WRANGLERS
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MANDY GRIFFEY

Head Trainer
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Oak Grove, MO
Previous Job: Assistant Trainer for Ann Judge

Mandy has always had a love for horses. She graduated with a degree in Equestrian Science from William Woods University. Along with her passion for horses, Mandy also enjoys getting out in the mountains and hiking to places she has never seen before. You might see her beloved German Shepherd, Jackson, running around this summer; she claims he is the “best dog.” Mandy also has a crazy obsession for white, frozen precipitation falling from clean, beautiful, Colorado skies!

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KAULANA ``KP`` NA'AU ALI'I PAPALIMU

Head Wrangler/Farrier
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Hilo, HI
School: Minnesota School of Horseshoeing

KP enjoys music, training horses, horse shoeing horses, dancing and free diving, as he grew up on the big island of Hawaii. KP had the opportunity to attend horseshoeing school the spring of 2014, and now along side of two other ferriers, takes care of Vista Verde’s herd. He gained this wonderful opportunity to work at VVR through a friend during his time working at Disneyland, where they worked with draft horses. Although KP is a horsemen, he does enjoy winter activities such as backcountry skiing and skate skiing. Even though he is from such a tropical home, he has come to love and enjoy the cold, snowy Colorado weather!

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TROY CORLESS

Wrangler
CPR, AED, First Aid Certified
Hometown: Coldwater, MI

Troy has been at VVR for two years now and he's thrilled to lead our guests on the trails. One of Troy's aspirations for this summer is to summit at least 3 Colorado 14ers. He's an avid hiker having conquered mountains from the White Mountains of New Hampshire, Grand Teton National Park, Sunset Water Lake, Colorado, and all the way up to Girdwood, Alaska. Some favorite pastimes of Troy's are romantic walks on the beach, trap shooting and watching Old Westerns.

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SAMANTHA MINNICH

Wrangler
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Dillsburg, PA
Previous Job: Kennel Technician at Animal Vet Clinic

Sam has been riding horses most of her life. Barrel racing became her passion but she is open to trying new equine events. When not riding, Sam likes to play sports, mostly softball, take photos, and hunt. Sam lived in Fort Collins, CO for five years and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in Equine Science and a minor in Business. She loves to travel and someday hopes to spend some time in Europe. She also has a dog named Jetta and her horse Charlie will be joining her up here at the ranch this summer!

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DANA VARNELL

Wrangler
CPR, EMT-B
Hometown: Wilson, NC
School: Montreat College

Dana grew up on a family farm where she spent her free time riding horses, playing outside, and strumming a guitar any chance she got. Her love of the outdoors led her to attend college in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where aside from studying, she enjoyed hiking, camping, and barn dancing. Dana graduated with a bachelor of science in biology from Montreat College in December 2014 and plans to attend school to become a Physician Assistant after taking time off this summer to enjoy sharing her passion of horses as a wrangler at Vista Verde. You may also spot Dana running and enjoying chocolate milkshakes this summer.

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KATIE LEE

Wrangler
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Afton, MN
School: University of Wisconsin at River Falls

Katie just graduated from the University of Wisconsin - River Falls with a Bachelor of Science Degree in animal science with an emphasis in equine management. She cannot wait to share her passion for horses with all the VVR guests. She has a horse of her own, named Tigger (not to be confused with VVR's own paint horse). She loves trail riding and enjoying the outdoors. In addition to horses she enjoys hiking, snowmobiling, 4-wheeling, camping, and fishing, along with a multitude of other activities.

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TARYN DOUD

Wrangler
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Boise, ID
School: Colorado State University

Taryn is from Boise, Idaho, although she has been in the beautiful state of Colorado since 2009. Taryn graduated from Colorado State University in December 2013 with a degree in International Studies & Spanish. She spent last summer traveling through Europe and working with horses! In her free time, Taryn loves to read, watch movies, sing, musical theater, and ski!

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MARY GREFRATH

Kids Wrangler
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Clarence, NY
School: Buffalo State College

Mary graduated with a degree in Art Education. Even though this will be her fourth season, this will be her first summer at VVR. Last summer she taught English riding lessons at a summer camp in North Carolina. In her free time, Mary likes to ride horses, hike, knit, do arts & crafts, and play Kan Jam! This upcoming off season she plans on traveling all over Asia with her three VVR roommates.

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ZAC HERNANDEZ

Wrangler
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Coppell, TX
School: University of Arkansas

Zac has loved horses since, well, FOREVER! He has been a guest at VVR multiple winters, but this is his first year to work at the ranch and his first time to be here in the summer. Zac is a rising junior at the University of Arkansas, where he is studying business and is very excited about the Razorback football team. Woo Pig! He is also a proud member of SAE fraternity. Phi Alpha! He spent last summer in the Florida Panhandle in a Christian discipleship program called Kaleo. His favorite summer activity is hanging out at the beach, but only because he has never summered at VVR before!!

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MICHELLE WERNER

Wrangler
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Thurmont, MD
Previous Job: Physical Therapist

Michelle is excited to be joining Vista Verde Ranch for her first season. Aside from horseback riding, she enjoys hiking new trails, traveling for great flea market finds, watching Washington Capitals hockey, and bowling. She also enjoys crocheting and learning new yoga poses. At the end of the day, she can be found sipping a mug of peppermint tea.

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KIERAN GORDON

Barn Help
EMT-B
Hometown: Winona, MN
School: Winona State University

Kieran enjoys the beauty and solidarity of the outdoors which is why working at Vista Verde is so appealing to him. He has a passion for all things outdoors, particularly mountain biking and kayaking. His favorite places to travel are the National Parks of the United States. Kieran hopes to visit all 59 national parks in his lifetime. He attends Winona State University as an outdoor recreation education and tourism major. Kieran loves to play baseball and football, and his favorite MLB team is the St.Louis Cardinals.

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ANNEKE MONNINKHOF

Wrangler
CPR & First Aid Certified
Hometown: Utrecht, The Netherlands
School: Utrecht University

Anneke graduated from Utrecht University last December with a pre-medical degree and will be starting medical school this September. She has been a guest at VVR multiple times and was certain she wanted to work here when she was 8 years old. She is so excited to be sharing her passion for horses with the guests, she even brought her own horse with her all the way from the Netherlands (on a plane)! Anneke enjoys traveling, spending time with family and friends, and volunteering for the Red Cross.

luxury ranch resort staff