Meet the Team
Our staff is committed to helping visitors relax in comfort, reconnect with nature, and recommit to living a life that they love. Let us help you find yourself at Blue Star Ranch.
Dr. Trish Ring
Dr. Trish Ring is an accomplished educator, Certified Master Martha Beck Coach and a Certified Equus Coachtrained by Koelle Simpson. She has blended her decades of work as a therapist, writer, professor, and coach into a program of leadership development: the RingLeader Coaching program. Trish is a sought-after speaker, an avid traveler, and a philanthropist devoted to supporting women’s and children’s issues. She now devotes her time to coaching executives, workshop participants, and fellow coaches at Blue Star Ranch in Cashiers, NC, where she and her husband Carl are building their dream home and have established the ranch as the premier equine coaching facility in the American Southeast.
Carl Ring is a mechanical engineer by training and a successful businessman and entrepreneur. He is an accomplished inventor, a Coast Guard-licensed captain, a train aficionado, and a loyal alum of Georgia Tech. He’s also traveled the world, thanks to Trish’s wanderlust. Carl is at his happiest in the machine shop, riding around the Ranch, or creatively solving the latest challenge that Ranch life brings.
Director of Operations and Ranch Manager
Ali Smallpage is the Director of Operations and Ranch Manager. When she’s not checking in with the construction crews, you can find her where she feels most at home: with the horses. Ali is an accomplished equestrian from a young age, attending the Junior Olympics for three-day-eventing at age 17. She has a plethora of knowledge and experience in various equestrian disciplines from Western All-Around to cart-driving to Dressage. She is also a graduate B-level from the United States Pony Club. Before coming to Blue Star Ranch, her business, Superstar Eventing, produced nationally-ranked horses and riders. Ali is our in house horse expert and looks forward to adding her expertise to the upcoming RingLeader Equine Coach Training classes.
Executive Director of RingLeader Coaching, LLC
Christine Brouthers is the Executive Director of RingLeader Coaching, LLC. Based out of nearby Atlanta, she designs and oversees all marketing materials, merchandise, programming, sales, and online presence for events at the ranch. Christine has a BFA in Film and Television Production from NYU and an MBA from Fordham University in NY. Her creative background and business training brings an experienced eye to our specialized set of programming, and she’s always ready and willing to talk about the next big event happening at Blue Star Ranch.
Cris Heston is the Facility Manager. Cris, his wife Michelle, and his 2 beautiful daughters are a wonderful addition to the ranch family. Chris has done extensive work in the automotive and agricultural mechanical world and joins the Blue Star Ranch team after spending 7 years in the tractor business working in management and sales. He is a self-proclaimed do-it-yourselfer and is most happy figuring out how things work. If something breaks, Cris isn’t far away. He’ll come running anywhere he’s needed with tools in hand.
Assistant Ranch Manger
Holly Tolles is the Assistant Ranch Manger. An avid horse enthusiast, Holly grew up taking riding lessons in Western Pennsylvania and was lucky enough to have two horses on property throughout high school. She is an experience English and Western rider and enjoys riding through the beautiful Cashiers trails. She has a Bachelors of Social Work from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania and chose the field to combine her desire to help people with her passion for horses. She is looking forward to sharing her passion with Blue Star Ranch visitors.
Chef Richard Cooper
Chef Richard Cooper joined Blue Star Ranch in the summer of 2017. His background includes French, Spanish, Italian, and Asian Pacific cuisine, from fine dining to traditional southern humbleness. In 2013, he moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains from Jacksonville, Florida with his family, Ivy, Wesley, and Benjamin Cooper. Prior to Blue Star Ranch, Richard was the executive sous chef at Trillium Country Club. His culinary expertise covers pizza, pasta, cheese and bread making as well as charcuterie. He has a wide variety of chef experience: public restaurants, public event catering, country clubs, and private parties. He has been working with local farmers in the area for 3 years now and very much appreciates farm to table practices.
Nicki Rogde is the Hospitality Coordinator at Blue Star Ranch and has worked for the Ranch since 2015. Nicki and her family have lived in North Carolina for 10 years now and she couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place to live. Growing up in western Oregon, Nicki has been around horses most of her life. She still has a fascination and appreciation for their gentle majestic nature and their transformative power for clients. She is blessed to be able to work alongside these animals each day and bring joy to the guests of Blue Star Ranch.