Janet's passion for horses started at the age of 16 when she bought her first horse, Pandy, with babysitting money and worked at a stable to help pay for boarding and lessons. Packing up her horse and heading to SUNY Cobleskill, she took her passion to the next level by majoring in Equestrian Studies. While in school, Janet continued to ride and placed highly in many competitive horse shows. On one occasion, she won all five classes in her division and took home Champion. This fueled her drive and allowed her passion to grow into a 28 acre, 3 barn equestrian facility appropriately named Hillrise Equestrian Center Inc.
Janet was the premier riding instructor for Heritage Christian Stables and orchestrated their first Therapeutic Riding program. She trained both volunteers and horses, working closely with physical therapists providing hippotherapy and therapeutic riding. Janet managed the staff, stable and therapy program while providing lessons for her riders.
In 2003, Janet became a PATH Intl. (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International) Certified Instructor, completing workshops in hippotherapy training and receiving certification as a Special Olympics Coach. In 2 years Janet raised Heritage Christian Services Stable to the level of a PATH Intl. Premier Accredited Facility.
Janet ran the first Special Olympics equestrian regional event in Monroe County in 2002 and took her students to the State Special Olympics, resulting in Gold and Silver medals. That same year she received the Bill Gray Memorial Award for Outstanding Program Contributions. Janet created the "Winter Classic Horse Show" in 2003 to benefit Heritage Christian Stables. The fundraiser welcomed the entire area horse-community and with over 100 riders from 12 participating stables, the event raised over $10,000.
Becoming the New York State Special Olympic Sport Director for Equestrian in 2007 allowed Janet to spearhead competitions again. This time for over 65 riders and 70 volunteers including the Nazareth and RIT Equestrian Teams. In this position, Janet continues to be responsible for training and certifying all equestrian coaches for New York State Special Olympics and is responsible for orchestrating the annual Genesee Region equestrian event each year.
Prior to her start at Heritage Christian Stables, Janet leased a facility in Webster, NY and ran "Janet's Equestrian Center, Inc." from 1997 to 2001. The facility housed 17 horses and taught 120 students to ride and compete in shows ranging from local competition to A-rated shows. After moving from there to Heritage Christian Stables, in 2007 Janet was able to purchase her own stable, "Hillrise Equestrian Center, Inc." Shortly after opening her equestrian facility, Janet became the coach and trainer of the St. John Fisher College Equestrian Club. In October of that same year, her college students competed in the IHSA horseshows for the first time in the schools history.
Expanding her programs in 2015, Hillrise Equestrian Center began providing riding services for the OASIS Adaptive Sports Inc. organization. Janet became an asset to the organization as an equestrian instructor, dedicating her focus to helping disabled veterans. Through Janet's experiences and continued training since 2002 she has developed an expertise helping and meeting the needs of individuals with developmental and mental disabilities caused by trauma, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, autism spectrum disorders, fetal alcohol syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc. With this expertise and experience, Janet and her husband Dennis have been given the ability to help their special needs son thrive, who they adopted at the age of 13 in 2015. 2016 brought validation and recognition to Janet's hard work and dedication. Her love, sensitivity and commitment to the less advantaged was recognized through her work with therapeutic riders and disabled veterans and she became the recipient of the 2016 Lowes Heros Award.
Today, Janet owns 28 horses and has a growing number of diverse riders. She has maintained a well known reputation in the surrounding horse community for her abilities and commitment to the therapeutic/adaptive and disabled veteran riding communities and for her teaching competitive hunter riding students. Her students compete in all levels of competition. In the Winter Series Horse Shows, all her riders placed within the top 6 of their classes out of 150+ riders. In the ESRAS (Empire State Riding Academy Series) and North Western horse show series, Janet's students typically place in the top of their classes out of 100+ riders. In addition to teaching her students, Janet also works closely with clubs, schools and the Town Recreation Departments of Walworth, Ontario and Brighton. Since Janet formed Hillrise Equestrian Center, she has adopted three horses from the Finger Lakes Thoroughbred Adoption Program (FLTAP) and has rescued four horses from the kill pens in New Holland, Pennsylvania. By doing so, she has given these horses a second chance at life. Like all the horses at Hillrise Equestrian Center, these horses have been specially trained and are essential assets to the Hillrise Tiny Tots, Hunter and Adaptive Riding programs and to the OASIS Adaptive Sports Equestrian at Hillrise.
Janet thrives on giving back to the horses, the surrounding communities and helping all her students "Rise Up To Their Riding Potential." Janet has given lectures on horsemanship and owning a business. Taking advantage of Janet's over 28 years of experience in teaching, many of her students have been able to pursue careers in the equestrian industry. Her history and accomplishments have been published throughout the years, proving her commitment to her students, her horses and the community.