Meet Our Board Members

Executive Board of Trustees:

Diane Kastama, President
Six time FEI Para-Driving Medalist at the international level and USEF ParaEquestrian and Technical Committee Member, Diane has been paralyzed since 1991 and is an expert on adaptive equipment and carriages. Diane actively competes with both singles and pairs. She was awarded the 2006 Chronicle of the Horse Driver of the year and was recently awarded the 2014 Becky Grand Hart Trophy at the USEF’s Pegasus awards. Diane continues to mentor new drivers whether they are disabled or not. Diane strongly believes that carriage driving is a sport that brings everyone together, and continues to work tirelessly towards equality in the sport and opportunities for the disabled.
Marcia Putnam, Secretary
With roots in New England through college, Marcia embarked on a 30 year corporate career in data processing that gave her the opportunity to experience many areas of the United States and Europe. One of the highlights of this experience was a 13 year residency in England which enabled her to live in the countryside on farms and indulge her life-long passion for horses. She has been in the saddle ever since. She is currently living in California and still riding (or trying to!) and is working hands-on with horses on a daily basis. Retirement from the computer business in 2008 has opened new vistas. She has been exposed to the world of disabilities through her daughter who suffered a high level spinal cord injury in 2009. This led to the amazing discovery of carriage driving and US Driving for the Disabled and the incredible people and opportunities involved in this sport.
Katie Twohy, Treasurer
Southern California
Katie Twohy is a licensed clinical psychologist, and she has used her Ph.D. in psychology in a variety of clinical areas. She continues to practice full time and has a busy professional schedule. She is also a lifelong equine lover and enthusiast who has “graduated” to carriage driving and enjoys Pleasure Shows, CDEs, Driving Derbies, Recreational Driving, and everything associated with driving.

Katie is a proud member of USDFD, and is thrilled that driving has allowed her to continue to be an active horsewoman in spite of her physical limitations. She is inspired by the accomplishments of other drivers, and grateful to all of the drivers who have helped her as she develops her own driving abilities.

Committee Chairs

Meghan Benge
Publicity Chair and Website Coordinator
South Carolina
Meghan is an active, competitive driver at the FEI level who has dwarfism. She has competed at two World Championships for Drivers with Disabilities. In 2008, she was the individual gold and team silver medalist at Greven, Germany. Currently, Meghan competes a pair of Welsh Ponies at the FEI level in shows up and down the East Coast. Meghan’s family runs an active Welsh Pony breeding farm. There are a number of ponies by their breeding stallion, Tylwyth Mystic Prince, competing in combined driving events and pleasure driving shows. Meghan is a graduate of Savannah College of Art and Design with a degree in photography and graphic design. Meghan currently works freelance as an equine photographer, web and print designer for various clients.
Anna Koopman
Team Support/Competitive Driving Committee Chair
An avid equestrian her entire life, Anna Koopman brings a well-rounded competition-oriented background to USDFD. Anna started driving at the age of 9 when her family was given an off the track Standardbred. Blossom was the quintessential first driving horse and was extremely patient while her new family learned all about driving. As a child, Anna participated in 4-H and Pony Club; competed in eventing and hunters; and was on the Equitation Team at Mount Holyoke College. After college her competition focus has been on Combined Driving as part of Team Koopman with her parents Bob and Dianne Koopman. Since 2003 they have traveled extensively competing in events from Florida to Canada. In 2010, Anna’s father was named as an alternate to the USEF Combined Driving Singles Team. They competed at the World Championships in Patroni del Vivaro, Italy with their Morgan, Whippoorwill’s Keep Dancing (Dancer). In 2014, As effort to give back to the community, Anna was certified as a PATH Level II Driving Instructor and founded a therapeutic driving program at Sprout Therapeutic Riding Center in Aldie, Virginia. The driving program has grown to five driving equines, six carriages (including a wheel chair accessible Bennington Fun Bug) and services people of any ability. With the addition of the driving program, Sprout was able bridge a gap in services that were available at the center. This enabled all that were interested in growth the ability to harness the power of the horse!

Board of Trustees

Ginny Leal
Northern California
I have, been driving with a disability for about 8 years and have done serious competitive driving for about 5 years now. I had polio when I was 5 years old in San Francisco. I am a school counselor/LCSW and am semi-retired. I have had some experience in grant writing and enjoy actively recruiting new para drivers into the competitive arena using my horse and equipment.

I drive two Haflingers, Mr. Maurice & Dancer. I went last year to World Para-Driving competition as an alternate and got to meet and watch some great drivers, including our own competitors. What a great learning experience. I have been training with a top international level driver nearby for many years as well as a dressage trainer in the area.

Hardy Zantke, Torrance, CA
Hardy Zantke learned to drive horses as a youngster with draft-teams at his grandfather’s drayage company in East Germany. He later had a formal riding education in the West German army. After immigrating to the U.S. with his wife Jutta and settling in Torrance, CA, they became one of the top competitors in Combined Driving in the USA in the 80’s and 90’s with their pairs of 17 hand bay Holsteiner geldings. They competed regularly throughout the entire U.S. and Canada and were first alternate of the U.S. team at the 1993 World Pair Driving Championship. They brought up two pairs from importing them as three year olds to being longlisted with the USET. They also competed with a four-in-hand and reached the USET List of Developing Drivers with the team. They retired from active competition in 2005. Hardy is a retired transportation executive. He is a licensed FEI International Driving Judge as well as FEI Para-Equestrian Driving International Judge and actively judges here and abroad. He is an Honorary Director of the American Driving Society and serves on various committees of USEF and ADS. He has served as Chef d’Equipe since 1996 for thirteen U.S. Teams which brought home five medals. Hardy writes for various driving magazines and his articles are published in Australia, Germany, Italy, Canada, and the USA. He received the ADS Presidents Award for his
contributions to driving.
John Freiburger, Fitchburg, WI
John Freiburger is a fourth generation driver who has been involved in various disciplines of professional showing and training since 1985. He owns Hickory Knoll Farm where he imports and breeds German Sport Ponies and sells marathon and custom pleasure carriages, is an ADS Judge as well as an experience ADS organizer and course designer. John is the President of the American Driving Society, is on the Board of the USEF, a member of the FEI Affiliates Working Group, the High Performance Committee and the USEF Driving Committee. He organized the ADS events at the World Equestrian Games, 2010, in Kentucky. John teaches and hosts many clinics each year, believing that good education and basic skills will bring new drivers into the sport in a successful manner.
Susan Guinan, Loxahatchee, FL
Susan Guinan grew up in Bucks County, PA, and South Florida. She attended Rutgers University, studying Agricultural Business and Marketing. She worked for Merrill Lync in NYC and London, where she lived for 17 years and where she raised her two boys. During her time in England she competed at Burghley, Windsor and Sandringham. Her passion for Driving for the Disabled began when she was an able-bodied whip for The Old Weston Driving for the Disabled Club, an affiliate of the Riding for the Disabled Association. She held driving shows and fundraisers for this organization at her home in England. Susan returned to Florida in 2004 and now combines her passion for both horses and business at Vinceremos Therapeutic Riding Center; she had been a part of the fundraising committee for many years and joined the staff in 2010. She is responsible for developing donors, sponsorship, and fundraising for the center and is currently developing a driving program there. She says, “I am passionate about all things equine and continually amazed at the kindness and encouragement our equine partners share without prejudice.
Jody Cutler
After my husband, Gregg, finished Vet School we moved to southern California and met a retired neighbor who restored carriages and drove a donkey named Ezra (he had come from the pound). It wasn’t long before we were both hooked on driving. I had found something we could both do with our one horse.

One horse turned into the eight Welsh Ponies we now drive and ride and a carriage collection of over 20 vehicles. Both of us drive and officiate in carriage driving competitions. I have served as President of ADS and on the Boards of Directors of the US Equestrian Federation and ADS. I currently serve on both the ADS and USEF Pleasure Driving Committees.

Our Welsh Ponies led to a friendship with Mickie Bowen and the late Sybil Dukehart. In the years when Sybil was USDFD I was able to visit her about 6 times a year due to a job that took me to Maryland. When she decided to sell her gray ponies because they just weren’t big enough for the wheelchair accessible carts or her coach, two of them came to us and were our wheelers for many years.

While judging the open carriage classes at a Morgan show in San Diego, I met Diane Kastama. While she was driving I did not realize she was a paraplegic. Our friendship has lasted many years and led to me going to Breda with her last year.

In addtion to the carriage driving, I have shown dogs and served as a 4H leader for 25 years for dogs, horses and sheep. I am active with Rotary International and serve as my club’s International Chair.

Honorary Trustees

-Mickie Bowen, Unionville, PA

Past Presidents

-Sybil Dukehart: Founder
-Mike Muir: President 2000-2003
-Mary Gray: President 2003-2005
-Debra Banfield: President 2005-2011
-Bev White: President 2011-2013
-Melissa Boyd: President 2013-2015