BOD Nominees

Nominees for Board of Directors, term starting January 1, 2021.   Two (2) positions are available.


Summary of Nominees:

Jeff Conklin Ohio; Member since 2016; Owns 6 GVHS horses (since 2015); Shows, Expos, Evaluations, Director/Officer, Committees
Samantha Crook Oklahoma; Member since 2016; Owns 5 GVHS horses (since 2014); Shows, Committee, Annual Meeting
Wendy Lee Virginia; Member 2015, 2017, 2020; Owns 2 GVHS horses (since 2020); Shows
Samantha Van Sickle California; Member since 2012; Owns 18 GVHS horses (since 2012); Annual Meeting, Committee, Shows, Educational Seminar, Evaluations

Hello, my name is Jeff  Conklin and I am running for a position on the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society Board of Directors.  I am currently serving as a Director on the GVHS Board, and on the GVHS Rules, Bylaws and Grievance Committee.    I am presently the Vice President  of the Board of Directors, and continue to look for opportunities to improve communication, educate and promote the rich history of the GVHS and this wonderful breed.

Over the past 20 years, I have been active leading equine 4H clubs, as well as breeding and training our own horses.  I am a life-long educator, mentor and leader.  I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Education with over 30 years of educating, quality assurance engineering and management.  My professional experience lends itself to working well with others, maintaining standards, meeting expectations, evaluating processes and products, providing continual improvements and adjustments as necessary, training and mentoring others.  I am a co-owner of Liberty Vanner Farm LLC, also a Subway franchise co-owner, and the principal consultant for Conklin’s Quality Consulting.

As a member of the GVHS for the past several years, I have had the privilege of serving as the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society Breed Booth Manager for the Ohio Equine Affaire from 2017 to 2019.  I have worked with our GVHS Team Members to set up and run the breed booth for each week, scheduling members into the booth and demos, organizing the Gypsy Vanner Horse show times, and worked to educate the public about the GVHS and the Gypsy Vanner Horse breed.  My wife and I currently have 6 GVHS registered horses, and have exhibited at the Ohio Equine Affaire, allowing everyone the opportunity to get up close and touch these feathered friends.   Our Gypsy Vanner heirloom bloodlines reflect our desire to maintain and preserve the breed standard.  We love to represent all the GVHS and its members and share this wonderful breed with the public whenever possible at shows, local horse parades and other venues.

Please give me the opportunity to continue to serve on the Board, and to work together expanding the knowledge base about the GVHS, and to preserve the heritage of this great breed.  Please vote for me, so we can continue to make a difference in our Society.


Jeff Conklin


Samantha Crook:  I believe I possess the necessary skills and knowledge to represent you, the members of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, productively and professionally .

GVHS is a 501 c (5) non-profit organization that represents the foundation of the Gypsy Vanner Horse Breed.  Preservation, management, marketing  & organization are key factors in  maintaining a successful registry. In order to do that, the business organization must maintain its goals, values and ethics in good standing. We must move forward together with a clear understanding of the breed, goals, the mission of the society, and marketing to the public.

I am frequently asked, “Why did you choose a Gypsy Vanner?” Pictures capture the essence of their beauty. I capture their grace, strength, extraordinary adaptability, remarkable diversity, agility, versatility and kindness but most of all… their soul.

I live in Southern Oklahoma and have raised and shown animals my entire life. Fabled, feared, romanticized, and reviled, animals come second nature to me. I own five Gypsy Vanners. I am the president of a 501c(3) Non-profit organization: Courage Initiative, Gypsy Vanner Outreach, Inc.  for disabled adults & children, veterans, and the elderly. It was established in 2018.  I am also president of Rod & Gun Club Stables, LLC.   I have an Elementary Education Degree, Paralegal and Interior Design degrees. I have owned my own businesses for over 21 years. I have served on numerous public boards. I am currently a member of the:

  1. NATIONAL Council of Non-profit Organizations
  2. TANO; Texas Association of Non-profit Organizations
  3. OKLAHOMA Center for Non-profit Members
  4. Board of Directors for the Ardmore Tourism Authority

The largest challenge faced by a non-profit organizations is funding.  GVHS is the largest gypsy horse registry in America and has proven its success by being sufficiently funded and productive to its members.   I believe in setting standards for excellence with a diversified board educated in marketing, finance, leadership, networking, development and schematics.  Approaching improvement with ethical intentions and building goals for the members of the GVHS registry is my desire.  Approaching the board with self-motivated goals is not a productive way to support the registry.  Through training, consulting, advocacy, membership, networking and awards, GVHS represents the  greatest non-profit gypsy vanner breed organization to its members, owners, the public, friends and family.  I am proud to be a lifetime member of GVHS.  I have a broad vision and can set forth ideas using resources and support necessary for this nonprofit organization to sustain its mission

I hope you will consider me for your vote aboard the GVHS Board of Directors.

The Best,

 Samantha Crook


Wendy Lee: It is with great desire that I submit this Board of Directors application. My reason is simple: to bring my talents, experiences, education and professionalism to GVHS to assure the society moves in a positive and productive direction.

My experiences with horses have been a lifetime. Although I have been a trainer for over 30 years, my first show was when I was 9 years old, and have since earned numerous World and National championships in multiple breeds. These titles include the Gypsy Vanner in which I was introduced to in 2009 and quickly found myself engulfed in showing them. Disciplines represented in my titles are western, english, trail, showmanship, and halter.

As of 1995, I have, and continue to be, a horse show judge and clinician. Going from an average of judging 38 shows a year, my showing horses has since limited my judging. Although, my passion to teach and educate the horse community continues through my clinics.

At one point, I owned 19 horses and currently own my retired World Champion APHA/PtHA stallion, retired Reserve National Champion Arabian gelding, and two young Gypsy Vanner geldings.

I am married to a wonderful husband who is a large animal veterinarian, owns his own practice, and is extremely supportive of my “horse habit.”. I have two children. My son Spencer lives in western VA and is the Program Director for YMCA. My daughter Ashley Sarkozi who, along with her husband Scott, currently show and train Gypsy Vanners and Friesians.

Lastly, my experiences in the horse business have been full circle. Ranging from boarding 30 horses, to starting a 4H Club with 27 active members, with some graduating and becoming successful horsemen and horsewomen, including the recent Sporthorse National Champion in Western Dressage and earner of the Triple Crown Excellence Award. Additionally, in 2002, I was elected President of a local association bringing an additional 225 members in my 2-year term, to hosting my own show circuit, holding 10-12 shows per year with a membership and year end awards banquet.

In closing, I look forward to working with the board in any capacity and wishing you all a safe and healthy holiday season ahead.


Wendy Lee


Hello,  My name is Samantha VanSickle and I am a lifelong equine professional with a true passion for the Gypsy Vanner breed. I met my first Gypsy Vanner at 12 years old- a “love at first sight” memory that I will always cherish. Like many of you, I feel honored to share my life with this incredible breed and I look forward to its future. It is exciting to see our breed growing, evolving and touching the hearts of all who meet these wonderful horses!

I believe that when you are passionate about something, it is important to volunteer your time and unique talents to that cause. I feel strongly that we as members should support the organization that also supports us. I have enjoyed the benefits of being a member of the GVHS for 9 years and I want to do my part to give back to the Gypsy community that is such a central part of my life.

I offer to the GVHS Board my organizational and marketing experience, my show background and knowledge of our breed standard, my enthusiasm and my time. Honesty, integrity, dedication and altruism-these are the core values that I was raised with and they remain at the center of both my professional and my personal life. This I will also bring to our organization as a Board Member, for any task I would undertake.

With the growth of any organization comes challenges as well as rewards. As a Board Member, I look forward to helping integrate new ideas and programs to meet the unique requests and needs of our members. Serving our membership is key, still upholding the requirements and ideals central to the organization, and while allowing for growth and future success of our beloved breed. The GVHS has accomplished so much- raised the bar in professionalism, afforded opportunities to showcase our horses, provided us with an invaluable database and demonstrated steadfast commitment to the Gypsy Vanner breed.

I am extremely proud of the GVHS organization, and feel it is worthy of the same support and dedication shown to all of us as members. In working together towards our common goals, there is no limit to what we can achieve!

Thank you for this opportunity to present my background and for your consideration!                                                                                                        Samantha VanSickle