Meet our Board Members

President

Ray Gasperson

Ray and his wife Sue, along with their son Corey own a 42-acre horse farm, Flight Quest Farm, located adjacent to the Green Creek Steeplechase Course. Sue is very active practicing Equine Body Work and teaching horse riding using the Centered Riding Method. Corey is a full-time farrier. Ray wears many hats in the community, and we are very lucky that he finds time to be on the CETA board. Not only is he a Polk County Commissioner (now in his 11th year), he works as a realtor, a General Contractor, he square bales hay for horses, AND he is a very seasoned horse stall cleaner at his 11-stall barn.

Ray and his wife feel extremely fortunate to have all three of their adult children and families living near by in Polk County.

Ray’s dream of moving to this area and establishing a horse farm started in the Fall of 1972, when Sue and he met at UNC Asheville while being students, and he was serving as Student Body President. They were soon married in the Spring of 1973. Ray is a native of Asheville and Sue a native of New Jersey. Even before moving south, Sue was aware of the vibrant equine community here in the Tryon/Polk County area. They were finally able to make their dream a reality when they purchased their farm in Green Creek in 2001.

“I am grateful to be a member of the CETA Board. My goal has always been one of advocating for the expansion of CETA trails with easements. I’m convinced that this will help guarantee open, green space in our Collinsville area.” -Ray Gasperson

ray4polk@yahoo.com

Vice President

Karim Shihata

A Polk County resident since 2002, Karim grew up and attended college in Wisconsin. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin, he served in the Marines and retired a full colonel. He served as the Polk County Manager for two years.

Karim and his wife, Patricia Sue moved here to continue raising horses. They have operated a breeding farm for more than 40 years. Their horses have been awarded multiple national and regional awards in dressage, sport horse and eventing disciplines.

The Shihata’s have three daughters and five grandchildren. Although the majority of the 15 horses on their property are retired, two thoroughbreds are in foal this year. And of course, there is Winnie the Jack Russell, who is really in charge of the farm!

suncatcherarabians@windstream.net

Treasurer

Suzanne Crawford

Suzanne and her husband Chris retired to Tryon in June of 2017. After a 21+ year career in law enforcement, she was looking for a place to slow down and enjoy all that mother nature has to offer. She rode horses on the Mounted Unit early in her career, but with time/work obligations she couldn’t get back in the saddle until closer to her retirement.

Knowing that she and Chris wanted to have horses again, it made moving to Tryon a no brainer. When she was looking for land, being able to tack up her horse and ride was a MUST, so she was thrilled when they purchased land on Lake Sandy Plains Road…a property with deeded easement for CETA. Suzanne and her husband love to ride the trails and are enjoying this next chapter in their life.

Suzanne is a member of Polk Equine Emergency Rescue (PEER).

suzannegittocrawford@gmail.com

Secretary

 Melanie McNeil

Melanie and her husband Chris spent three years researching where to live when they retired. A main requirement was it had to be horse friendly.  They kept hearing about the Tryon area, and after visiting they knew this is where they wanted to live.  They feel fortunate to have found a small farm on Collinsville Road where they keep two of their three horses. 

Melanie has some previous board experience as secretary for a 501c3 German Shepherd Rescue and as a committee member for a research foundation.  As a new board member in 2023, Melanie looks forward to working with the board, and the CETA members and landowners, to sustain our special CETA trail system.

style056-post@yahoo.com 

Membership

Rhonda Lockhart Lewis

She has been nicknamed “The Historian” because anytime we have a question about dealings in times past, Rhonda always knows the answer!

She has been riding in this area just shy of 20 years. She and her husband Chris own Rest-A-Bit farm in the Green Fields subdivision. During a hunter pace event with a friend, she was crossing the creek behind what is now her home and said, “Can you imagine living in such a wonderful place?” Well fast forward a bit, and now this is where she calls home. When asked where she would like to go on vacation, her answer is always Rest-A-Bit farm.

Rhonda@Lewisglobal.com

Trails

Tiffany Picheco

Originally from Connecticut, she has always pursued her passion for horses no matter where life has brought her. She showed on the intercollegiate team for the University of Rhode Island. Showing and trail riding did not stop on her adventures to Colorado, Hawaii or the last 11 years in Charleston, SC. Moving here to the Tryon area was unexpected, but a pleasant surprise. She feels so fortunate to have found a farm in the Green Fields neighborhood, set right on the CETA trail system. Although showing is still a goal of hers, trail riding is her favorite way to spend time in the saddle. Being an active member of CETA and helping maintain its beautiful trails is important to her. Having this opportunity to share with other horse enthusiasts is truly wonderful.

silveroakfarm1415@gmail.com

D’Lee Worden

While on a road trip in the summer of 2011, D’Lee McCormick Worden visited the Tryon, Columbus, Landrum area and fell in love with the mountains.  After having direct access to the trails in the Mark Twain National Forest in MO, trail access was a must.  D’Lee and her husband Tom had to sell their home in the Missouri Ozarks before purchasing property here and in January 2012, they got lucky.  They moved to their current property in Columbus in March of 2012.  They arrived in a caravan of two trucks and two horse trailers, one car and a moving truck.  Included were three horses, one dog and much cherished pot belied pig.  “We must have looked like the Beverly Hillbillies as our realtor met us there and took a picture of me leading Merlin (the pig) up the driveway in his custom-made harness to his new home.”

Both Tom and D’Lee are originally from Indiana and both worked for years at Dow in Indianapolis.  Tom is retired and D’Lee still works part time.  She worked as a manager of a nonprofit local retail business for the first five years here and now works for Pavillon.  D’Lee is an avid trail rider with her Draft cross gelding, Bo, and TWH mare, Farrah.  She grew up with Arabians and has taken numerous horse trekking vacations across the pond.  D’Lee feels very blessed to have access to such an awesome trail system and is excited to work towards preserving it in the years to come.  Permanent easements everybody!

tomword@yahoo.com

D'Lee on horseback

Alice Dobbs

In April of 2017 Alice moved here to heaven on earth with her 3 horses and 2 cats. She was wanting a place where her eventing horses would have a nice retirement, as would she. Alice trained two off-the-track thoroughbreds to event (one to Preliminary, the other to Training). At 21 years now, they were ready for something more relaxing, like trail riding! Finding a place where she could see her horses from most rooms AND could ride the CETA trails from her property was a requirement and she was able to find just that. Besides riding horses, Alice thoroughly enjoys West Coast Swing Dancing, traveling, learning about horses, becoming a better person, spirituality, and taking care of her property.

alicedobbs10@gmail.com

Easements

Ivey Sumrell

Ivey’s history with Tryon goes way, way back to when she was in college and fox hunted with the Tryon Hounds for 2 seasons. Fast forward to 2004 when she and her husband, Jim, purchased their Collinsville Road farm. She moved here from Weddington, NC (South of the Greater Charlotte area near Waxhaw) where she ran Up and Over, a lesson and boarding barn. When Jim retired in 2009, they moved here full time.

Ivey put her property lines in permanent trail easement the first year she owned her property. She wanted to preserve the magical trail system for many years to come. She loves this area and wanted to keep it open for trail riding forever.

While Ivey no longer foxhunts, she is a VERY active social member of both the Tryon Hounds and Green Creek Hounds. In addition, she supports the new hunt Goodwin Hounds. She is an avid trail rider and would love to invite anyone to join her in exploring our beloved trails she knows so well. CETA was a dream come true for her and she never tires of riding the trails.

“Please embrace our trail system and help us put deeded easements on the rest of the trails so we have a gift for our future!” -Ivey Sumrell

iveysum@gmail.com

Hounds Liaison

Bonnie Lingerfelt

Bonnie is an equestrian who has had the good fortune to enjoy riding in Tryon horse country for over 35 years. She knows every trail, crossing and bridge…and has enjoyed so many wonderful hours in the saddle. Over the years, she has served on the boards of the Tryon Riding and Hunt Club, the Equestrian Advisory Committee at FENCE, and initiated the Foothills Equestrian Trail Association (FETA). Bonnie is an avid foxhunter and has devoted endless hours to the leadership (MFH since 1994) of the Tryon Hounds Hunt, one of the earliest and foremost hunts in America.

In 2000, she joined ReMax Advantage Realty and her focus is on equestrian properties, land, and country homes.

“I sincerely appreciate the beauty of our community and remain committed to preserving our special quality of life, and support Conserving Carolina and the Equine Land Conservation Resource.” – Bonnie Lingerfelt

bonnie@tryonproperties.com

Once you are an approved member of CETA (honorary or riding member) you may ask to join our private Facebook group:  Collinsville Equestrian Trail Association CETA.  Just make the request to join and the administrator of the page will review your request.  We look forward to staying in contact with you.