Meet Our Staff & Stable
Virginia R. “Ginger” Cecil
Biltmore Board of Directors & Biltmore Equestrian Center Barn Advisor
Since 1978, Ginger has been active with the Biltmore Equestrian Center in a variety of roles, including barn manager, lessons instructor, and horse trainer. She currently serves as Barn Advisor for the Equestrian Center and is pursuing her Level 3 Parelli Natural Horsemanship certification. Ginger is also a member of The Biltmore Company Board of Directors.
Director of Equestrian Programs and Antler Hill Farm
Melonye has been with the Equestrian Center for over 10 years. She oversees all equine-related operations, including Deerpark Trail and Carriage Barn. Melonye has a degree in Biology from Lees-McRae College. She grew up in a farm setting and enjoys land management and animals, and is therefore well suited to her role.
Equestrian Program Manager
Elizabeth manages our lesson, boarding, and Ride Biltmore programs. She especially loves teaching lessons and traveling with her students to horse events. She also works closely with equine vets. Elizabeth is a Level 1 Centered Riding Instructor and is pursuing her Level 3 Parelli Natural Horsemanship certification. She grew up with horses, started riding at age eight, and enjoys hunter/jumper and dressage. She keeps her two horses at the barn.
Equestrian Center Manager
Cassie came on board on Christmas Eve of 2013 to work with our show-jumping horses. Cassie brings years of equine experience. She spent 8 years in Europe working with top international dressage & show-jumping horses. In the U.S. she worked for some of our top U. S. Olympic riders. Cassie enjoys all aspects of her job from training horses, giving lessons, staff training and working with the vets. She loves being a part of the Biltmore team.
Clay came to the Equestrian Center in 2012. He lives on a horse farm that includes everything from a mini to a draft horse, so he knows what it takes to maintain a herd. A horseman for more than 25 years, he says horses are therapeutic.
Terry Van Buren
Terry has more than a decade of Biltmore experience, and she joined the Equestrian Center team in 2012. Terry makes reservations, keeps records, schedules farriers and vets, answers the phone and emails, and helps the boarders. She loves the diversity of her position and the casual environment.
Katelynn joined the Biltmore team in 2012 working as administrative support. Growing up, her family owned horses so she’s been around horses, cattle, sheep, goats and chickens. Katelyn enjoys getting to know all of our boarders’ horses because they all have such different personalities. She says it’s fun trying to figure them out.
These staff members keep things running smoothly inside and outside the barn. When not tending directly to the stalls and horses, they check and mend fences, Bush Hog®, keep the equestrian trails clear of debris, and occasionally help out in other areas on the estate.
Alex Carter started as a stable assistant in 2012, coming from a job where he worked with alpacas and llamas. His favorite things are taking care of the boarded and lesson horses, and maintaining our 80 miles of equestrian trails. In his spare time, he’s quite a chainsaw artist.
Sam Albright is one of our newest stable assistants joining us in 2016. He grew up on a 5-acre farm with horses and mini donkeys. He spent his youth riding around pastures and climbing in the barn. Sam is most comfortable surrounded by animals: our horses, donkey, Herbie our Great Pyrenees and our barn cats Betsy and Binkx.
Kaylin Meier has been working with the Equestrian Center since 2015 and now works part-time while going to college full time. Throughout her life, she has had horses. Now she has two dogs and a self-sustaining fish tank. Previous experience includes working at three other stables and a doggy day-care center. Being around horses again and working with the awesome staff are her favorite parts of her job.
Elizabeth Lusk has been known as Lil E since starting here in 2014. She worked at Hickory Nut Gap Farm camp for 5 summers and started with the Biltmore Company at the Deerpark Carriage and Trail Barn for a year before coming to the Equestrian Center. By far, Kate the donkey is her favorite equine here, but she also loves running around with the lesson herd.
Noah Stines has been at the Equestrian Center since July of 2015. He has a diverse animal background working with chickens and hogs on multiple farms growing up. He even has experience with exotic animals like zebras, camels, reindeer, foxes, alligators, lemurs and ostriches having worked at a zoo in Illinois. Noah’s favorite time of the day is early morning when he opens the barn, turns on the lights and all the horses poke out their heads to say “Good morning, Noah.”
Mark Wood was hired by the Equestrian Center in March of 2014 after he retired from the Fire Service in 2012 and moved to Asheville. Mark learned the basics in the care of horses and the fundamentals of Parelli Natural Horsemanship while volunteering at Horse Sense of the Carolinas. He really enjoys the quiet and solitude of the early morning feeding time in the pasture with the lesson herd while watching the deer, turkey and other wildlife that roam the estate that time of day. He loves the challenges of the job: the continuing horse-care instruction and education he receives from his mentors. He is very proud to be a part of the Biltmore Equestrian Center team.
Mason Wood came on board in 2015. His love of animals began at an early age having grown up with horses. His family was always showing horses so he’s been a farm hand most of his life. He helped build his family’s barn in Hillsborough, NC. His favorite parts of his job include grooming the arenas and doing trail work. But his favorite part is providing great customer satisfaction to our boarders and guests.
Cory Sawyer was lucky to job shadow at the Center during his high school years. He liked it so much that he applied for a job and started nearly two years ago. Cory has worked at another barn and also at Builder’s Express. His favorite chore is maintaining the trails on a four-wheeler.
Every good barn has a few smaller animals that protect the herd and keep rodents to a minimum. The Equestrian Center is no exception:
Herbie is a large, lovable Great Pyrenees dog that sleeps comfortably most of the day in the office. At night, he patrols the perimeter of the Equestrian Center, keeping unwanted wildlife away.
Binx and Betsy, two American short-hair cats, are excellent mousers who both love to cuddle.