Candice Kovalak

Equine Manager/ Trainer/ Instructor


Mother to an awesome, 11 year old son, Timmy. Candice is a life-long animal lover and is passionate about helping all God’s creatures receive the best care possible.  Candice uses her passion and knowledge to take excellent care of not only the horses at the Rustler Ranch, but our petting zoo friends, cows, and barn cats as well.  The animals, staff, volunteers, and students have all benefited and learned from Candice’s knowledge of feeding, care, and her level of commitment to our animals.  We are blessed to have her as our Equine Manager!

Candice started her equestrian career after high school working in a show facility taking care of all the equine needs, from cleaning to feeding to turn outs.  This role grew as Candice’s knowledge increased and her passion for horses developed.  Candice had studied under local trainers and is a student of several national and international horsemen and women.  Candice began to give beginner lessons and train horses for others.  She has worked with a variety of breeds, including training Clydesdale draft horses to ride and breaking several horses.  Her own horse, Faline, that passed in 2014, has also been an instrumental teacher.  From Faline’s struggles with Founder, to past behavioral issues, Candice realized that if the human is willing to listen and learn, the horse will tell them what they need.  These experiences have developed Candice into the horsewoman that she is today.  When a person is open to new experiences, works hard, and dedicates themselves to lifelong learning in an area they are passionate about, they will succeed!

Candice began working at the Rustler Ranch in late 2012.  She dedicates her days to overseeing the care of our equine partners and petting zoo animals, and to working with them to ensure that they are well trained and able to perform in our programs.  Candice became a CHA (Certified Horsemanship Association)  Instructor in 2013.  She gives traditional riding lessons and manages the Therapeutic Riding program.  Candice brings passion and outside the box ideas to our camps and seasonal programs.

“There are things that the horse did for me that a human couldn’t have done.” Buck Brannaman  Thanks to the Lord for the opportunity to share the grace and spirit of our horses with the children and families we serve here at the Rustler Ranch.


Jamie Kassay

Program Director/Barn Manager


Jamie Kassay is a long time best friend to Candice the Equine Manager. Because of that friendship she started coming to the Ranch as a volunteer in 2013 for the Therapeutic Riding program.  At that time Jamie was a supervisor for a medical billing company in mentor.  So in her spare time she loved getting away from the city office and coming out to the country life.

During Jamie’s years of youth she grew up trail riding her Aunts horses and riding with her cousins. That’s when she truly fell in love with the horse world. Not only does Jamie love horse’s, she also loves her 4 cat’s and 2 dogs.

Jamie started working for Rustler Ranch in February 2015. Her dedication is above and beyond! She keeps everything in order. From managing the barn to making sure the programs are in order.  She is very organized and all her operations run smoothly.

We are very Blessed to have Jamie on our staff at Rustler Ranch!!!


Mackenzie Carraher

Stable Staff/Volunteer


Mackenzie Carraher, a 17 year old high school student that has a passion for horses and kids, started volunteering for us in 2015. With her being a dedicated volunteer and her ability to handle horses, little did she know that she might be landing herself a job in the equine world.

She fell in love with one of the horses here at the Ranch and that would be Kash. Kash came from a troubled past and she was just amazing with him. She used him for drill team and just being able to come out and ride, but she also worked hard to have that opportunity.

Mackenzie also was raised around horses that her aunt had and she used to love to barrel race.

Mackenzie got hired in Spring 2016. She cleans stalls and does all the daily duties when she can be at work around school functions. She also gets to exercise the horses.

We are very blessed to have Mackenzie on our staff!!!

D’Anna Patchell

Stable Staff/Volunteer


D’Anna Patchell, a 16 year old home school student that we are very grateful to have her as apart of our team! She came to us not having any equine experience at all, but wanted to learn and volunteer. After volunteering for a summer we hired her on for some stable help and our programs!

She is very kind and caring with the public and the animals. She loves to laugh and enjoys her days here at the Ranch. Laughter is so great for the soul.

Her favorite horse is Sayda.

So Blessed to have her on our team!!!