Meet Our Team!

Stephanie Smith

Stephanie Smith

PATH Intl. Instructor

On staff since Fall 2017
Hometown: Elkhart, IN

Steph is a graduate of Concord High School who was in 4-H for nine years, and competed in Horse Bowl/ Hippology, Judging, Drill Team and Public Speaking.  Her background also includes four years of American Sign Language.

Steph came to LoveWay as a volunteer in 2011 and began the Instructor in Training program in the fall of 2017.

She owns four horses, and enjoys spending her free time trail riding at Potato Creek State Park and Russ Forest County Park in Cass County, Michigan.  Steph is a member of Cowboys for Christ.

Erin Thompson

Erin Thompson

Development Associate

On staff since Spring 2014
Hometown: Tinley Park, IL

Erin came to LoveWay during an internship through Ivy Tech. She graduated with her Associate’s degree in Human Services. She is a part of the transfer program for her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work through IUSB and plans to continue until receiving her Master’s in Social Work. Before moving to the Goshen/Middlebury area to be with family several years ago, she resided in Atlanta. She also spent a few years living in Asheville, NC. Erin loves working with children and feels very fortunate for all of the amazing experiences that she has had while at LoveWay.

Jess Shelner

Jess Shelner

Certified PATH Instructor

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: Rockford, MI

Jessica has always loved horses and has been riding since she was 8 years old. She graduated from Albion College with a degree in Psychology and has been a certified PATH Instructor since 2008. She married Eric, her best friend since seventh grade, in 2009 and they now have 3 crazy kids (Titus, 6; Aurora, 3; Maddox, 1). Jessica says, “I have seen God do amazing things at LoveWay before (I worked here 2009-2012) and I am excited to be part of this ministry again now that we are back in Indiana!”

Shelley Becker

Shelley Becker

Executive Director, PATH Certified Instructor

Back on staff since Fall 2017
Hometown: Elkhart, IN

Shelley came to LoveWay as a Volunteer in 2008 and served on staff from 2011-2015 as an Instructor and in marketing and fundraising.  Her degree from Indiana State is in graphic design.  She initially came to LoveWay “to get a break from being a stay-at-home mom and stayed at LoveWay because I couldn’t get enough of the feeling inside me after a class with the kids and horses.”

Shelley and her husband Brent have two children, Jacob and Jordyn.  They have a mini-farm of 3 horses, 3 goats, 3 dogs and 2 cats!

Shelley says “I know God sent me here.  I knew absolutely nothing about horses at the time and even less about special needs children.  God not only grew a great passion in my heart for the mission of LoveWay but also equipped me to do things I never dreamed I could.  Becoming an Instructor was a HUGE task for me.  It was definitely the Lord’s will and a LOT of help from teammates that I am blessed to say I am a PATH Instructor.”

Kayla Abbott

Kayla Abbott

Certified PATH Instructor

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: Granger, IN

Kayla grew up a mile down the road from her great aunt and uncle’s farm. From the moment she could walk being out in the barn with the horses was her favorite thing! Growing up caring for and riding her aunt’s horses Kayla learned the importance of respect, community, and love. In 2017 Kayla graduated from Taylor University with a degree in Christian Educational Ministries. While in college Kayla competed on Taylor’s equestrian team. After college God led Kayla to Chesterton, Indiana where she worked at a non-profit that uses horses as a way to counsel and mentor kids at risk. Through that internship she realized this would be her dream. Kayla became PATH certified in June 2018. She is excited to be using her passions and gifts as an instructor at LoveWay!

Chris Stice

Chris Stice

Assistant Program Manager & PATH Certified Instructor

On staff since Fall 2006
Hometown: Billings, MT

Chris grew up in Billings Montana. She says was fortunate enough to grow up with horses and her family and family friends were co-owners of a 260-acre ranch where they kept and rode their horses. When Chris was 9 her sister was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, and says that she loved riding horses, but when it became too challenging for her to ride she stopped. Chris says she wishes she had known about the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding back then; she would have loved it! 

Chris started volunteering with her daughter in 2005 and it was a great time for for them to spend together. Her daughter Ariel learned so much about responsibility and horse care while at LoveWay, says Chris. She had been working as a volunteer for about 6 months when the staff approached her about becoming an instructor. Chris says that she knows God had his hand in this because everything about being an instructor was so against her nature. She says that she is a very quiet and reserved person, and this was way outside her comfort zone. Chris agreed to give it a try and started the instructor-in-training process. Shortly after this her husband suddenly passed away, and she says that LoveWay was huge in getting her through that time. Both for herself and her daughter, who was still volunteering, helping others and being around the horses helped them through their grief. Chris was certified as an Instructor in 2006 and has loved her job ever since. Chris sad, “I am so privileged to be able to work with the participants and the volunteers. I get to work with the best of the best!”

Ryan Eash

Ryan Eash

Director of Equine Development

On staff since Fall 2018
Hometown: Goshen, IN

An Indiana native, Ryan grew up enjoying the outdoors, trail riding with horses and training Labrador Retrievers. In 2010 he graduated from Miracle Mountain Ranch School of Discipleship with a horse major, as well as studies with Rosedale Bible College. He is passionate about horse training, and greatly admires the many ways horses are able to enrich the lives of people all of the world. Ryan stated, “I always thought it would be neat to be involved with people and horses somehow. Joining the LoveWay family is a dream come true!”

Ryan, and his beautiful wife Tabitha, are blessed with two children, Chet and Willow.

Daryl Abbott

Daryl Abbott

Community Ambassador

On staff since Spring 2009
Hometown: White Pigeon, MI

Daryl has been married to his wife, Sue, for 48 years and has three children, Bruce, Ashley and Heather. Daryl and Sue have eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Daryl spent his entire career working with children and families. Daryl helped start the organization CAPS – Child and Parent Services and was privileged to serve as Executive Director for 32 years before retiring in 2009. Shortly after retiring he was asked by the LoveWay Board of Directors to serve as “interim” Executive Director.  He served as Executive Director five years and retired again in 2015.  Because of his love for LoveWay, he have continued to serve in a part time capacity.  
Daryl is a graduate of Goshen College. He  serves in a variety of capacities at his church, Bristol United Methodist Church.  Daryl says, “It is a joy to serve!” 

Nicole Romo

Nicole Romo

Administrative Assistant

On staff since Spring 2019
Hometown: Schoolcraft, MI

Nicole grew up in Southwest Michigan and earned a Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in Special Education. She also attended Michigan State University to earn a Graduate Certificate in Human Resource Management. Upon graduation, Nicole quickly realized working in the nonprofit sector and serving others was her passion, and working with individuals with special needs has remained the center of that passion.

Nicole has been involved with horses her entire life beginning at the age of three, riding her Godmother’s horses and eventually purchasing her own pony at the age of 12. She participated in 4-H for several years and still enjoys participating in local horse shows when time permits. Nicole now resides on a small hobby farm in Schoolcraft, MI with her non-horsey, but very accommodating and supportive husband, and two amazing children. Her family also includes five horses, five chickens, two dogs, two goats, two rabbits, and one cat. Nicole says, “I feel very fortunate and blessed to be a part of LoveWay and am extremely excited for this opportunity, it is a dream come true for me!”

Katie Price

Katie Price

Volunteer Coordinator

On staff since Spring 2019
Hometown: Bristol, IN

Katie, born and raised in Bristol, is a radiant addition to our LoveWay team. You will not be a stranger to Katie; she loves meeting and talking with new people and genuinely cares about what is going on in peoples’ lives. Her energy and smile are contagious, making her extremely approachable to anyone who walks in LoveWay’s doors. Having  attended Indiana University with her degree in Psychology and a minor in Communications, she is excited to immerse herself in all things LoveWay!

As a former Miss Bristol and recipient of various pageant-related awards, she is still heavily involved in pageants helping young girls discover their inner and outward beauty. Katie also enjoys baking, fishing, being on the water in any capacity, and going to antique stores on the weekends. She has a dog, Nash, and a cat, O’Malley that she gets to love on when she is home from her busy days at the barn now! Welcome to LoveWay Katie; you are already a huge blessing to us!

Tim Krecsmar

Tim Krecsmar

PATH Certified Instructor

On staff since 1993
Hometown: Elkhart, IN

Tim is LoveWay’s most seasoned instructor having been at Loveway for 23 years. He began his journey in January of 1991 and he became an instructor in 1998. When not instructing at LoveWay, Tim still molds imaginations as a Special Education teacher at Concord Junior High School.

Tim resides with his wife, Meg, and children Kessa, Jackson, Kerecsen, Kelemen, Adia and Bence.

Ashley Pooler

Ashley Pooler

Barn Assistant

On staff since Spring 2019
Hometown: Bristol, IN

Ashley has been riding since she was 4 and grew up in Bristol, IN. She began interning and training other horses her sophomore year of high school and also started homeschooling, leading to graduating a year early. It has been a lifelong passion of Ashley’s to have a career with horses. There was a point during her early teen years where she would always have her face shoved in a book about riding methods. Ashley experimented with jumping and western but determined dressage was her soul sport. She has trained, rehabbed and competed successfully up to second/third level, earning bronze and silver medals at schooling shows and 2 top 10’s at the Arabian Nationals. Ashley proudly own a 5 year-old Dutch Harness that she has raised and trained since he was 2, in hopes to get him to the national circuit. They’ve even been practicing some liberty work in their spare time!
Ashely says “I hope to begin my journey to the teaching side of the horse world within the next few years and start a more permanent career helping others the way horses have helped me, mentally & physically. The horse world has given so much to me growing up and I believe God wants me to give back. I am so happy to be a part of the LoveWay family!” We are as equally happy to have Ashley on board!

Sydney Stein

Sydney Stein

Barn Assistant

On staff since Spring 2019
Hometown: Stilesville, IN

Sydney grew up in southern Indiana, in a town called Stilesville. Growing up and still to this day, she has had a passion for animals and recently within the last 5 years, has found a deep passion for horses. One of the greatest memories and reasons Sydney loves horses, is because her dad was a bull rider and she remembers being around him, bulls and horses. She has been around horses for a large part of her life but started to fade away from horses once she became involved with sports. She has been an athlete all of her life and basketball is what earned her a scholarship to Goshen College, where she is currently enrolled. Sydney plans to graduate in April with a degree in Exercise Science and hopes to continue the long road of schooling to become a veterinarian. Sydney has one sister, one brother and loving parents that she adores. Sydney just adopted a cat, Teddy, in February and absolutely LOVES HIM. Sydney says “Becoming a vet has been a dream of mine but I never thought I could achieve it. I thank God for giving me the ability to do all the things I can with and in his gracious spirit. Finding LoveWay has been a dream, I have been praying to God to help me find my calling and this place has really welcomed me with open arms. I hope to truly give back to this awesome place as much as it has and continues to give to me! This is only a start and I’m excited to be a part of this team!”