hence began my love for draft horses.

Finally after many years of begging, my father brought home a retired Standardbred. I rode almost every day, summer, winter, twenty degrees below zero on all kinds of footing.

Eventually I started taking lessons and did a little ‘very low level’ eventing. My husband, David, and I moved to our farm in Troy, Maine in 1983. There are miles of discontinued roads accessible right from the barn and I take advantage of them often. As our four children moved from horses to other interests I found myself with no one to play with so I started driving a half Arab who had been trained to drive. Driving became one of my most favorite pastimes and I decided to buy a carriage and offer rides for weddings and other occasions. I soon learned that the demand was for vehicles which could transport a number of people. I found two older Percherons with forgiving hearts and my husband built a wagon and off we went picking the brains of any teamster we met. In 2009 I accepted a job at Acadia National Park driving a team doing tours on the parks famous and beautiful carriage roads. That was a once in a lifetime experience but very hard work.

Today I ride an Arab/Saddlebred cross named Pennys from Heaven. She is a great trail horse but doesn’t like ringwork. I have three gray Percheron mares, a black and white Shetland pony (I plan to downsize) and two aged half Arab geldings.

Joanne McAlpin

Board Member At Large: Joanne McAlpin

Bowie, MD

This position will be up for re-election in Jan. 2020

I grew up on a dairy farm in upstate New York, the fifth of six kids, where working outside from an early age was a way of life. My ‘horse crazies’ started very early and fortunately, I had a very persuasive older sister who convinced my parents to take the plunge and buy a pony. Our first pony was a coppery young shetland cross ‘on his way to auction’ and the four youngest daughters were smitten (with the pony, of course). I was about three or four, I guess, and that pony began a succession of cast-off equines…some worth their weight in gold, some down-right dangerous…that taught me to ride, literally, by the seat of my pants.

Fast-forward through the years…graduation, a stint in the US Air Force, marriage, and two kids later…and, I found myself yearning for a horse again so the daughter was enrolled in riding lessons. But, that wasn’t enough for me. So, when I told my husband I wanted a horse, he said “but, we don’t need a horse” and my response to him was something akin to ‘I didn’t say I needed a horse…’ to which there was no verbal reply. So, I began surfing the web, PetFinder.com. classified ads, and equine rescue sites which eventually led me to sites where I learned of the plight of the mares and foals and, even stallions, of the PMU industry. It was overwhelming. I wanted to save every one of them but finally picked one out from a blurry baby-pony picture, paid by PayPal, and was told to ‘be ready’ because ‘once the truck was full’, my horse would be on its way. And, as it generally happens, I was out-of-town when I got the call that my horse would be in Maryland the next day. So, we packed up from our family vacation in NY and headed home. I was on pins and needles. My ‘little’ horse was delivered at 11pm the next day. She was a bay percheron-paint cross and stood nearly 15hh at approximately 18 months of age (fortunately, she didn’t grow but couple inches more…but, I was worried for a while!). Since she came from Manitoba and they over-nighted her to me, I named her Manitoba Express – Tobi for short – and never looked back. That was in 2004 and none of that would have been possible without my dear friend, Shiela Haviland, who helped facilitate my re-entry into the horse world. And, shortly thereafter, she started talking to me about OPRC… While I dragged my feet for a couple years – Tobi was still young and I wasn’t riding much so we worked on our relationship from the ground – I finally went to an OPRC meeting at Hope & Rick Jacobs’ house in 2008. I was impressed by the amazing people I met and the diverse events planned so I joined. After a year or so of sitting out on a lot of great organized events (because I wasn’t interested in hunters, jumpers, fox-chasing, dressage, cross-country, etc.) I was considering not re-joining. So, Shiela stepped up again and said ‘start your own chapter”. I thought she was totally nuts. Me? Seriously!?! But, she said, “if you feel that way, there’s probably others”. So, I did and, with Shiela’s excellent guidance, we started the Equitarians OPRC chapter based in Bowie MD and, lo and behold, there were more like me out there! We’ve focused on trail rides at the local parks and education and I’m still amazed at the caliber of horse-people in our group. But, then again, I shouldn’t be surprised because, after all, they are horse-people, right?

From the start, I wanted a ‘been there, done that’ horse and OPRC afforded me all sorts of opportunities I never imagined possible – trail rides with all sorts of people hauling us to all sorts of places (enough ‘Thanks’ can never be said!), a Bomb-proofing clinic with Rick Pelicano, cattle-cutting clinics with Corey Jackson, a driving clinic with Lynne Shpak from Statesman Farm, a couple jumping clinics (yes, I eventually tried jumping – fun, but just not ‘my bag’), swimming with my horse, obstacle challenges, Jousting (the Maryland sport!), Quadrille, Rallys and Scavenger Hunt rides…the list goes on and on. And, with the support of my OPRC family, I embarked on even more adventures like an ACTHA ride (and a blue ribbon, if I may brag a bit!) and not only the inaugural Canter for the Cause at Pimlico (with a bunch of OPRC folks!), but a follow-up ride there the following year! OPRC has opened all sorts of doors as well as other innumerable interactions with amazing equestrians!. Sadly, Tobi is mostly retired due to several health issues, and, while the memories remain – and they are priceless – I embarked in this part of my journey with OPRC because I just cannot imagine not being a part of OPRC.

Kelly and Nicky

Board Member At Large And Region 2 Membership Coordinator: Kelly Smith

Hollywood, MD

This position willThis position will be up for re-election in Jan. 2020

Kelly Smith has been a member of the Freedom OPRC in southern Maryland since 2005. She immediately jumped in with both feet and was instrumental in keeping the chapter alive. She has served as Vice President since 2006 and hasn't stopped contributing since. She has now agreed to be the Region 2 membership coordinator and we are so happy she joined us.

She grew up riding anything that would stand still long enough for her to get on its back. Her parents thought this "Horse Thing" was just a phase. Kelly rode (and still does ride) those horses that nobody else believes in. Kelly's passion is to rescue horses whose future is at risk and teach them all they need to know to be someone's beloved animal, then she finds them their "forever" home and kisses them good-bye.

Above you see Kelly riding her Percheron paint cross, Nicky. Nicky came to her as a baby that was barely able to stand, because he was so malnourished. When she first brought him home, she wasn't sure what breeding he may have been, but it soon became apparent that he was going to be something BIG.

And big he is. Nicky is a gentle giant and, with Sky and Irish (both OTTBs), has found his forever home with Kelly.

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