Board of Directors
Helen Van der Voort
Allison joined the Southlands team in September of 2010 as the Executive Director. She brought with her a lifelong love of horses and an appreciation of the virtues they instill in humans: responsibility, self-reliance, passion, perseverance, and love. With a rich background from the Equitation ring to International Camp Director, Allison can dig into her past and come up with experiences that are useful to the Southlands family.
Allison’s passions are horses and lifelong learning with horses. She had been focusing on Dressage for a while now. She has acquired her USDF Bronze & Silver medals. Allison has gone through the USDF Learner Judge Program and has acquired her “L*” permit with distinction. Some of her goals are riding Grand Prix and getting a few more medium level scores and go on to the national USEF dressage judges licensing program.
Susan O’Hearn is a lifetime teacher and has spent most of her career working with all levels of riders. Susan has had students qualify regionally and nationally for finals in both the hunter and equitation rings. Her students have successfully competed throughout the Northeast and the Southwest. Some of her accomplishments include being head coach for Boston College and coaching sohtheir competitive equestrian team, having students compete successfully in National Finals and running her own business based company unrelated to horses.
Susan strongly believes that riding, training, and showing should be an enjoyable, educating and enriching experience for both horse and rider. She strives to foster an environment based on open communication that promotes teamwork, learning, and an unwavering pursuit of excellence. Susan’s passion is to help all levels of rider to expand their love of riding and to work with you to identify reachable short and long term goals. Susan will help you by creating a systematic formula in which you can successfully achieve those goals.
I grew up riding in Zambia where we did a bit of everything; from trails and gymkhana to eventing and polo. I moved to England when I turned nineteen and my somewhat rough riding style had to be rebuilt. I evented extensively while in the UK and developed a passion for the training process involved in dressage. I have British Teaching and Stable Management certification up to BHS Intermediate Instructor, for which I apprenticed in various barns. I bring 50 years and 3 continents worth of experience with me and love to share my knowledge with others.
Susie has been a part of the Southlands Foundation since she was 4 years old and knows more than anyone what a magical place it is; one that allows people and children to explore the limits of their potential through horseback riding. Watching the growth of individuals and helping them to expand their personal boundaries is what Susie looks forward to every day. Teaching people to understand that their relationships with a horse can be a metaphor for their life is how she has incorporated her education with her passion. Susie feels truly blessed to come to work each day.
Mrs. Dows was Susie’s mentor, teacher, and beloved friend for 40 years and it is Mrs. Dow’s vision that she shares with her students. Susie trained with Harry DeLeyre for 3 years at the Knox School for Girls as well as numerous highly regarded clinicians through out her many years of riding.
Susie has a B.A in Sociology and Secondary Education, as well as an M.A in Secondary Education (Social Sciences) and has worked at Southlands in some capacity for over 30 years.
Pam began riding at 7 and has continued to pursue her love of horses ever since. Pam grew up on Long Island where she learned to love fox hunting. She spent a good part of her first riding life doing just that and was lucky enough to get to hunt with Charlie Plumb (Mike Plumb’s father) with the Meadow Brook Hounds.
About 40 years ago, she and her husband, Ed, moved to Rhinebeck with the intent of continuing her riding. From the mid 1970’s until the late 1980’s she not only continued to ride, she was a hunting member of the Rombout Hunt. It was also at this time that she started Eventing. It was in pursuit of higher dressage scores while eventing that she became intrigued with dressage. She managed to train her old Eventer to second level as she started her second horse in training. With this second horse, she started her progression of dressage training under many clinicians. While Pam continued her dressage education, she spent about 15 years studying under Debbie Shin Bowman. Pam competed through 4th level and has continued to train ever since. She teaches beginners to intermediate in balanced seat and dressage from training up through second level.
Pam has been teaching for over 20 years at Southlands. In 2008, Pam started a modest dressage program at TSF which seems to be growing every year. She is also the manager of the Dressage Schooling Show Series that are held at Southlands.