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GallopNYC Announces New Executive Director

New York, NY–Oct. 11, 2022 – GallopNYC, a therapeutic horseback riding program for New Yorkers with disabilities and special needs, is pleased to announce the selection of Marcos Stafne, Ph.D. as its new executive director. Stafne will transition into the role currently held by departing Executive Director James Wilson on October 31.

“The board of directors is delighted to welcome Marcos to GallopNYC,” said Sol Reischer, chair of the board of directors. “He is an excellent choice, with a demonstrated dedication to public education and serving populations with special needs. He has the right background to lead GallopNYC to the future our community envisions, building on the strong foundation of the past decade and working toward our goal to make therapeutic horsemanship programs available to all New Yorkers with disabilities.”

A man with short brown hair and a brown beard with glasses smiles.

Stafne is an experienced nonprofit executive, with a deep background in leadership, education, and community-based programs. He currently serves as the director of learning experiences for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s zoos and aquarium, and was previously the executive director of the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vermont serving communities throughout Vermont and New Hampshire. Stafne has also held leadership roles at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. He holds a Ph.D. in Urban Education from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York as well as other advanced degrees.

He has a love of horses and extensive experience in the disability community. He is delighted to bring both together in his new role at GallopNYC. “Providing accessible programs that empower New Yorkers to live their lives fully is necessary for the well-being of our larger New York City community,” says Stafne. “GallopNYC has an incredible history of serving people of all ages with disabilities and special needs, and I’m thrilled to step into a leadership role for an organization that encourages personal growth through therapeutic horsemanship.”

To find Marcos, the GallopNYC board of directors appointed a search committee and engaged with PNP Staffing Group to conduct a national search.

Outgoing Executive Director James Wilson began his decade-long career with GallopNYC as a volunteer, became the director of operations in 2012 and the executive director in 2019. Wilson will assist Stafne with the leadership transition. GallopNYC’s board of directors and the broader GallopNYC community thank Wilson for his dedicated service to New York City’s riders and horses and for his leadership, especially during the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A small child on a horse pats the horse and smiles at one of the two people standing on either side of the horse.

Photo by EQ Media

GallopNYC brings the proven benefits of therapeutic horsemanship to children and adults with disabilities in NYC. Therapeutic horseback riding provides measurable benefits for people with developmental, emotional, social and physical challenges. Through weekly riding sessions with PATH International-certified instructors, we help riders walk, talk and learn, inspiring them to live their lives as fully, independently and productively as possible. As well as people with disabilities, GallopNYC works with veterans and senior citizens and offers leadership and job skills training to special-needs youth.

Today GallopNYC operates two dedicated full-time therapeutic riding facilities, GallopNYC Forest Hills and GallopNYC Sunrise Stables. We also operate programs in Prospect Park and Pelham Bay Park. GallopNYC is committed to serving low-income and middle-income families and provides therapeutic horsemanship at subsidized rates.

For further information contact: James Wilson,