The MHC is guided by up to 17 directors who each serve a three-year term.



Judy Jensen

5756 Ehler Ave. SE
Delano, MN 55328
(763) 972-6397
Email Judy

Judy Balfanz Jensen was born into the horse business. As a youngster she both gave lessons and showed extensively in almost all disciplines, competing on almost every breed of horse. She turned professional at 18 and continued to work in the family business- Kanttell Stables, a large all breed boarding and training stable in Hamel, MN. She was always comfortable working horses, whether it was using a hunt saddle, a western saddle or a cutback saddleseat saddle. With then husband, professional trainer, Bob Jensen, they continued to operate Kanttell, competing on a local, regional and national level. In the early 70's they parted ways and both went on to establish large training stables of their own.

Judy is especially proud of the fact that her father, Verlin Balfanz was named Minnesota Horse Council Horseman of the Year in 1977. Much to her surprise, she was given the same honor in 1985. Dale Froyum presented the award to a speechless, sobbing and hiccuping Judy. Speaking for her, he said, "I think she wants to say 'I am surprised and thank you for this great honor'," as Judy nodded in agreement.

Judging, clinician work, seminars, workshops and writing articles are all of special interest to her. She worked hard to lobby for the interests of Canterbury Park several years ago. She continues to operate and teach at a large stable, Centre Pointe Training Stable, with trainer and business partner Todd Perkins. Judy served eight years as the president of the Tri-State Horsemen's Association. She is a member of the United Professional Horsemen Association, United States Equestrian Federation, American Saddlebred Association and Minnesota Saddlebred Association. Over her long career in the horse worls, she has served on the boards of many different breed organizations and continues to be interested and active in any organization that involves her beloved horse industry.

She has always been interested in the Minnesota Horse Council and has been a member since the early 70's (as well as serving on the board, until a serious illness sidelined her for a few years). She exhibited and helped in many capacities during the first ten years of the Minnesota Horse Expo when it was still held in downtown Minneapolis and has continued to exhibit every year since. Judy feels lucky to have made a living in the horse business, and realizes it is very important to give back to the horse community that has been so good to her during her long career. She loves volunteering her time and experience to industry associations and is grateful for the return of good health and looks forward to getting back to work with the Minnesota Horse Council

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1st Vice President

Ann Graney Hoffmann

8315 190th Street W.
Lakeville, MN 55044
(952) 469-4640 
Email Ann

Committees: Aisle of Breeds, Minnesota High School Equestrian Association, Communications, Nominations, Promotions

Like many young girls, Ann began her horse odyssey with a pony named Trigger and an ancient Appaloosa, but her love affair with the Arabian horse began with her treasured bay gelding, Brandy. Ann graduated from William Woods University with a double major in equestrian science adn business administration and was named Distinguished Scholar in Equestrian Science.

Since 1986 Ann and her husband Tom have owned Golden Ridge Stables in Lakeville. They have two children. Matt is a college senior at Kansas and Cora is a junior at Lakeville North. Always an amateur, Ann has had the opportunity to show many good horses over the years in a variety of breeds and disciplines.

Ann has been on the board of the Tri-State Horsemen's Association for over twenty years adn she most recently served as the First Vice President. She was honored to be named Tri-State's Lifetime Achievement Awardee in 2016. Ann has long been a WSCA judge and she enjoys the challenges of judging all breed shows.

At Golden Ridge, they have an active academy program, sponsor an award winning youth team, and offer a myriad of activities designed to share their passion for horses. They pride themselves in community involvement in Lakeville and the surrounding communities. 

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2nd Vice President

Darrell Mead

15421 70th Place North
Maple Grove, MN 55311-3246
(612) 860-4645
Email Darrell

Darrell has been riding all his life. He actively participated in trail riding and trail development for many years. In 1990 he became a director for MHC and focused on work with the Trail Blazers Committee.  This committee has been instrumental in the opening of new horse camps, maintaining current horse camps and trail repair and maintenance.  With his position on the Board of Directors of MN Recreation Trail User’s Association (MRTUA) he is able to assist the Horse Council with matching funds.

The MN Horse Expo takes up a large amount of his time.  His wife sometimes says he works longer hours at that than at the bakery.  He manages the barn, campground, and security at the Horse Expo. 

Darrell is a baker by profession, and owns the Old Fashion Donut Shoppe in Crystal for the pas 30 years.  Darrell is married; he and his wife currently own two mules.

Committees he is involved with include Trail Blazers (Chair), Expo, Chair of Expo Oversight Committee, State Horse Council, Promotions, Nominations, Inventory/Storage, Horseperson of the Year, Grants, Budget, Budget Review/Expo, Annual Meeting, and Communications.  Darrell also is a member and co- chair of the Equine Advisory Group (Oversees money from Trail Passes).

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Thomas Tweeten

815 Creekwood Drive
Chaska, MN 55318
(952) 226-4190; (952) 226-4192
Email Tom

Committees: State Horse Council (co-chair), Trails, Expo, Budget Review/Expo, Grants, Horseperson of the Year, Legislative

Tom Tweeten, PhD, is a scientist with more than 38 years of experience in Analytical Chemistry. He has worked with industrial chemicals and human and animal nutrition to develop chemical testing procedures to insure product quality and integrity.

Tom grew up on a large farm in Southeastern Minnesota. During his early childhood horses were still used to work the farm. Horses, hogs, beef, soil conservation and youth leadership were key activities in his youth 4-H experience.

The Tweeten family owns a small farm where they train American Saddlebred and Morgan horses. Family members show both regionally and nationally. The horse experience lead Tom and a couple of young entrepreneurs to begin a small business in 1996 that has developed a line of horse care products that are sold in the US, Canada and Europe. In addition Tom has become a recognized clinician giving talks around the country on how grooming is an important part of building a relationship with the horse.

Tom is on the Board of Directors for the Tri-State Horseman’s Association serving as a liaison to the Minnesota Horse Council. His experiences on the Minnesota Horse Council Board of Directors include being on the Trails Committee, Budget Committee, Grants Committee, and Legislative Committee as well as being chairperson for Direct Fund and the Board Nominations Committee. He served as 1st Vice-president for two years and Council President in 2006. He represented Minnesota at the national States Horse Council Advisory Committee Meeting twice and once at the American Horse Council Meeting in Washington DC. Through these positions, responsibilities and experiences, Tom has developed a broader sense of how the Minnesota Horse Council can serve the Horse Industry of Minnesota.

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Dawn Moore

PO Box 1095
Minnetonka, MN 55345-0095
(612) 819-1708
Email Dawn

Committees: Horseperson of the Year (Chair), Minnesota High School Equestrian Association (Chair), Annual Meeting (Chair), Certified Stables, Temporary Emergency Equine Feed Aid

Dawn grew up near Mound, MN and had horse and ponies as a young child and throughout her high school years. She was an active member of Trista Riders, a now defunct WSCA saddle club based out of Minnetrista. She showed her grade horses at local open shows, fun shows, Parkdale Riders shows, and other smaller WSCA shows in the area. Then off to college, she took a sabbatical from the horse industry.

Her return to the horse industry was in 1998, when a neighbor introduced her then 11 year old daughter, Ashley, to American Saddlebred horses. Ashley and Dawn started riding lessons and driving lessons at Westwood Farm in Plato, MN. Dawn currently owns a five-gaited American Saddlebred and competes on the local and national circuit. Her dedication to the breed can be seen in her support of the local shows as a correspondent for Saddle Horse Report and Horse World, two breed specific publications.

Dawn is a member of MSHA (MN Saddlebred Horse Ass’n), Tri-State, and the MN Horse Council. She has also volunteered at several horse shows, F.A.S.H, (Friends of the American Saddle Horse), Northstar Morgan Americana Horse Show, MN Futurity Show and other horse related events. She volunteers with her daughter on a regular basis for WE CAN RIDE, INC therapeutic riding program.

Her main involvement with the MN Horse Council focuses on the Annual Meeting. Most recently she has taken on the administration of the Minnesota High School Equestrian Association. She currently serves as Secretary for the Council. She has been involved in several ad-hoc committees over the years, as well as on the Certified Stable committee. She has volunteered at the Aisle of Breeds and the MN Horse EXPO. Dawn has been a board member sine January 2002 and looks forward to working with the Council as the horse community continues to grow in MN.

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Barbara Anderson Whiteis

9209 Iffert Ave NE
Monticello, MN 55362
(612) 598-1696 (Cell)
Email Barbara

Barb has been in the horse business professionally since 1973. She got her first horse when she was 13 and started training a year later with a 9-month-old colt that had to be roped in order to be caught. A career was established. From that Barb started training and showing in WSCA, then the Class A Arab circuit. While attending college at the University of Minnesota – Waseca, Scottsdale Community College in Arizona, and the University of Minnesota at St. Paul, Barb was training and working in numerous disciplines. She graduated from the ‘U’ with Bachelor of Science (BS) in Animal Science.

After finishing some graduate classes, she went to work at the University of Minnesota for the Dept. of Surgery, managing horse serum production for the ALG program. During the eight years at the ‘U’, Barb showed and trained Western, saddleseat, eventing, dressage, reining, endurance, carriage driving, foxhunting, drill team, parades and halter, as well as many years of teaching riding – particularly at Golden Ridge Stables in Lakeville. Any activity that involved horses she would give it a try.

In 2001, Barb and her husband started Caille Farm Inc. in Monticello, focusing on dressage and riding lessons, and with an emphasis on amateurs and young riders. In the past 13 years, many of her students have become dedicated horsepeople, receiving many local and national honors. She currently has two junior students ranked 5th and 8th in the nation in FEI-level dressage.

Barb is a member of United States Dressage Federation and has earned the Bronze and Silver medals. She also has been a longtime member of the United States Equestrian Federation, Arabian Horse Association, and the American Quarter Horse Association. In addition to completing two terms on the board of directors for the Central States Dressage and Eventing Association (CSDEA), she has recently joined and competed in Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association and the Minnesota Mule and Donkey Association.

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Karen Clark

586 32nd Street SE
Buffalo, MN 55313
(763) 682-5324
Email Karen

Karen thought about being a nun as a child, but when one of her teachers said she would have to give up her pony, that thought quickly vanished. During her teen years, Karen would ride cross country to the Trail Dusters of Hammel's monthly horse shows. After a time, some of the Trail Dusters felt sorry for her and offered to trailer her horse. From 1969 on, Karen was an active member of both Paint and Pinto groups both locally and nationally. After getting married in 1973 Karen realized she need to create some income or hang up her passion for horses. She became immersed in 4-H, served on the board of the Agricultural Society of Hennipen County, became the horse leader for Hennipen County and was chair for the State 4-H show for two years. Karen began taking in training horses, advertising, and relying on word of mouth to create her business, Rainbow's End. Karen was awarded the Professional Horsewoman of the Year by the Pinto Horse Association in 2015. She was also recognized as the Minnesota Horse Council's Horseperson of the Year in 2018. In the past, she served on the Minnesota Horse Council; helping to develop the Certified Stable Program and was part of the planning and development of the Minnesota Horse Expo.

Karen and her miniature horse, Prince of Faith, visit a local nursing home every month. Karen believes it is an honor in itself to be able to share the love we all have for this industry.

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Dave Fleischhaker

10300 Brent Ave
Inver Grove Heights, MN 55077-5026
(651) 402-5512 (cell)
Email Dave

Raised on a farmstead in Eastern South Dakota, David grew up around animals and was especially fond of the work horses used on the farm where he mastered harnessing skills, driving wagons and plows. As a young person he learned not only the value of horses as working partners but he enjoyed riding as a pleasure past time and spent many hours on horse back.

Life’s adventures brought David to the Twin Cities to pursue an education and a job, and eventually the ownership of two businesses. He was also an active volunteer in a variety of organizations and held leadership roles in many of the organizations including Radio Emergency Action Citizen Team (REACT), Minneapolis Aquatennial, St Paul Festival and Heritage Foundation.

Never losing his passion for animals, he eventually settled on a small hobby farm in the south Metro that he shares with his wife, three horses, and a collection of small dogs. Dave has served canine rescue and re-homing organizations for the last four years, providing foster care for approximately 200 dogs, managing procurement, assisting with relay transport, and fulfilling roles in the canine rescue system.

Recently, Dave and his wife have become active in Emergency Animal Disaster Response completing a variety of certifications and participating in training exercises related to disaster rescue and animal sheltering. They are involved in the development of Scott County’s Emergency Animal Disaster Plan. Scott County has significant agricultural space and high density of equine interest, including many stables and boarding facilities. Dave has just been appointed to the Board of MN Animal Disaster Coalition.

Dave is passionate about animals, their role in society as companions, and insuring there are resources available to equine enthusiasts. David is dedicated to quality animal care, welfare and safe management of horse related facilities. He is an advocate for the humane management and needs of all animals.


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 Sandy Helgeson

26320 123rd Avenue North
Rogers MN 55374
(612) 275-5016

Email Sandy

Sandy bought her first horse with babysitting money when she was 13.  As a teenager she rode trails and showed at WSCA Shows.  She have shown Saddlebreds, Arabians, and National Show Horses for a combined total of about 40 years.  She has a degree in Agri-business and graduated from Brown Institute in Computer Programming/IT.  Sandy and her husband have a farm in Rogers.  They are avid fishermen, motorcyclists and outdoor enthusiasts.

Sandy is a retired IT Project Manager.  She managed small to large retrofit and new development projects.  While in the employ of the University of Minnesota, I managed the Emerging Technology Lab in addition to other areas.  I started a consulting business about 10 years into my work in the IT industry, and retired after 25 uears in IT to provide elder care for my parents in their last stages of life.

As a volunteer I have provided leadership in fundraising and development for several organizations:  Tenant - United Way Campaign Chair, Arabian Horse Breeders Association committees, Partners University of Minnesota Vet Med board member for several years, Minnesota Hooved Rescue creating a motorcycle rally fundraiser in cooperation with Canterbury Downs and others.

I am interested in providing voluntary efforts to sustain, promote, and expand the horse industry in Minnesota.

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Trina Joyce

3035 34th Ave. S.
Minneapolis, MN 55406-2103
(612) 729-7798 
Email Trina

Committees: Scholarships (Chair), Grants, Direct Funding, Promotions, Horse of the Year, Certified Stables, Aisle of Breeds

Trina Joyce has served on the board of the Minnesota Horse Council, taking on a range of responsibilities, for most of the past 35 years. At the 2012 Annual Meeting, the Minnesota Horse Council recognized her for the contributions she has made as a volunteer.

Trina's interest in horses started early in life as she has ridden since the age of five. She is a graduate of the former Hennepin County Vo-Tech's Horse Care and Stable Management Program, along with her taking an additional course in Riding Instruction. With her education, she went on to become a riding director at Tannadoona Camp Fire Girls' Camp. She was responsible for evaluating rented horses, training assistants, teaching riding to campers, and leading trail rides. She was also riding instructor for the University of Minnesota Physical Education classes and for Community Education Classes through Hennepin Technical College.

Trina went on to complete the Cheff Center Instructor Course to teach riding to persons who have disabilities. That training inspired her to become the founder and first instructor of We Can Ride, Inc. As a start up, she helped with evaluating and training horses and volunteers, teaching riding to individuals with disabilities, fundraising and publicity. Her commitment ro helping people through horses continued by becoming a co-founder and instructor of Cloud 9 Therapeutic Horsemanship. She served as a volunteer at Courage Riders for many years. Trina is currently a volunteer at River Valley Riders since 2000. She has also volunteered for the Minnesota Zoo's Horse Camps for the past two years.

As a Minnesota Horse Council member, Trina has been a volunteer and/or presenter at every Expo since 1982. She initiated and is responsible for an equine related antique display at Expo. She has put in many volunteer hours at the Minnesota State Fair, Aisle of Breeds, including being the volunteer coordinator in charge of recruiting volunteers for 36 shifts. She also wrote policies and procedures for that position, something that had not been done before. Trina maintains an annual updated list of therapeutic programs and another of Equine Educational opportunities in the state of Minnesota.

As a MHC board member, Trina has served as Philanthropy Coordinator with Public Relations responsibilities for scholarships, grants, direct funding, Horseperson of the Year and horse of the year. She has been chairperson for the scholarship committee since its inception over thirty years ago. When she served as board secretary, Trina took the responsibility of coordination the documentation of policies and procedures for each of the fifteen board committees. She has taken photos and written articles for the MHC newsletter. Her favorite equine activity is trail riding. 

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Doug Persian

PO Box 401
Buffalo, MN 55313
(763) 242-5570
Email Doug 

Doug Persian bought his first horse eleven years ago, and he’s been addicted ever since.  In his journey of learning everything he could about horses, he found the Minnesota Horse Council.  Doug has been a member for many years and attended the MHC board meetings on a regular basis since 2008. One of the issues he has been instrumental in is the boarding stable property tax issue. Doug took the issue to the Farm Bureau Federation and it was added to the state platform.

Doug has enjoyed trail riding and is an active member and Vice President of the Buffalo Stars & Stirrups Saddle Club. Doug has helped at the MN Horse Expo as a volunteer as well as volunteered his time for some of the heavy lifting (literally) at the MHC storage locker, helping to put in new shelving for storage.

Doug currently boards horses and provides horse activities for disadvantaged youths through a non-profit organization he started called So Others May Shine.

In Doug’s words:

Attending MHC board meetings as a visitor has given me insight to the scope and range of the benefits the MHC provides to the horse industry.  To indicate my commitment to the MHC, I am currently serving on the promotions committee and the education committee. 

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Meg Sax

555 Central Ave S
Milaca, MN 56353-1156
(320) 761-3990
Email Meg

Meg Sax grew up on the family farm in West Central Minnesota where her first experiences with horses were with the Belgian draft horses that her grandfather owned. Along with the draft horses there would be a saddle horse, donkey or even a mule or two to help take care of. Following graduation from college in St. Cloud Meg had the opportunity to ride with a roommate who had horses. When she moved to Milaca a few years later she purchased her first Quarter Horse gelding and has been actively involved with the horse industry since then.

 Meg is currently working in the private sector and is active in several equine related organizations from a local to national level which have provided her with a wide range of experiences and broad view of the horse industry and working with youth, two of her significant interests. Her primary involvement has been with the 4-H Horse program. She is also actively involved with the American Youth Horse Council, Minnesota Quarter Horse Association, Round Up Riders, a local WSCA saddle club and the Minnesota Horse Council (MHC). She she currently serves on the MHC Promotions Committee.

As a Minnesota 4-H Program alumnus, she went from being a 4-H member to being a 4-H volunteer leader. As a 4-H volunteer leader she has coached horse judging and horse bowl teams as well as serving on the Minnesota 4-H Horse Association/Minnesota State 4-H Horse Project Development Committee as a director for several years. Some of her many accomplishments in the Minnesota 4-H Horse project include organizing the Minnesota 4-H Winter Round Up which is a horse project leaders forum for volunteer leaders to explore and learn about the horse project and leadership activities to assist them in their local counties, 4-H Hippology Event in Minnesota which has grown to one of the largest horse project activities along with Horse Bowl. She chaired the Minnesota State 4-H Horse Show for three years as well. She developed and organized a 4-H Horse Camp at the county level which was open to both 4-H and non-4-H youth. Meg was member of the State 4-H Horse Project Committee when the MN Horse Expo asked if 4-H would consider taking on a Used Tack and Clothing Sale at the MN Horse Expo when it was started and was a part of the 4-H group that organized that and continues to work with it today.

Meg is a member of the American Youth Horse Council and has served on the AYHC Board for 6 years, currently serving as treasurer. She has served on the Grants and Scholarships Committee, Symposium Committee and chaired the Membership Services Committee. In 2014 along with Judy Barka, she co-chaired the AYHC Symposium which was hosted in Minnesota for the first time. The AYHC Symposium is an annual national conference for the youth horse industry for youth, adult leaders and industry professionals. 

She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology at St. Cloud State University and also took graduate coursework in Vocational Education with a double emphasis in Extension Education and Training and Development at the University of Minnesota. Meg worked at the Minnesota Center for 4-H Youth Development coordinating Animal Science events and activities for 3 years.

The Minnesota Horse Council supports the horse industry throughout Minnesota and provides education to the public as well as the equine industry. Meg feels that her experiences and broad view of the horse industry would bring another perspective on the needs of the horse industry in Minnesota to the Minnesota Horse Council.
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Tracy Turner

(651) 440-1964
Email Tracy

Tracy Turner grew up with horses, apprenticed with a farrier in 1972 and received his DVM degree from Colorado State University in 1978.  After which he was able to pursue his interest in equine medicine and surgery.  He has served on the faculty of the University of Illinois, University of Florida and the University of Minnesota.  Presently, he owns Turner Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, a specialty practice serving all of Minnesota.  In addition, Turner is a Veterinary Official for Federation Equestrian International.  In 2004, Turner was named to the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame.

Turner is board certified by the American College of Veterinary Surgeons and the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation.  He is a Fellow of the American Association of Thermology.

Turner has been a member of the Minnesota Horse Council since 2002.  He has served as President and Vice President.  Presently he is chair of the Legislative and Welfare Committees.  He has also served as the President of the Minnesota Horse Council Foundation.  He is married to veterinarian Julie Wilson and they enjoy riding the back-country trails when they have time.

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