Board Of Directors
Jim Gath comes from a family of horsemen – his grandfather was a trick rider, trainer and horse trader, one of his uncles was a jockey and another was an owner of rather questionably talented racehorses. As a kid, horses were an important part of his life, but he began his adult life taking a different trail. He worked in a variety of occupations, such as a one of the founders of USA Today, but he always knew he’d end up with horses. Jim founded Rancho Tierra Madre in 2008 as a boarding facility and eventually took in more of his own horses than boarders. And that’s when the sanctuary was born. The rest, they say, is history.
Jean Gath is a founding member of Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary. She is currently a principal at Pfeiffer Partners Architects Inc. where she oversees campus, cultural, and community master planning and programming assignments. She additionally oversees urban design and strategic development efforts. From Pfeiffer Partners’ website: “Her strengths include an ability to implement visionary solutions in ways that are cost effective and allow for future flexibility.” This strength plays a key role in helping to guide Tierra Madre Horse & Human Sanctuary to a sustainable future.
Katherine Eauslin is currently the accountant for Tierra Madre Horse and Human Sanctuary. She graduated from University of South Florida with a BA in Business with an emphasis on accounting. She worked in public and non-profit accounting for 25 years before starting her own real estate firm. She has a doting husband of 34 years, two adult daughters, and two granddaughters she loves to spoil. She is currently a licensed Real Estate Broker in AZ, CA, and FL. Kathy volunteers her accounting services and splits her time between Arizona and Florida. You might catch Kathy with a grandchild in tow around the ranch.
John Samsill is the owner of John Samsill Farrier Services based out of Wickenburg, AZ and has helped others with farrier service start-ups and allows valuable apprenticeships to aspiring farriers across the world. He is an APF-I accredited farrier and has been working in this field since 1985. He specializes in therapeutic services and is incredibly well versed in laminitis and many other hoof diseases and afflictions. With John watching over our horses’ hoof care, we’ve made many strides towards disease prevention and hoof education to the public.
Susan has a degree in Special Education from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix and has worked for the Glendale Union High School District for 26 years. In that time, Susan has piloted three programs for the district, a transition program, a Life Skills program, and a Sensory Integration Program. She has worked with students with a wide range of disabilities including, mild and moderate cognitive disabilities, emotional disabilities, specific learning disabilities, other health impairments, and autism. Susan has served as Department Chair for Special Education at Greenway High School for approximately 12 years. The department consists of 13 teachers and 20 instructional assistants. A passion for Susan is helping her students to learn to navigate the complex social world they live in. It was this passion that spurred her to use the setting of Tierra Madre Horse (and Human) Sanctuary where she had become a volunteer. After gaining so much personal growth through interactions with the horses, Susan decided it would be ideal for passing some of those lessons on to her students. It is anticipated she will continue this endeavor in her retirement.
Dr. Anastasia Keyser, DVM
Dr. Keyser initially received a BA in business administration majoring in business management, but realized she had a greater love for horses than riding and volunteering. She attended Texas A&M University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. During her time in College Station, she was employed in the large animal ICU at Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. After veterinary school, she completed an internship at Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, TX. Dr. Keyser is an equine general practitioner who provides ambulatory and in-clinic services. She currently works at Chaparral Veterinary Medical Center and is ready to go at a moment’s notice.
Alexis Roeckner Ferri
Chief Executive Officer
Alexis walked into Tierra Madre Horse Sanctuary in June 2009 when she was 17 years old, armed with the task of completing 100 hours of community service for a school project. The original plan was to get those hours done, learn some more about horses – her first love in life – then be done. By the end of her first day at Tierra Madre, however, she knew she was never going to leave. Five and a half years of volunteer and videography work for the ranch later, Alexis was appointed a ranch manager in October 2014 and the ranch director a few months later. In January 2017, she was appointed Tierra Madre’s executive director. During her time as director, in addition to ensuring the completion of day-to-day tasks that come with the smooth running of a ranch, she oversaw volunteer training, fundraising and marketing efforts, social media, event planning, donor development, community outreach, program creation and development, and morning donut gatherings. Her favorite part of her job, however, was being responsible for the health and happiness of the horses. Alexis holds a bachelor’s degree in sustainability and a master’s in nonprofit leadership and management, both from Arizona State University. She is additionally the author of 'A Year With Angels' and 'Toward Sunrise,' both of which detail her life and experiences with the horses of Tierra Madre. On June 1, 2022, Alexis became our CEO, continuing a dream that began on her first day in 2009.