Our Crew

Jennifer Mathis
Horse Program Director
[email protected]

Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship Certified Instructor for Riding and Driving, Certified Horsemanship Association Equine Facilities Management Level 4, Certified Barefoot Trimmer, Bachelors of Business Administration.

Originally from Kansas City, Jennifer began providing Equine Therapy for children and adults with disabilities in 2010. She has seen the powerful effects of Equine Therapy through first words and steps for children with diagnosis from Autism to Cerebral Palsy. Jennifer pursues dressage and driving training with a variety of accomplished coaches: Benjamin Pfabe, Rachel Calabria, Gene Brown and Jenny Fidler.

Jennifer lives in Lewisville, Texas with her husband, daughter and their three dogs.

PURPOSE Program Staff

(Providing Unique and Realistic Possibilities and Opportunities for Special Needs Equestrians)

Amy Gayhart
Executive Director
Board of Directors, President

2403 Crown Colony Circle
Prosper, Texas 75078
(469) 450-9594
[email protected]

Amy Gayhart graduated from Howard Payne University with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art, Communications and Education. During her time at Howard Payne she served as the marketing intern for the University and was responsible for the University marketing materials and yearbook. She was a member of Delta Chi Rho, and served as an officer for 3 years, and as president of the sorority her senior year. After college Amy worked for several years in advertising and administration as an art buyer. In 2003 Amy left the corporate world to stay home and care for her special needs child, Mabry. She continued to explore creative outlets buy running her own painted mural and photography business. 

Amy’s daughter Mabry had years of extensive therapy and finally found her true love which was horses. Not knowing anything about horses, other than her daughter’s love for them, in 2012 she began serving on the board of Blue Sky Therapeutic Riding & Respite. She quickly fell in love with therapeutic riding and was given a desire to do more for the special needs population. With the daunting realization that her daughter would one day age out of the public-school system she was determined to create a program where special needs adults could be in community while being able to live out their purpose. So, in addition to therapeutic horseback riding, Amy and her faithful volunteers at Blue Sky created the PURPOSE program, which is a respite program for special needs adults, where Amy teaches art, gardening, cooking along with job and life skills for special needs adults. 

Amy is married to John Gayhart and they live in Prosper, Texas with their three children Mabry, Jack and Slater.

Olivia DiStasio
Client Services Coordinator & Advocate, PURPOSE Support

823 Keaton Rd S Sanger, TX 76266 (469)-600-9839
[email protected]

Bachelor of Science in Child Development, PATH International Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor In-Training, Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist

Olivia, began her journey at Blue Sky over a year ago as an intern finishing her Child Development degree with TWU. After completing her Internship, Olivia knew that there was no place else she’d rather be, and that her work at Blue Sky was only just beginning. Her passion for Therapeutic Riding continued to grow and she joined us beyond volunteering to become a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH) Instructor in Training. Her love for our Blue Sky horses motivated her to pursue her certification in Equine Sports Massage Therapy, so that she could learn how to give back to the horses in a meaningful way through the benefits of Equine Massage. Olivia pursues dressage and jumping training from the accomplished, Wendy O’Neill. You will also see Olivia inside, supporting the PURPOSE program, our respite program for special needs adults, where Executive Director Amy Gayhart teaches art, gardening, and cooking along with job and life skills for special needs adults.

Olivia lives in Sanger, Texas with her husband and their dog, Moe.

Shanel Tarrant-Simone
Autism and Behavior Advisor
4607 Wedgewood Dr.
McKinney, Texas
[email protected]

Shanel Tarrant-Simone graduated from the University of North Texas with a BS in Human Resources. She is the mom of twins with Level 3 Autism. Shanel is trained in Applied Behavior Analysis, Verbal Behavior, Positive Behavior Supports and Nonviolent Crisis Intervention.

Shanel worked for 9.5 years with the Frisco Independent School District before leaving to homeschool her sons. Her first year with the district she was a 1:1 support for a student who was previously homebound. She worked with the district’s autism specialist to get this student back in a school setting. The remainder of her years with the district she served on the Behavior Support Team, training teachers in the Autism program. She worked with all levels; from PPCD to High School. When Shanel left the Frisco ISD, she was supporting 27 Autism classrooms and others as requested; including Asperger’s, life skills and emotional disturbance.

Shanel and her sons live in McKinney, Texas.

Beverly Aten
Fun Friday Coordinator

Board of Directors
9241 Massey Road
Pilot Point, Texas 76258
(817) 929-0953
[email protected]

Beverly Aten was born and raised in Lamesa, Texas. She attended college at Levelland College and Texas Tech University.

In 1970 she moved to the North Texas area where she owned and operated several small businesses until 2003. In the spring of 2003 she began working in the Food and Nutrition Department at Denton Regional Medical Center, where she remained for 15 years. In 2010 she was named Employee of the Year. Beverly has extensive knowledge in food service and customer care. She is a valuable tool when we teach our clients entrepreneurial and job skills. She can show anyone what it means to “work hard.”

Beverly has been involved with horses and western lifestyle her entire life. She began volunteering for Blue Sky Therapeutic Riding and Respite in 2010. She has been invaluable in the planning and development of the Purpose Project at Blue Sky.

Beverly currently resides in Pilot Point, Texas.

Lisa Cox
Certified Art Educator
610 Ruby Cove
Oak Point, Texas 75068
(817) 657-9971
[email protected]

Lisa Cox attended the Texas Women’s University majoring in Art and received her B.A. in Art Education and is a Texas Certified Art Educator, early childhood through twelfth grade. Lisa currently teaches art at Accommodated Learning Academy in Grapevine, and at her home studio, Little House Studio. In Lisa’s seven-year career she has worked with students with a vast range of learning differences.

Lisa enjoys making her own art, specializing in calligraphy, lettering and ceramics. She loves to view all art and learn about new artists, most of all, she loves teaching art to students of all ability levels. Lisa’s goal as a teacher is to show her students that everyone can be successful in art. Lisa also teaches adult art classes… allowing adults to realize their own artistic ability is very rewarding. She also hosts as many evening adult classes as her schedule allows.

Lisa has been married for twenty-five years to her husband, Tim Cox and they have two children, Jonathan and Claire.

Jenny Garcia Former Special Education Teacher
6004 Cross Point Ln
Aubrey, Texas 76227
(469) 233-0880
[email protected]

Jenny Garcia, a former Special Education teacher, comes to Blue Sky with 20 years of experience working in education and special needs. She loves using her psychology and interdisciplinary degrees from Dallas Baptist University to help clients breakthrough for their own personal successes. She is certified in EC-12 sped and E-6 general studies.

She is a mom of 2 teens that keep her active with their various activities including soccer, football, basketball, and all the school functions! When she is not catering to her teens, she wrangles her pack of rescue mutts. She has built a successful direct sales business and holds a position of prestige with her company for (3) consecutive years now.

Blue Sky has given her a place to bring all of her experiences together and feel like a part of an amazing team!