Message from the Board

This is a very exciting time for the Therapeutic Riding Institute! The Parelli Clinic, the spring session and the student horse show were a smashing success. In addition to the upcoming summer session, we have the Dayton Horse Show, The FriendRaiser, a summer camp and some very exciting news.   TRI has hired a new Executive Director.  We know that this change will bring the forward momentum needed to grow our program. Under the guidance of the Board of Directors, the new Executive Director will be responsible for overseeing the entire organization and represent TRI to the community. Please join us in welcoming Marleen Milkis to the TRI family. Over the next few months, Marleen will try to meet as many of you as possible as she learns just who we are and what makes TRI so great.   The next half of 2012 brings many opportunities for our riders, volunteers and staff to engage in some fun activities. We hope to see you soon.

TRI Board of Directors



Marleen Milkis joined TRI as Executive Director in June of 2012.  She has worked in non-profit administration for her entire professional career in positions committed to improving the lives of women, children and families.   Before coming to TRI, Milkis served for 4 years as Associate Director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Miami Valley Region (RMHC). In this role, she was responsible for directing the daily operations of the “house” program serving families of critically ill children, and she was responsible for oversight of the Community Grant Giving Program who provided $125,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations.   Prior to serving RMHC, Milkis served as Vice President for 11 years at the YWCA Dayton. In this role, she was responsible for directing all youth programming, consisting of the Child Care, the Homeless Children’s Program; Teen Services, consisting of Girls, Inc., Teen Connection, and Teen Rap (a teen television program).   In addition, Ms. Milkis was responsible for HR, Facilities, and Racial Justice Programming. She has been instrumental in program start up, strategic planning, budget prep and management, grant writing, and program operations. During her service to the YWCA she started both the Girls Inc. program and the Homeless Children’s program. She also implemented new racial justice programming for the organization.   Ms Milkis’ commitment to serving the underserved began when she worked for the Kettering City Schools with Pathfinders Preschool and the Even Start programs. She was part of a pilot program of inclusionary preschool programming combining MRDD special needs children, “English as a second language” children, and “typical” children in the classroom.   A graduate of Sinclair Community College and Wright State University, Ms Milkis earned Bachelor of Science degrees in Early Childhood Education and Art Education with Masters work in Early Childhood Special Education. A Dayton native, Marleen and her husband, Howard, have been married for over 30 years and have 4 adult children and 2 grandchildren.



Sunday May 20th was blessed with beautiful weather, awesome volunteers, and 14 special riders for our Spring Student Horse Show. Parents, family, and friends got to watch our riders show off their skills and play games during the show. Evette Moody – their show judge and Dayton Horse Show Manager, judged each student that rode and presented each rider with their blue ribbons, trophies, and medals. We also had over 20 volunteers that came for the day to help the students in the ring as well as provide food for the day. We thank each person that gave of their own time as well as the many people that donated the food and drinks for the day. What a great success!   TRI has also begun our summer session with 26 riders. We are teaching on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings as well as Saturday morning. Our session is full again and we welcome all the new students to TRI.   Horsin’ Around Day Camp is right around the corner. TRI will be having our camp on Monday July 30, Tuesday July 31, and Wednesday August 1 from 9:00 – noon. Students will be spending extra time learning how to groom and tack their horses as well as learning new skills and games while riding. They will also be doing special horsey crafts and also taking a “hike” around the farm. Registration forms will be sent soon and sign up will be limited to 6 students each day. Cost is $30 for the day, which includes snacks for the students. We will looking for lots of extra hands so if you can volunteer for any of these days the students would greatly appreciate it!!!

See you in the Arena,
Cindy Redolfi
Program Director


A Note from Marleen Milkis, Executive Director

As we celebrate our 40th year, it is nice to pause and give thanks to all who have volunteered with the TRI organization. From the backyard beginnings in 1973 to today, at FineLine Stables, we have been blessed with dedicated volunteers. Volunteers have worked diligently in all aspects of the program. Whether it has been preparing horses for class, running beside a horse to protect a rider, sitting in Board of Directors meetings giving guidance, or recently, participating in work days as we prepare for Spring Session in a new home; all have helped create the TRI legacy. We thank you.   I would especially like to say thank you to Linda Lightcap, Jeanette Dehus, and Chris Koogler who have given of their time and talents as members of the TRI Board. They have served on the TRI Board for at least the past decade. Their dedication is a testament to this organization. As of April 1 they will change roles. Instead of offering guidance from the board room, they will help to lead others as they take on strong roles within TRI committees. They will continue to serve TRI through committee work in the areas of programming, development/fundraising, finance and governance. If you have an interest in working beside these dedicated women on a committee, please contact me at 937.478.1288 or email    Thank you to Linda, Jeanette, Chris and all of our TRI volunteers.


Meet Emily

Emily’s parents tell us, “Emily has been involved with TRI since 2003, in that time she has gone from 2 side helpers, 1 horse leader plus an instructor to riding independently. The difference for Emily is simple she is now able to control over a thousand pound horse with her body. She has learned to harness her emotions so that she is able to stay calmer in stressful situations and not project emotions on others.   In particular she has learned to be more calm and assertive. The level of maturity from one session to the next and empowerment and support that TRI has given Emily has helped her with her self-esteem.”


Having a Ball

On April 28th TRI welcomed Tom Pompei and Juli Piovesan at the barn for a special clinic. These two certified Parelli trainers shared their knowledge and passion for Parelli’s Natural Horsemanship with members of TRI and other therapeutic riding programs in the local area. It was a cold and rainy Saturday, but everyone learned a lot and had a great time.   Special thanks to the Parelli organization for their generous donation of training dvd’s and tickets to the Parelli Clinic held in Columbus in early June. Everyone at the clinic recieved these amazing gifts. Pat and Linda Parelli are huge supporters of Equine Assisted Activities and TRI is very grateful to be a part of it.   A delicous lunch was made with extra caring by Cheryl Whitesell and the Friends of TRI. All the attendees enjoyed the warmth of the chili.   Thank you to those special volunteers who braved the cold to make sure everyone had plenty of hot beverages and snacks.   AND of course, thank you to Tom, Juli, Spark and Aimes. Those in attendance could see the special bond between human and horse and we all hope to someday achieve that same level of trust with our equine companions.