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Our Staff

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Christen Khym

DIRECTOR, HEAD TRAINER

Christen Khym is the Director and Head Trainer of Scots Ridge Farm, and the Coach of the IHSA and IEA Teams.

Christen is an Illinois native who graduated from Maryville College in 1996 and went on to earn a JD from the University of Tennessee and launch a career in commercial real estate brokerage – all while riding and training horses professionally and building the College equestrian team. She is the winner of the Kin Takahashi Young Alumni Award for distinguished service to the College and community.  In 2008, she chose to bring her business acumen and horsemanship talent to full-time management of her growing equestrian program. In 2018, she moved the program to its new home at Scots Ridge. She is also a Suzuki Violin instructor and performer.  Christen lives in Maryville with her husband and daughter.

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Cate Biggs

OWNER

Cate is the President of Equanimity, LLC and the owner of the farm.  

She grew up riding in Knoxville with Deb Willson, competing in events, shows, and Pony Club rallies. She is a Yale graduate and has a Masters Degree from UC-Berkeley.  In 2012, she brought her family back to Tennessee from the San Francisco Bay Area and connected with Christen and Maryville College.  Before becoming a full-time farmer, Cate worked in education, journalism, and the non-profit sector.  She enjoys riding her OTTB, training her mini, and spending time at the farm with her husband and daughters. 

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Bonni McDonald

TRAINER

Bonni McDonald has been training and teaching in Tennessee since 2004.  She has shown with her students in rated shows all over the East Coast including taking them to multiple finals.  She loves teaching riders from their very first lessons all the way to the show ring.  Bonni feels that riding is not only a great sport, but supplies an endless amount of life lessons.  

She and her husband live in South Knoxville, own a small restaurant, and have three young boys.  Life is really busy but she feels blessed that she is getting to live out her dream and passion.

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Deb Willson

INSTRUCTOR

Deb Willson has been a professional equestrian for almost 40 years.  Based in East Tennessee, she teaches lessons at Scots Ridge and conducts clinics across the country in Dressage, Cross Country, Show Jumping and Hunter Seat Equitation.  A United States Pony Club (USPC) Graduate "A," she has trained and competed up to the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Intermediate level and competed in the United States Hunter/Jumper Association (USHJA).  As a USPC National Examiner, she devotes energy and enthusiasm to developing riders' understanding of the mechanics of riding as well as the "feel" of what works with individual horses. 

Deb is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a B.S. in Animal Science.  She is also a member of the Maryville College Board of Directors.  She has a passion for rescue animals and gardening at her family home near Athens, TN where she lives with her husband.

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Chris O'Brien

Chris is the senior member of the Operations team working in the barn, out in the fields, and with the horses.

An Illinois native who moved to Maryville at the age of 14, he attended William H. Blount High School and has worked at Rural King. He enjoys football, playing with his dog, Pharaoh, and hanging out with his family.  He describes working at Scots Ridge as the “job of a lifetime.”

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Melanie Vance

Melanie is a part time member of our Operations team. She has been riding and showing since the age of 8. She helped run her family horse boarding and show facility for 4 years. She currently owns 2 young horses she is developing. 

 

Outside of barn life, Melanie has obtained her Masters in Counseling and one day hopes to incorporate horses into her practice. She also enjoys spending time with her 2 dogs and husband. 

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Takoda Overholt

Takoda started at Scots Ridge in summer of 2021 and quickly became a valued member of the Operations team, often volunteering to come to the farm after-hours as needed for special projects or repairs.  

 

He grew up in here in Rockford playing baseball and football, and went on to attend Heritage High School.  He enjoys working on cars, fishing, and spending time with his fiancee and daughter. 

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Matthew Seehausen

We welcomed Matthew Seehausen to the Operations team in 2022.

Matthew is from Knoxville and also lived in upstate New York during high school where he played football. He graduated from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville in 2020 with a degree in Psychology. He loves being outdoors, fishing, sports of all kinds, hanging out with friends and family, and playing guitar.