The Retired Racehorse Project (RRP) is pleased to announce the election of a new board chair, Richard Lamb, and vice chair, Jodie Vella-Gregory, along with the addition of two new board members: Dr. Shannon Reed and Sissy Wickes. Newly elected members may serve two consecutive three-year terms.
Richard Lamb, the former vice chair, has stepped into the leadership role to take the place of outgoing chair, Sue Smith. Lamb begins his service as chair at the beginning of his second term on the RRP board, having joined in January of 2020 after several years officiating at the Thoroughbred Makeover. A popular coach and clinician, Lamb holds certifications with the British Horse Society and the United Stated Eventing Association’s Instructor Certification and Young Event Horse Trainer programs and has also served as coach for the US Pony Club Team at USEF National Pony Jumper Championships and members of the 2012 US Olympic Modern Pentathlon.
Jodie Vella-Gregory, who joined the RRP board in 2021 has taken over the role of vice chair. A native of Canada, Vella-Gregory spent the early years of her career as a clinician technician at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky before shifting into the racing industry where she has since held positions with Breeders’ Cup and Santa Anita Park. She is currently the vice president of Industry Relations at 1/ST RACING & GAMING. Vella-Gregory also serves on the advisory board of the Jockey Club’s Safety Net Foundation and is part of the planning committee for the Horse Racing Women’s Summit.
“Having been involved with the RRP since the earliest days of the Thoroughbred Makeover, it is exceptionally rewarding to me to have been elected to the board chair position,” said Lamb. “The RRP has made a profound impact on the outcome for Thoroughbreds transitioning from their racing careers and I look forward to working with the talented staff and board to position the organization for its next decade of service to the breed.”
Dr. Shannon Reed, DACVS-LA is a past Thoroughbred Makeover competitor whose commitment to the work of the Retired Racehorse Project progressed into her serving as consulting veterinarian and a driving force behind the implementation of the Thoroughbred Makeover Arrival Exam. Although Dr. Reed’s career has recently shifted to focus on large animal care (she is currently a clinical associate professor of large animal surgery at Texas A&M University), she has over a decade of experience in equine surgery, has previously published peer-reviewed research on Thoroughbreds retiring from racing, and has served as a licensed state racing commission veterinarian. Dr. Reed has an extensive career in higher education and is passionate about mentoring young veterinary professionals.
Sissy Wickes is a highly regarded USEF “R” Hunter judge and trainer who has operated her own Springtown Show Stable for over three decades. An advocate for the Thoroughbred, Wickes and her husband, Tim, are also active in racing, breeding, and sales, and she has served as a repeat judge of the Show Hunter division at the Thoroughbred Makeover. Wickes joins the RRP board with extensive experience in nonprofit governance and development, currently serving on the board of the United States Hunter Jumper Association as well as board president for the Hill Top Preparatory School. Beyond her equestrian career and participation in nonprofit governance, Wickes has additional experience in media and marketing, having served as editor at large of The Plaid Horse Magazine.
“We’re excited to welcome Shannon and Sissy to our board,” said RRP executive director Kirsten Green. “They both know the RRP well and are passionate about what we do, so it’s an honor to add them and their diverse skill set to our board roster.”
The entire RRP board of directors and staff extends its gratitude to the two directors who have completed their terms of service this year: Sue Smith and Pavla Nygaard, who have served since 2015 and 2016 respectively.