About Us

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 Coach, trained by Koelle Simpson.  She has blended her decades of work as a therapist, writer, professor, and coach into an integrated 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, have established the premier equine coaching facility in the American Southeast.

Carl Ring


Carl Ring is a mechanical engineer by training, as well as 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.

Ali Smallpage

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 has been an accomplished equestrian from a young age, attending the Junior Olympics at 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, who brings her invaluable expertise to all RingLeader Equine Coaching

Christine Brouthers

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 bring 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

Facility Manager

Facility Manager Cris Heston, his wife, Michelle, and two beautiful daughters are a wonderful addition to the Ranch family. Prior to joining the Blue Star Ranch team, Cris worked extensively in management and sales in the automotive and agricultural mechanical industries.  He is a self-proclaimed do-it-yourselfer and is most happy figuring out how things work. If something breaks, Cris will come running anywhere he’s needed with tools in hand.

Holly Tolles

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 experienced English and Western rider and enjoys riding the beautiful Cashiers trails. She earned a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Juniata College in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, with the intention of combining her passion for horses with the desire to help people.  She is looking forward to sharing her passion with Blue Star Ranch visitors.

Nicki Rogde

Hospitality Coordinator

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 ten 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.