JILL STARR - Founder, President

The Founder  and Executive Director of Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue since 1997,Jill created The Medicine Horse Project for the purpose of implementing multiple equine assisted therapy and resiliency programs that may reach out and expand across the country employing rescued and rehabbed horses as a "pay it forward" concept. 

A Dreamer and a Visionary, Jill created Lifesavers from a grain of sand...almost literally... and built it into the largest horse rescue of its kind. 

Jill has similar dreams and visions for The Medicine Horse Project.With the corroboration and partnership of other ranches and rescues, the goals of MHP should be easily achieved.  Jill depends greatly on the other board members Chris and Morgan to help with the hands-on delivery of healing progams in other locations.


Jill Starr

CHRIS NICHOLS - Vice President, Executive Director

 Chris Nichols lives at Lucky Chance Ranch in the beautiful El Dorado National Forest of Northern California with her husband, Morgan, amazing rescue cat Tink,and adopted dogs Barney and Dundee .  She is a licensed Optician and a registered technical speaker with the National Board of Opticianry.  She currently works as a Product Manager for a global vision organization.
Chris served on the board of Lifesavers, Inc. from 2006 to 2009, exiting as Vice President.  She was instrumental in the development of the curriculum for Happy Horse Academy, a natural horsemanship program developed for Lifesavers.        She also earned her EAGALA Horse Specialist Certification in 2008.

In 2009 Chris began Resilient Life Horsemanship, offering a mobile horse training and workshop service specializing in developing partnerships between horse and rider.

The Board of directors

The Medicine Horse Project


Morgan Nichols has an extensive background in real estate and finance both in home sales as well as in the mortgage industry.

In 2016 Morgan adopted his first mustang through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Gentling his 3 year old filly Mojo, himself was a life changing experience. He has witnessed first hand the power of making a connection with an equine has on your life, your heart and your overall health.

Morgan is also an integral part of planning and building the infrustracture of Lucky Chance Ranch which will allow us to bring the programs of The Medicine Project to Northern California.


Danie Coote - Secretary

Danie Coote was born with a passion for horses, only igniting it further with the adoption of her first Mustang, Eternity, at the mere age of 11 years old. Since then, it has become her life mission to make a difference in the lives of America's wild horses by gentling, training and uniting these incredible souls with their human counterparts. 

In May of 2016, Danie experienced first hand the healing power of the Medicine Horse Project's programs when she met and fell in love with Reign, a little Mustang yearling, at MHP's first Women's Empowerment Retreat. Her experience at the retreat inspired her to start writing her first blog, Wildspirite, which has since grown into a ranch that is dedicated to furthering her life's work of gentling and training Mustangs


Billy Smith

Being raised in a family where horses were a way of life, it seemed only natural for Billy to continue this tradition.  Today, Billy is a nationally-known clinician who has helped thousands of horses and people with his in depth understanding of the horse and common sense approach to teaching horsemanship.  His clients and students range from international dressage competitors, commercial horse operations to first-time horse owners.  Billy has lectured on the understanding of the horse and horsemanship at some of the nations leading universities including Cornell and UNLV and his belief in continuing education has led him to study with some of the most respected names in the industry through the years.

Billy has volunteered and worked with many horse rescue organizations throughout the country handling some of their toughest cases and has personally rescued many horses in need over the years transforming them into great partners for the show ring or for pleasure on the trail.

Billy spends time traveling the country teaching horsemanship clinics focusing on a better understanding of the horse and currently lives in Texas where he spends his time teaching horses and people.

Michele Ferrito

Michele was born in Upstate New York and a horse lover since birth.  At seven years old she got her first pony to follow her home from the farm down the road.  Growing up you could almost always find Michele riding and by the age of 15 she had rescued her first two horses.  She has worked on farms and ranches from coast to coast in both management and field positions in the commercial and non-profit sector, and Michele has always continued to rescue and promote the adoption of rescued animals.

After meeting Jill Starr, their common mission and love for the horse was an instant connection for them, and when Jill started The Medicine Horse Project it was only natural for Michele to follow her and continue to support this mission.

Michele currently spends time traveling the country with her husband, Billy Smith, presenting horsemanship clinics focusing on a better understanding of the horse.  When they are at home in Texas, she works with Billy in his business doing everything from riding to shoveling.  Michele has one adult son, who she is very close to and incredibly proud of.