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?”
Lauren Reece is an American Driving Society Combined and Pleasure Driving Technical Delegate, and has been honored to officiate at events across the United States and Canada. She first drove as a 4-Her in upstate New York, in the 70s. She never forgot her love, and returned to driving when she moved to Maine in 2000. She has competed several Morgan horses in the New England region in all types of driving events. Currently, being an American Driving Society Board member and the chair of the Rulebook Committee keeps her very busy. Lauren and her husband Dale can often be found , living the good life, driving a Morgan on the back roads of Florida.
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.
My name is Anne Raisner and I am the Director for the Southeast/Southwest 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 Member Engagement Chair, Denice Klinger.
Southeast Region Alternate
Bettina Scherer has been driving since 2008 and has been the SE Regional Director for multiple terms. She has driven a single horse to the FEI level and is currently competing an Intermediate and a Preliminary horse in the Combined Driving discipline. In addition to driving, Bettina has competed in the hunter and jumper rings and plays a bit of polo with her husband and sons.
Gail is a recently retired pediatric Physical Therapist in Ocala, Florida. A native of northeast Kansas, Gail received her undergraduate and doctorate degrees from University of Kansas. She is married to Jim Thomas a retired 30-year Army veteran. They currently live in Ocala, FL with their two dogs, two Dartmoor ponies, and one Welsh pony. Gail and Jim have 3 children and 7 grandchildren. Gail began showing horses when her daughters became active in their local 4-H club. Gail also serves as a member of the ADS membership committee.
I discovered driving and VSEs in 2014 after spending a lifetime riding anything I could throw a leg over. Some of my most cherished memories include horses. I don't think I had ever actually seen a mini until I took my kids to a miniature horse breeding farm outside Tucson, AZ. They were cute enough but I wasn't in the market for another pet until the owner mentioned driving. I asked her to explain and I was sold! Three days later I purchased Another Dimension Rebel Icon, the best horse I've ever owned and we're inseparable. Since neither of us had a clue how to drive, much less how to harness and hitch, we watched YouTube videos and figured it out together. He's forgiven me for so many mistakes and graciously hauled me from one show to the next. I'm thrilled to be your Newsletter Editor and encourage you to send me photos of you doing what you love (any size is fine) and/or articles you'd like to share.
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.
Alternate, Northern Region Director: