Cy-Hawk Working Equitation

Board of Directors

Robin Sprafka


Robin arranges life around her passion for horses. She and her husband created Middle River Ranch on 195 acres in Madison County. Working for the Des Moines Police Department the opportunity presented to help start and train the Mounted Patrol unit. She eventually moved into a supervisory position for the unit until retirement. Robin attended Mounted Patrol Instructor courses in Omaha, Ne., Ocala, Fl. And with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Ottawa, Canada. After retiring she volunteered at Wildwood Hills Ranch helping at risk children learn the responsibilities of caring for horses and to work together as a drill team. In 2013 Robin was appointed to the board of directors for the Hope After Racing Thoroughbreds. The horses moved to the Middle River Ranch and Robin began caring for the injured and rehabilitating horses ready to move into new disciplines. During these years Robin spent a lot of time tail riding, showing Hunter/Jumpers and competing in Dressage. As she continues training in Dressage she has become very interested in the discipline of Working Equitation finding enjoyment in developing an even deeper connection with her horses.

Simat Whipp

Vice President

Simat is a retired high school science teacher, with an emphasis in biology, zoology, anatomy, physiology, and minor in human psychology. She has over 50 years of experience with horses. Her passion for horses started at the age of 7 and continues to gain strength throughout her life. She has experience in a variety of riding disciplines, including: Western pleasure, Games, Hunter pleasure, English pleasure, Dressage (Dressage being her main focus), and is now beginning her journey into Working Equitation. Simat is also a certified Equine Massage Therapist, and currently teaches Equine Massage online through horse courses online. She has experience riding a variety of breeds, including: American Saddlebreds, Morgans, QH, Thoroughbreds and Arabians. She is an enthusiastic fan of all breeds (although extra passionate about the American Saddlebred) and does her best to promote wellness and harmony within the Equine community.

Shellie Hensley


  Shellie Hensley was raised in Michigan on 20,000 acres with 200 head of horses at her young fingertips.  It was no surprise that she went on to make horses her full time career.  An eternal student of horsemanship, Shellie spent years studying different disciplines and working in various areas of the equine industry. From the race track and training centers specializing in Thoroughbred training and rehabilitation to riding facilities focusing on providing safe interactions with horses, Shellie approached each opportunity with the best interest of the horse in mind.

  Shellie went on to earn a certification as a riding instructor through the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA).  Not only did she certify as an instructor for riders with disabilities, she also earned CHA’s top honors when certifying as Master Instructor & Clinic Instructor.  In 2017, Shellie was named CHA’s Clinic Instructor of the Year for her dedication to effectively evaluating clinic participants in their pursuit of instructor certification.  She also served on CHA’s international Board of Directors for three terms, traveling, supporting & promoting safe, effective horsemanship across the United States.

  Shellie, along with her friends Amy & Robin, developed an interest in Working Equitation and together became the “founding mothers” of what is now known as Cy-Hawk Working Equitation.  She serves as our Secretary and is often found at the barn pursuing her passions of dressage and WE with her gelding, Jalisco.

Cindy Niebuhr


Retired Educator 33years I have been involved with horses since the day I was born. I have ridden a variety of disciplines and a variety of breeds. I have driven wagon teams /carts, fox hunted, and trail rode in several different States parks. My daughter and I showed together quarter horses & paints for 21 years before deciding to try dressage and working equation. I currently ride 2 Icelandic Horses and a fabulous Andalusian.

Not Pictured

Amy Vanwyk – Board Member

Marcy Crain – Board Member