GIVING TUESDAY: $10,000 MATCH!

Our Team

It takes a herd to achieve Talisman’s mission. Not only do our horses (and pig and goat) offer unique skills and traits, but our team does as well. Please meet our passionate, caring, and skilled team and enjoy their stories.

Noelle Douglas

Executive Director

I am the Executive Director, hired in 2021. I’m lucky to have enjoyed a life-long relationship with horses and have been involved in everything from competitive showjumping to remote wilderness riding.

I earned my Bachelor of Science in Psychology from James Madison University and Master of Business Administration from Park University. I went on to hone my leadership skills during the 27 years I served in the federal government. Once retired, I seized the opportunity to combine my equine enthusiasm and business acumen to support local and non-profit organizations.

I served as the Director of Public Engagement for the Farm at Oatland North, a non-profit animal sanctuary in St. Simons Island, Georgia. Additionally, I continued my family’s military legacy by advocating for the therapeutic benefits of the outdoors for veterans. I served as the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Heroes’ Harvests, a non-profit organization that provides outdoor experiences to active-duty military, veterans, and Gold Star Families.

My unique blend of executive suite experience, love of horses, and knowledge of non-profit organizational management qualify me to lead this amazing organization as the Executive Director at Talisman where I get to witness miracles happening every day.

While I do love being at the farm and around horses, I also enjoy being with my family, working in my garden, and traveling the world. I am thrilled to call the Eastern Shore of Maryland home, now, and am always looking for the best fishing spot and local adventures to experience.

Beth Cole

PATH, Intl CTRI
PATH, Intl Mentor

Volunteering in therapeutic riding (TR) is my passion and life’s enrichment.  As a lifelong horse person, TR offers the perfect outlet to combine my love of horses and desire to help others.  Serving in multiple capacities over the years (leader, sidewalker, stall mucker, and more), I became a PATH, Int certified instructor in 2000.   As an instructor, I partner with horses to help students achieve personal goals, promote independence, and have fun with their equine pals.  Through the remarkable energy of horses, I have witnessed the strength, determination, and ability that lie within each individual. 

I found my home at Talisman in 2014 where I am an instructor and mentor, and help with horse care and schooling. Basically, I immerse myself in equine healing and fun.  Talisman provides a place of beauty, serenity, and community where we all experience the gifts of healing and growth through the extraordinary connection with horses.   Come join us for happy trails at Talisman!

Beth Cole
PATH, Intl CTRI
PATH, Intl Mentor

Fun Fact:  My dear horse River Rocky went to Goucher College with me where he earned his degree as a school horse.  Rocky loved water and could quickly empty a field trough by wildly splashing his nose in the water.  My beloved pal for 30+ years, he peacefully crossed the rainbow bridge for greener pastures at age 35.

CoryGalasso

Cory Galasso

Barn Manager

I am the Barn Manager at Talisman Therapeutic Riding. I was born and raised on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and have lived here most of my life. Growing up my mother always had horses. As a child, I remember playing in the pasture, riding horses, and hooking up the miniature pony, Dusty, to his cart and steering him around the yard with friends. I even watched a foal being born at our home barn. As a teenager and adult, I was more into other activities, but I can remember always being trusted to take care of the animals by my mother and her friends.

I attended the University of Maryland at College Park and studied Computer Science. Soon after, I entered the restaurant business and operated stores, kept books, and served as an area-coach. I changed my career in 2018, and was lucky enough to find a staff opportunity at Talisman. Very quickly I realized that I was in no hurry to return to business and computers. I enjoy working with my hands and with the animals.

My responsibilities at Talisman include maintaining the barn and facilities, tending to the herd, helping with events, and more. My goals have always been to feel a sense of pride in what I am doing while helping others. That sense of pride is easy to find at Talisman.

I am very much a simple man and enjoy watching movies, playing video games, roller blading, waterfowl hunting, and watching my girlfriend’s son play baseball. My girlfriend and I currently have a house on a farm in Chestertown, Maryland.

Robin Talbot

Robin Talbot

Horse Discovery Instructor

I am a Horse Discovery Instructor at Talisman.  I am lucky enough that I get to teach such a wonderfully diverse population the joy of horsemanship.  I have been at Talisman since 2021 and am currently studying for my PATH, Int credential and hope to achieve that in the spring of 2024.

I have a Bachelor’s of Arts in Writing and a Master’s of Science in Psychology, Instructional Design, Human Resources/Organizational Development from Towson State University. I have spent more than 30 years as a facilitator, as a Human Resources Professional, Middle School Teacher, and Project Manager.  While I love my “day-job”, it is the weekends that I spend at Talisman that bring me such great joy.

I believe wholeheartedly in the power of horses having special connections with their riders.  I was a late bloomer with my love of horses. I didn’t start riding until I was 28.  I rode for a year and then started a family.  I began riding again at the age of 47.  My son was undergoing treatment for Leukemia, and having lost my husband to colon cancer, I was unbelievably stressed and sad.  My dad brought a pair of paddock boots to me and said, “You need to ride again and do something for yourself that will help heal your heart.” 

I’ve been riding ever since and my heart is healed as is my son.  Horses understand the needs of the riders.  Riders learn communication and trust from their mounts.  As an instructor, I hope to encourage the bond, heighten confidence, independence, and understanding in the partnership between horse and rider, all while enjoying the ride!

Aside from being a barn “groupie”, I love taking my two dogs for hikes, gardening, reading and traveling.  I have two grown sons so am finding that I have even more time to enjoy these activities. I have published one book, My Father and Me, and hope to publish more!

Fun horse fact: I like bobbing for apples with the horses! Ask me about it!

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Kathleen Porter

Barn Assistant

I am the Barn Assistant at Talisman. My love of caring for animals led me to earn an Associates of Applied Science in Veterinary Nursing. Caring for animals has always given my life meaning. Whatever else happens in my life, I always return to the animals and the healing and love that they share, unconditionally.

As a veterinary nurse, I’ve for worked several non-profits caring for domestic animals as well as wildlife. Care of horses has been present during my life and now with Talisman I have a chance to learn so much more about these amazing animals and the benefits of horse therapy.

I have first-hand experiences with mental health and physical disabilities and Talisman has given me the opportunity to reap the benefits of horse therapy. I want to share that with others. I have found that helping to ensure that the herd is well-cared for, healthy, fed, and clean makes the equine therapy positive for our participants and our horses.

My love of animals doesn’t stop at the barn door. At home my companions are my dog, Kai, cat, Ocean, and my ball python, Taisch. Caring for them is a continual pleasure. I also enjoy reading, crafting jewelry, and holiday decorating. Be sure to come visit the barn during any holiday to see the festive vibe!

Fun Fact: I was 11 when I took care my first horse. He was an old gentle giant with a white coat and one eye, named Dobbie.

vali

Vali Galasso

PATH, Intl CTRI
PATH, Intl Mentor

I worked for three years at Talisman as a volunteer before I began teaching in April 2015. I really enjoy facilitating interactions between our participants and our horses.

I learned my basics of riding under the strict supervision of a German Instructor at the Bangkok Riding and Polo Club.  For most of my school years, my family lived overseas while my Dad was assigned to set up Air Traffic Control Systems for many different countries.  Each new country meant a new riding school and I always loved it.  I got my first horse at age 5; actually he was a donkey named Eeyore. Back in the US I rode at the Deerfield Riding Academy and Potomac Horse Center participating in many Hunter-Jumper shows in the Northern Virginia area.

I spent my summers in Maine during High School and college and worked at Brown’s Stable.  There I groomed, harnessed, and worked some of their trotters. I accompanied them as a groom to several harness racing events at places like Scarborough Fair and Fryberg Fair. These summers were the foundation that led me to a love of driving horses.  In fact, I am currently working on getting certified as a driving instructor through PATH as I am excited to provide horse and cart lessons to the participants in the program who are interested.

As an adult I’ve always had horses in my pasture at home, which is just around the corner from Talisman.  I find that even after having thousands of encounters with horses, they continue to amaze and intrigue me. My hope is that my husband Mark (who is a willing voluntold) and I can share the love of horses with as many people as possible for as long as possible!

Fun fact: My horse, Rosie, lives at Talisman accompanied by her best friend, Norman, a goat!

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Jordan Edwards

Barn Assistant

I have been riding since 2006. My first horse, Cowboy, was a red roan quarter horse. I enjoyed showing Cowboy and together we won the Champion and Reserve at different shows and placed 7th overall in the standings in 2019. I retired Cowboy and am now riding Wendy. I enjoy riding this mare, a chestnut quarter horse, who lives at my friend’s barn in Centerville. I love her to death and we are a great match. She and I have a shared bond, we just “get” each other and enjoy our time snuggling, riding, and just being friends!

I started volunteering at Talisman when I was 14 years old. I can’t get enough of the horses. I also can’t get enough of our team-I love the instructors and staff that I work with! I would never want to work anywhere else but Talisman.

My favorite horse to ride at Talisman is Louie. Louie is a goofball! He is the most social and silly horse I’ve known. He greets me, and everyone who enters the barn with a horsey smile and begs for a neck scratch. He makes the craziest expressions, but for him, it just fits his personality!