TROT Staff

Executive Director

Jeff Copfer

Executive Director

I have been married to my wife, Amy, for 27 years, and we have three children. Our daughter, Phoebe, is a senior in the U of A pre-veterinary program and is hoping to be accepted into the U of A Vet program. Her twin brother, Noah, is a professional comedian and actor in Los Angeles and has recently won several best actor awards in an independent short film.  Our youngest son, Jonah, is a senior at Tanque Verde High School and was just accepted at the U of A.  His dream is to become an Engineer.  My lovely wife, Amy, is a native Tucsonan and is a Doctor of Pharmacy specializing in critical care and cardiology at the Tucson VA Hospital.  We live only five minutes from TROT with our two horses: Ernie who is an Arabian/Saddlebred mix and Bert who is an Arabian.  We also have three dogs, ten chickens, five tortoises, two cats, a snake, a bearded dragon, two tree frogs, and a fish tank.   Whew!

I was born and raised in West Berlin, Germany.  After completing High School in Germany, I joined the US Air Force and finished my nearly nine-year career as an Instructor at Vandenberg AFB in California and then transitioned into law enforcement.  

For the last 26 years, I have been a deputy sheriff with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department ascending to the rank of Captain. I am closing my law enforcement career as the Administrative Division Commander responsible for strategic oversight and guidance of the 160-million-dollar department budget, recruiting, human resources for the over 1,400 employees of the department and the training section responsible for the police and corrections academies.  I am a graduate of the Senior Management Institute for Police at Boston University, Northwestern University School of Police Staff and Command, U of A Southwest Leadership Program, FBI LEEDA Command and Executive Leadership Institutes, and the Arizona Leadership Program. 

With over a decade of mid to executive level experience in budgeting, human resources, project management, strategic planning, and organizational leadership, I think TROT is the home I have always yearned for. 

TROT Team Member Since January 2021

Ext. 601

Administrative Staff

Margaux DeConcini

Development Director

Margaux is a native Tucsonan and her belief in the power of TROT first stemmed from her volunteer experience at TROT when she was in high school. Margaux has always been involved with horses through 4-H and local shows. Margaux is an Apprentice Graduate of Al-Marah Arabian Horses where she studied Equine Husbandry and Training. Margaux has always understood the healing properties of the human-horse connection leading her to complete a Master of Social Work degree through the University of Southern California. Margaux focused on social change and innovation with a specialty concentration in equine-assisted therapies. Her experience in grant writing, program evaluation and events will help to propel TROT’s legacy.

TROT Team Member Since October 2019

Ext. 602

Laura Bissing

Volunteer Coordinator

Laura grew up in Tucson, AZ and after traveling across the country for her degrees, has returned to the desert. She holds a B.S. in Communications from NAU and a Doctor of Physical Therapy from Elon University. Throughout her life, she has been very service minded with a wide breath of volunteer experience ranging from animal rescue and therapeutic riding to pro bono services and youth recreation programs. She is always eager to learn new things and believes some of her best teachers have been the four-legged and furry kind. She is excited to put her skills to good use as a Volunteer Coordinator at TROT.

TROT Team Member Since September 2019

Ext: 612

Carolyn Ohrel

Administrative Associate

Growing up in Alabama, horses were the focal point of Carolyn’s life, including a passion for riding in the woods, jumping, pony club and eventing.

As time went by, she migrated to Arizona and graduated from the University of Arizona with a B.A. in Sociology and English. Later she continued her studies at Pima College with an A.A. degree in Sign Language Interpreting. She bacame a certified interpreter and worked as a classroom interpreter for hearing-impared students in the Special Needs Department at Pima College. In a couple of years, it was back to school again at Pima College for another A.A. degree in teh legal assistant training program. She workled for ten years as a legal assistanct in the area of probate and estate planning. 

In 2002, Carolyn left the legal field with a longing for change and a more personally meaningful career. This eventually led her to TROT where her daughter, Sierra, was an instructor. She started out with sign language interpreting and side walking in ASDB classes. Before long, Carolyn had her dream job at TROT where her passion truly lies. 

TROT Team Member since January 2006

Ext: 600

Program Staff

Dora Kafkaridou Brown

Program Director

Dora was born in Cyprus and has been a Tucson resident for the last 25 years. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor’s in Psychology and has dedicated her career to non-profits.  Dora was involved in behavioral health for over ten years, working extensively with children in the foster care system providing behavioral management, de-escalation training, as well as grief and loss work.

Dora fell in love with horses as a toddler and began riding as a hunter-jumper at age seven.  She continues to ride today and has had the pleasure of training as well as caring for horses, both her own and within program settings.  Dora has held certification through Eagala as an Equine Specialist, and in 2017 she was the program director for Desert Dove Farm, a non-profit equine-assisted psychotherapy program.

Dora began her involvement with TROT as a volunteer, and in 2018 she became a Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor through PATH Intl.  Dora’s passion for her career and her unique skill set helps our participants reach both their riding and personal goals while ensuring that our TROT programs adhere to the highest PATH Intl. standards.

TROT Team Member since January 2019

Ext: 608

Sophie Clymer

Lead Program Instructor

Sophie moved to Tucson after graduating from Lake Erie College with a Bachelor of Science in Equine Facility Management and Therapeutic Horsemanship with a concentration in Administration and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Nonprofit Organization and Leadership. Sophie has grown up riding horses and competed in the Hunter Jumper arenas until going to college where she competed as a four-year member of Lake Erie College IHSA Hunt Seat team. She was also a two-year officer for her IHSA team and has experience working at a variety of equine facilities. Sophie is a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and has plans to pursue her PATH Advanced Instructor Certification. 

TROT Team Member since August 2018

Ext: 610

Tara Whaley

Part-Time Instructor

Tara became involved at TROT as a volunteer in January of 2019. Since then, she has been a side walker, horse handler, instructor-in-training, and has assisted with ground schooling and under saddle schooling. TROT gives Tara the opportunity to serve her community while filing her soul with outside time with TROT horses, participants, volunteers, and staff. In summer of 2021, Tara became a PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and now teaches part-time at TROT. 

With a veterinarian as a father, horses and many other animals have always been a part of Tara’s life. She began putting down her roots in Tucson in 2013, when she was transplanted from the South (Tennessee by way of North Carolina) after completing graduate school. Now, Tara, her husband, and three bonus children are working on their mini-menagerie with two dogs, a cat, two Nigerian dwarf goats, and two desert tortoises.

TROT Team Member since September 2021

Sierra Ohrel

Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC),

PATH Advanced Instructor, Equine Specialist

Sierra has been in the presence of horses all of her life and knows from experience their healing powers.  She has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in Equine Assisted Mental Health.  She is an Advanced Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH).  Sierra has presented both nationally and internationally related to Equine Assisted Therapies.  Horses are barometers that provide feedback to allow humans to explore the mind, body, spirit and emotions.  Sierra has extensive training in somatic therapies, meditation, yoga, and dance.  In addition, she is trained in Eye Movement and Reprocessing (EMDR).  Her office is mostly outside in the beauty that is all around, and the horses are her co-therapists.  The horses allow for co-regulation, felt sense, and non-verbal communication in a supportive manner.   It is through the partnership with horses that Sierra is able to guide people on their journey.  A horse can change the way you see the world. 

TROT Team Member since July 2007

Ext: 605

Barn Staff

Kim Kime

Part-Time Barn & Property Manager

In early 2018, Kim became involved with TROT as a volunteer and soon thereafter, Assistant Barn Manager. She grew up in the Phoenix area and holds a B.S. degree in Zoology from Northern Arizona University. After relocating down to Tucson with her husband in 2017, Kim was looking to fill her time by volunteering at another equine rescue. “I was looking to connect somewhere and share my recent passion in caring for horses. TROT came up on my search, and I had no idea what therapeutic riding was all about but thought I would give it a try. I was hooked!”

Having already raised a family of four children and worked in her career field as a small animal vet tech and wildlife biologist for the Arizona Game & Fish Department, Kim now gets to do something for fun that she absolutely loves. Between volunteering and working, Kim spends 4 to 5 days on the property. “We all have a role to play in the TROT mission and mine is caring for these wonderful therapeutic riding horses, so they are at their best when working and connecting with the riders.” 

TROT Team Member Since February 2018

Nik Busarow

Barn Assistant

Nik is a native Tucsonan. He learned about TROT from his sister, Autum, who volunteered and worked here. He started volunteering as a side walker at age 15. A few years later, he was hired as a  barn assistant. Nik enjoys working with the horses and helping maintain the grounds. Nik hopes that TROT will always be a part of his life. 

TROT Team Member since March 2007


Pickles is an Australian Cattle dog mix our Lead Instructor, Sophie adopted from PACC. Pickles’ had spent the first and a half year of her life living as a stray but now lives a very pampered life to make up for lost time. Her favorite activities include long morning walks with Sophie, investigating ground squirrel holes and following around Jeff hoping he will give her some string cheese. Pickles is an AKC Good Citizen and is working towards her AKC Advanced Canine Good Citizen. If you see Pickles, around be sure to say hi! 

TROT Team Member since December 2020


Luna & Tux

Luna and Tux are new to TROT barn cats. They were rescued and can be a little timid – Tux more so than Luna. Both cats are black from head to toe – Tux has a white spot on his chest. They love to frolic in the hay, nap in the sun, and greet the volunteers and participants. Luna has caught on to hunting mice in our barn and ground squirrels around the property. 

TROT Team Members since February 2021

TROT full LOGO in Black

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