Jen began her career at Bakas in July 2015 as the Director. An avid horsewoman, Jen has been riding and working with horses since 1991. She is a graduate of Warren Wilson College and University of North Carolina Wilmington. Jen became a certified PATH riding instructor in 2006. Prior to joining the Bakas staff, Jen was Regional Coordinator for the Autism Program for the New Hanover County, NC school system. Jen was also an instructor with a PATH riding center in Wilmington, NC. In her off time, Jen enjoys showing and training her Friesian Sport Horse, Aragorn.
Pat was born in Heidelberg, Germany and moved to the United States in 1986. She began her equestrian career working with horses at Circle C Ranch in 1998 and became employed by Hillsborough County and began working at Bakas in 2005. Pat is a PATH certified riding instructor and equine specialist as well as a Special Olympics equestrian coach. Pat loves to learn and she continues her equine education by attending seminars and horse shows. In her spare time, Pat enjoys playing tennis. Pat is very proud of her two grown children and she loves being an Omi (grandma).
Dani started working at Bakas as a part-time Hillsborough County employee in 1998 and advanced to full-time employment in 2002. She actually started volunteering at Bakas at the age of 12. She has always loved horses, so this job has been a dream come true for her. Shortly after being hired, Dani became a PATH certified instructor and a certified equine specialist. Additionally, Dani has also become a certified Special Olympics coach and is certified by the ARIA in Level I Recreational Riding as well as stable management. Currently, Dani holds the position of Senior Rec Therapist at Bakas Equestrian Center.
Gina Edwards has been working as a Hillsborough County employee at Bakas since 2000. She has obtained her PATH certification as a riding instructor and equine specialist in addition to being an equestrian Special Olympics coach. Gina has undertaken the role of volunteer coordinator for several years. Gina is responsible for scheduling the individual volunteers as well as groups that come in to lend a hand at Bakas. She adores all of the Barn Brats (youth volunteers) and witnesses first hand all the hard work they contribute every week. Gina understands the vital role that volunteers play in making the Bakas program so successful. In her free time Gina likes to eat, go to the beach, ride horses and socialize with her friends.
Trish joined the Bakas team as a part-time Hillsborough County employee in 2003 and worked her way up to full-time employment. She has become a PATH certified riding instructor and equine specialist as well as an equestrian Special Olympics coach. Trish loves working with the riders at Bakas as much as she loves working with the horses. She has owned her own horse for over a decade. Prior to working at Bakas, Trish owned and operated a licensed in-home day care service for 16 years. She continues provide companion and babysitting services when she is not working in the evening and on weekends. Trish finds it very fulfilling to be able to work with horses and to provide companion services in her non-working time.
Ray has been working at Bakas since 2014. Ray helps with classes as well as takes care of everything at the facility. In 2015, Ray was promoted to Park Ranger 2. Ray was a big help at summer camp. He taught the kids how to fish. Each camper caught many fish. Besides horseback riding the kids favorite activity was being on our dock with Ray!
Tom has been a Park Ranger with Bakas since 2016. He enjoys working with riders and assisting with the horses. He is an Air Force Veteran whose hobbies include Scuba Diving and Cooking. He looks forward to working every day at Bakas and being a part of a great team.
I began volunteering at Bakas in 2011 when I was in high school to get service hours for my Bright Futures scholarship. I went to college at Florida State and continued volunteering whenever I came home from Tallahassee. In June of 2018 I finished at Florida State and began working at Bakas as an instructor and got my certification the following December. I have been riding and competing horses since 2004 and continue to compete now. Outside of work I like to ride horses, read books, watch movies, hang out with my friends and play with my dog Doak.
Tina began volunteering at Bakas in November 2007 and immediately loved it so much that she knew that she would work there someday. Her dream came true when she was hired as a part-time Hillsborough County employee in 2010. Tina has become certified as both a PATH instructor and equine specialist. Additionally, she is a certified equestrian Special Olympics coach. Tina loves to help people and it gives her great satisfaction when she sees the riders smiling and when she can help them achieve their goals. When she is not working, Tina enjoys playing ball with her dog Jay-Jay, riding horses, watching movies and spending time outside.