Meet the Board
HiCaliber has been incredibly blessed with some of the most amazingly gifted people who help lead the charge as members of our Crew. The key players of HiCaliber Horse Rescue are professional members of the animal and horse community and include Animal Control Officers, RVT's, shelter staff, veterinarians and reputable trainers. If you make it to HiCaliber, can usually tell them apart by their red crew gear, extra layer of dirt, or uncanny gift for panel dancing or toilet talk.
President, Board Directors
Michelle has been in various forms of Law Enforcement and Animal Control since 1996 but when it comes to horses, she's a self-taught city girl who just wanted a pony instead of a coach bag. Early into her career as an Animal Control Officer, there was an auto accident that involved a Thoroughbred being hauled to auction. The horse was seized and at the shelter he behaved like a big bratty baby, earning him the label of "fractious." Despite her inexperience at the time, Michelle knew that horse, "HiCaliber Americana" was misunderstood - unfortunately, that misunderstanding earned "Caliber" a spot on the put-to-sleep list. Michelle instantly went into action to rescue the TB and before she knew it, her life in horse rescue had begun!
In her 20's Michelle's first love was Pit Bull rescue. As an Officer, she saw the daily injustices the breed faced in the hands of the media, their owners, the community and sadly, shelters. She co-founded one of San Diego's largest and most respected Pit Bull advocacy and rescue groups, Even Chance.
As the years went on, Michelle continues to work with rescue horses as a hobby, developing a reputation and love for "fixing" problem horses. Despite her lack of early experience with horses, she has always seemed to speak their language. That lack of experience was a blessing in disguise; she was a clean slate and would just absorb everything the horses told her. She learned that If you keep following a defined order of techniques, you're bound to hit a brick wall -- if not five or six. To this day, she still treats each horse that way: erasing every previous idea she has about horse training and just listening to the horse.
In 2010 Michelle suffered an on-duty traumatic brain injury that cost her her finances, home, marriage, career and almost her ability to care for, rescue, train or ride horses. The anxiety she felt, waiting for the next rug to ripped out under her brought her training philosophy to a new level. The only thing familiar about her pre-injury life was horses. She vowed not to let her injury take them from her. She fought daily with health issues - chronic pain, cognitive and receptive processing, vestibular issues, memory troubles and depression. She missed her life as an Officer and animal advocate and began to rebuild her self, drawing strength among her self-built family -- HiCaliber. Her connection to the anxiety-filled horses who have had everything they have ever known ripped away from them parallels her own experience, they just "get" each other. Michelle's loyalty is always to the horses - This is the same philosophy she works to impart on every HiCaliber team member. "It's ALWAYS about the horses."
Read a letter from Michelle about her road to rescue.
Founding Board Member
Romney's foray into horse rescue involved a quick jump in the deep end of feedlot rescue. In a turn of events she would have never imagined for herself, she found herself co-leading a rescue effort that would ultimate save more than 350 slaughter-bound horses in less than a year's time. Through this large-scale rescue effort where she worked daily with rescuers, adopters, haulers, donors and kill buyers, she established extensive connections within the rescue community and acquired a unique insight to the horses being shipped to slaughter on a daily basis.
After stepping back from her role with the feedlot rescues, Romney joined the HiCaliber team during the summer of 2013. While she originally came onboard to lend her talents in brand development and marketing, she quickly became invested in the rescue operations as a whole. With nearly 20 years industry experience in nonprofit management and operations, her support was invaluable as HiCaliber was facing unprecidented growth. She accepted our invitation to be one of HiCaliber's founding board members and has played a key role in helping us get to where we are today.
In July 2016, Romney accepted the position of Chief Executive Officer of HiCaliber and continued in the role until her son passed in April 2017. She was proud to be with an ethical organization dedicated to transparency and commited to always doing right by the horses.
Stay tuned for introductions of our newest board members: Robyn Armstrong, Kat Tarnowski and Richie Price!