Lydia started out as a steady volunteer in April 2012, she showed interest in all aspects of the rescue and has knowledge in both working in the barn with the horses along with office duties In March of 2015, she began working part time in the office assisting with our various fundraisers and projects, along with daily entry and recording of incoming donation and grants, and also maintains the website.   She graduated with an Associates in Equine Management, & Anatomy and Physiology, and went through the equine studies program at the Kentucky Horse Park for 2 years while there, she worked with the mares and foals, and The Mustang Troop. She started riding when she was 8, taking lessons at a Morgan Horse farm in Georgetown, and has continued riding off and on when she can. Lydia lives in Nicholasville and has two children, who are also regulars here at the center and love to volunteer when on school breaks. 

Lydia Cassady,

Exec. Assistant to Director and Development Director.

Julie has been the barn manager since 2011. Having a love of horses from an early age, she started taking lessons at the age of 7, and her passion grew from there! She started as a hunter, then switched to dressage as an adult, and played polocrosse for 8 years. She has ran a lesson and boarding facility for 25 years, was DC of Wilderness Trace Pony Club and president for Ky Polocrosse Club. Her love of rescue began by buying ruined ponies, re-training them and using them in her lesson program. This led to buying a welsh stallion and some mares and producing some ponies that have gone on to very successful show careers. Her students have won several championships, including champion dressage mule at the Nat'l Mule and Donkey show, the first year dressage was offered. Other students have gone on to win in show jumping and eventing. 

Julie lives in Lancaster with her vast menagerie of rescue animals. 

Contact Info:

Phone: 859.881.5849

Julie Drury Cooper, Barn Manager

Virginia Madelung, Assistant Barn Manager

Carolyn Huffman, Volunteer Coordinator & Adoption Application Processor

Mary Simons, Admin Assistant

Karen Gustin, Executive Director

Olivia Dixon, Trainer

Olivia grew up showing quarter horses and paints in  4-H and in local competitions in a wide array of classes as well as trail riding all throughout Kentucky. For several years she was an exercise rider, a veterinarians assistant, and worked at an equine rehabilitation facility assisting racehorses on their path to recovery. With her years of experience and vast knowledge in the equine industry, she has become an asset in evaluating, rehabbing, and re-training our horses so they can find their forever home. She lives in Salvisa, Ky with her husband Matt and their daughter Avery.


Karen has been the Executive Director at the Kentucky Equine Humane Center in Nicholasville, KY since
April 2012. Karen loved horses and rode as a child, but took a hiatus from it for about 25 years. Twelve
years ago, Karen jumped back into the horse world by leasing and taking lessons. Through her daughter’s
involvement, Karen has been active in 4H, as well as the Washington State High School Equestrian Team.
She currently owns three horses, one of which is a rescue. Her favorite discipline is dressage.
A graduate of Colorado State University, Karen has B.S. in Outdoor Recreation. Prior to arriving at the
Equine Humane Center, Karen worked for over 30 years for the National Park Service. Her career took her
all over the continental United States as well as to Alaska and Guam. Prior to coming to Kentucky, she
served as the Superintendent at Olympic National Park in Washington State and enjoyed the company of 
​18 mules that worked in the backcountry! 
​Contact Email: Phone Office:859.881.5849 Cell:360.775.5690

Mary currently assists with fundraising activities, record keeping and correspondence at KyEHC and began as a
volunteer in 2007. Mary is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a degree in K-12 special education.

After teaching for two years in Illinois and Wisconsin, she became a flight attendant and supervisor with Delta Airlines,

and eventually retired after 35 years.
​Contact Email: Phone: 859.881.5849 

Carolyn has been with the Kentucky Equine Humane Center since May 2011. Carolyn grew up in a military family
which involved numerous cross country moves.Carolyn has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Kentucky and
a Masters Degree in Police Administration from Eastern Kentucky University. Following a career start with the
Department of Child Welfare, she enjoyed a full career with the Lexington Division of Police followed by more
​years with Lexington-Fayette Animal Care and Control.
​Contact Email: Phone: 859.229.6263

Virginia Madelung – Assistant Barn Manager.  Virginia came to the Kentucky Equine Humane Center in December 2011
with over 30 yrs of practical experience in the equine industry. She has a B.S. in Equestrian Studies, and 8 yrs of Vet
Teching at two prominent equine hospitals in Central Kentucky. Virginia’s experience includes foaling mares, sale
prepping, working at the racetrack, and transporting horses overseas to Australia. Virginia has owned a couple of
horses over the years. Her last horse was a saddlebred stallion she met when he was 26 years old. She cared for him
for 2 years and then adopted him when he was 28 years old. Blackie lived to the age of 31, and was a wonderful
friend. Virginia enjoys using one of her hobbies – photography – to benefit the horses here at the Center. It is her way
​of “giving back to the horses that have given me so much over the years.”
​Contact Phone:859.881.5849