BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Whips Board of Directors are a group of dedicated individuals who not only support our club but roll up their sleeves and get to work doing all the necessary background work to make this club successful.
United States Marine, Retired military and retired police officer, Driving Instructor and Trainer
Renowned driving clinician throughout the US and internationally, is also a full-time competitor (and champion!) in both combined driving and pleasure showing. He is a popular clinician, producer, participant and contestant in many Florida driving events including the Florida State Fair, the Grand Oaks Classic Pleasure Driving Competition (Weirsdale, FL), the Rhinebeck, Germany World Cup Competition (1987) and the Scottish Festival in Ocala. His selection to the USEF Para-Equestrian Driving Team (2014, 2018) was a dream come true for this accomplished competitor, Vietnam War veteran, and Purple Heart recipient. He won a silver medal at the para-driving world championship for Team USA. He is now a well-known Pleasure as well as CDE (Combined Driving) competitor in the Southeast, frequently securing class wins. Giles is also a member of the Four in Hand Driving Club. Certified Haflinger and Gypsy Vanner Judge and a FEI Steward.
A draft hitch driver since youth, Bob Giles could be found doing farm work and logging in the Maine woods throughout his teen years. Later, he owned and operated a driving horse training center, Gentle Brook Farm, in Maine for 14 years. He was a tour carriage driver at the Arcadia National Park in Maine for several years. He and his wife Brenda then started the Winter Hill Driving Center in Morriston, Florida, on fifteen acres with Florida’s Goethe State Forest, which they operate to this day.
Bob has been involved in educational programs geared towards the novice driver for several years and garnered a reputation for starting horses and people in carriage driving, horse and driver training: singles, pairs, tandem, random & four-in-hand. He has done coaching with four-in-hands of Friesians, Gelderlanders, and Morgan for various clients, and driven and competed four and six-horse Clydesdale hitches.
Bob dedicates his driving to the more than 58,000 men and women who lost their lives in the Vietnam War... and to the many foster children of the world. He does not forget his past and always carries toys in his car to give to children in restaurants.
Bob’s life verse toward driving horses - “How Lucky Are We?”
I have been married to my husband Dan for 51 years and we have one son, Seth who lives in Ohio with his wife Elizabeth and their twin daughters, Charlotte and Olivia. I started driving in the early 80's and have been a member of the American Driving Society since 1987. Carriage driving is my passion and I support it by competing, volunteering, organizing educational opportunities such as Camp Black Prong, attending local clinics and serving as your vice president. It is my privilege to serve as vice president of our great club, The Florida Whips!
I moved back to Florida in 2020. I have been "horse crazy" my entire life. I enjoy trail riding and driving. My son, Chris, is a para-driver and is how I was introduced to The Florida Whips. I look forward to driving at competitions myself now that Chris is in college. I currently have a single horse, a single pony and a pair of minis in training to one day drive as a pair. I am interested in learning to drive tandem as well. I love the sport of "driving".
I’m a recent full time resident in Florida this year after being a snow bird for 9 Winters. I’ve been horse crazy my whole life, riding hunters, jumpers, & eventing horses for 35 years before buying a Miniature horse for my Granddaughter and discovering driving. I went from riding a thoroughbred to driving a mini and found I was having more fun driving. I lucked out with several wonderful driving minis, discovered Pleasure shows and then, Combined Driving. I currently have a small pony I will be showing Intermediate Level this year.
Northern Region Director
Betsy is a fourth generation Floridian who rode hunter jumpers in her youth, then stopped all equestrian endeavors for many years. In 2007 she watched a Black Prong CDE and fell in love with the driving idea. It took years for the pieces to come together so she could attend many of the driving events in north central Florida, and weekly practices at the Jowers' Iron Horse Farm She and her mini-mule, Winchester, have been a team since 2014. Betsy has tremendous respect for the skill, time, and resources it takes to perfect this sport, if just for fun or for competition---or both. She thought a mini-mule would be a cinch. She was wrong! "Safety first" is her motto and she looks forward to representing the northern region of The FlaWhips. Keep a look out for lots of fun stuff up her way!
Southeast Region Director, Acting
My name is Anne Raisner and I am an alternate director (and temporarily Acting Director) for the Southeast Region of The Florida Whips. My other responsibilities include providing education clinics and speakers throughout the year. My horse life has included 40 years of showing hunters, judging and 10 years as a USEF steward. I started driving 5 years ago when I inherited a Fjord mare, Ellinoir, from a good friend that passed away. Luckily, I contacted the Florida Whips and met drivers who guided me to driving professionals who helped me learn to drive and to train Ellinoir to drive. I now have a young horse that will start driving soon. In the meantime, I have been navigating for our newsletter editor, Denice Klinger.
Southeast Region Alternate
My name is Anne Raisner and I am an alternate director for the Southeast Region of The Florida Whips. My other responsibilities include providing education clinics and speakers throughout the year. My horse life has included 40 years of showing hunters, judging and 10 years as a USEF steward. I started driving 5 years ago when I inherited a Fjord mare, Ellinoir, from a good friend that passed away. Luckily, I contacted the Florida Whips and met drivers who guided me to driving professionals who helped me learn to drive and to train Ellinoir to drive. I now have a young horse that will start driving soon. In the meantime, I have been navigating for our newsletter editor, Denice Klinger.
Born with a love for horses in her blood, Sandy spent her youth trail riding Quarter Horses and driving a pair of Belgian drafts. She and her husband, Howard, moved from Michigan to Jacksonville, Florida in 2003. After 10 years in suburbia - they purchased a hobby farm and two nine-month old Friesian fillies which she personally trained to both ride and drive. Sandy learned about the Florida Whips while attending the Metta Baxter Driving Clinic in 2016 and has been a member since 2018. The thing she likes most about the Florida Whips is the friendly comradery amongst its drivers. “Remember, if you’re not having the most fun you’ve ever had with your horse, you’re doing it wrong!”
Veronica Close has owned horses since the early ‘70’s, and has competed in Hunter-Jumper, Dressage and 3-Day Eventing at the lower levels. She has recently retired as a city planning administrator, and has taken up the sport of carriage driving. She and her young Shetland Pony Flash, seen here with his buddy Dudley eating the same blade of grass, are just beginning, and look forward to participating in future Whips events.