About the team at Blue Star Ranch

The Team at Blue Star Ranch

Nancy and John were introduced by John’s mother in 2006. John started volunteering at what was then Heads Up Therapy With Horses in Santa Clarita, an organization Nancy founded in 1986 for disabled children and adults using equine therapy. As a Vietnam Veteran, John and Nancy decided to start Blue Star Ranch for Vets. They married on Valentine’s Day in 2008. They are both dedicated to assisting our veterans to wellness.

  • Dedicated, sincere people offering real help
  • Experienced counselors, advisors and friends
  • Combat veteran experience and military backgrounds
  • A group of people with integrity and respect for our veterans
  • On-staff equine therapists
Nancy Zhe

Nancy Zhe

Executive Director

Certified Administrator, Instructor, Clinician of Therapy On Horseback, Happy Horsemanship For The Handicapped, Inc.

Katie Ryan

Katie Ryan


Katie Ryan, M.A. MFT, is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and EAGALA Certified Mental Health practitioner and Equine Specialist.

Joan Marth

Joan Marth

Administrative Assistant

When Nancy first formed Heads Up Therapy With Horses in 1986, Joan was the first volunteer to appear on the scene. She’s been with Nancy since.

John Zhe

John Zhe

Assistant Treasurer

Originally from Ithaca, New York John was drafted on his 21st birthday, and sent to Vietnam as a maintenance engineer for Chinook helicopters.

Richard Carillo

Richard Carrillo

Events Coordinator

Richard Carillo, a Vietnam Vet, brings a world of knowhow and expertise as our new Authorized Campaign Field Representative.

Greg Fry

Website & Media Resources

Greg Fry is owner and founder of Santa Clarita Website Design. As chief electronic media consultant, Greg takes care of all website and media integration for the organization.



Founding Therapy Horse

Mariah was born a “boss mare.” In the wild the boss mare is the horse the herd follows pasture to pasture, and who tells them when to run. They follow her.

Jack Sparrow

“Captain Jack Sparrow”

Therapy Horse

Captain Jack Sparrow is a sweetheart. He is an Appaloosa Gelding. Yes, Captain Jack Sparrow is his registered name!

Sammy the Donkey


Miniature Therapy Donkey

Sammy is definitely all Donkey! He is fun, cute, loveable, smart, and sometimes stubborn. You’ll always be greeted by his Donkey Serenade.


Rosalind Wayman

Sr. Deputy for Supervisor Kathryn Barger

Rosalind Wayman is the Senior Deputy for Supervisor Kathryn Barger in the Santa Clarita Valley; including the communities of Gorman, Agua Dulce, Val Verde, Castaic, Sunset Pointe, Southern Oaks, Westridge, Stevenson Ranch and the City of Santa Clarita.

Renard Thomas

Dir. Adult Reentry and Veterans Programs at College of the Canyons

Renard is the Director of Adult Reentry and Veterans Programs at College of the Canyons and is recently retired from the California Army National Guard after 22 years of service.

Meet Our Board of Directors

Our Board of Directors is made up of dedicated people who help guide our vision