Our Team

Rita with her mini horse

Rita Hoch

President & CEO

Rita is a native Oklahoman, growing up on a small horse farm in Edmond, Oklahoma. She earned her BS and MS degrees in speech-language pathology from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and practiced in health care for 11 years.

She has owned and ridden horses all of her life. She showed extensively as a youth and amateur in 4H, AQHA and PHBA, with the highlight of earning national high point and reserve high point awards with her palomino Quarter Horse. She understands and recognizes the value that horses are in her life and wants to see others be able to benefit as well.  She currently owns 3 horses and is still involved in riding.  She has two miniature horses that she uses for therapy at nursing homes and schools.

She is married with one child and lives in Oklahoma City.

Jessica Gleason

Director of Operations

Jessica is the Director of Operations at Nexus Equine. She has been involved with animal welfare for over fifteen years and has a solid background in logistics, operations, data and team management. Jessica is also a certified Oklahoma Large Animal First Responder. She lives in Piedmont, OK and enjoys spending time with her husband, daughter and animals.

“I love Nexus Equine because of the innovative and creative ideology that is shaping the future for Oklahoma horses.”

Jordan Thornton

Lead Barn Assistant

Jordan is the Lead Barn Assistant at Nexus Equine. She works closely with other members of our team to ensure that all of our horses’ daily care is efficiently managed. She also makes sure that our barns, pastures, and fencing are clean and maintained. She is an essential part of the Nexus Equine team! Jordan is also a certified EMT, Firefighter, as well as certified in Hazmat Ops and Awareness.

“I love working at Nexus Equine because I love being around horses and working for an amazing program that truly cares about the horses. I grew up around horses and have worked with animals as long as I can remember. When I’m not taking care of the horses, my family and I like to hike all over Oklahoma.”

Katrina Van Diest

Equine Training Manager

Katrina is the Equine Training Manager at Nexus Equine. Katrina has extensive background in colt starting, working with some of the top AQHA horsemen and problem solving with horse behavior. She received several college scholarships and received AQHA Horse of the Year with a horse she trained. Katrina has dedicated her life to horses and continues to learn and grow. She has also been involved in youth programs through lessons and clinics. Katrina is essential in making sure Nexus Equine adopters are paired with their #RightHorse.

“I love Nexus because we set ourselves apart by diligently and deliberately working with each horse. It is a great organization that truly cares about benefitting the horse and matching the right person for a successful adoption.”

Whitney Zeka McFadden

Board Chairman

Whitney is a medical representative in Oklahoma City and the surrounding rural areas. She is a native of Canton, Oklahoma, and her parents still reside there where the family farm is.

Her interests include world travel and tourism, running and racing, and working with various community groups. She is especially passionate about animal welfare and childhood cancer advocacy.

Whitney resides in Edmond, Oklahoma with her husband Greg and 7 dogs.

Laura Trammell-Dawson

Board Vice-Chairman

Laura graduated with a Master’s Degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, she is a Licensed Professional Counselor and currently works as Vice President of a hospice located in Oklahoma City. Laura has worked in hospice for over 16 years, she has a true passion for working with the elderly population and assisting those during their final days of life.

Laura has shown quarter horses and palominos her entire life. She has earned numerous state and national titles in halter, showmanship, hunter under saddle, equitation, hunter hack western pleasure and horsemanship. She has 2 world championships, 1 reserve and several top ten placings.

Laura is a long time resident of Edmond, she is married and has 3 children, 2 boys and one girl. She currently has 2 quarter horses, 1 appendix quarter horse, one pony and 2 miniature horses that she uses for pet therapy at nursing homes and hospitals.

Corrie Graybill

Board Secretary

Corrie has lived her life in Oklahoma and has always had a huge passion for animals all along. After graduating from Oklahoma State University with a degree in Wildlife Ecology she gained experience volunteering with multiple animal organizations and eventually got a job with the Oklahoma Humane Society. After a few years there she chose to leave in order to spend more time with her growing family and to start a family photography business.

When approached about the opportunity to be a part of Nexus, Corrie jumped at the chance to use her experience with animal welfare, her love of horses, and even occasionally her photography skills.

Catherine Sconzo-Blackburn

Board Treasurer

Catherine is president and CEO of Community Pathways Unlimited, Inc, an outpatient community mental health agency in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Catherine is a graduate of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette (formerly the University of Southwestern Louisiana) where she earned a Bachelor of General Studies degree and was a member of the Ragin Cajun softball team garnering NCAA Division I All-American honors in her senior season. She is also a graduate of the University of Oklahoma, where she received a MS in Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Catherine has worked for over 22 years in the Oklahoma City area as a Speech Pathologist/CEO and is an avid horse enthusiast. Catherine currently owns six horses. She has one daughter.