Owner & Trainer
Betty Beran is the head rider, trainer and instructor at Smoke Tree Ranch. She grew up in Evanston, Illinois and attended ASU and Stanford University, where she majored in Elementary Education with a minor in Psychology.
While at Stanford, Betty was a working student for Jimmy Kohn ( Berry Hill Farm) and Richard Keller(Fox Tail Farm) before returning to Scottsdale to marry Bill. Bill and Betty have three children - Amy, Jeff, and Billy. Betty also has four granddaughters – Grace, Reagan, Kelsey, and Claire Gallagher, as well as two grandsons – Danny and Tyler Beran.
Betty has been a USEF "R" judge for 30 years, is a member of the Zone 8 Committee for Hunters & Equitation, serves on the National Hunter Seat Equitation Task Force and the Special Projects committee. She is a US Hunter/Jumper committee member.
Ariel Marx grew up in Sandy, Utah, where she began her career riding ponies. She was in love with the sport after her first riding lesson,. Throughout high school, Ariel was a working student for Michael and Jon Knight at Alta Hills Farm and Promontory Equestrian Center in Utah. During that time, she moved from the ponies into the Junior Hunters, medals, equitation and finally into the jumper ring. Ariel was selected for the Emerging Athletes Program regionals, as well as particiapating in the George Morris Gladstone Program.
Ariel graduated from Arizona State University with a Business Management degree. Ariel has been riding in the Grand Prix classes. She is grateful for every ride and every opportunity.
Dana Rutherford grew up in Mission Viejo, California. She attended Saddleback College in Mission Viejo studying education.
Dana started riding at the early age of 3 years. As a young adult, Dana worked for Katie Berney in San Juan Capistrano. and in 1993, moved to England where she worked at a private facility and earned her first teaching certficate from the British Horsemanship Society. Dana moved to Portland, Oregon after completing a BHS program where she worked for Rich Fellers at Whip N'Spur Farm and then rode professionally for Linda Worley at Cornerstone Farm.
Maddie James grew up in Scottsdale, Arizona. Maddie took her first lesson at Smoke Tree Ranch when she was 6 years old where she learned to ride her first pony and is now an assitant trainer. Maddie has been helping with STR's summer and winter pony camps for 5 years now. She attented Arizona State University and graduated with her Bachelors degree in Business Management.
Maddie is grateful to call Smoke Tree Ranch her home for over 15 years now and is excited to continue her career with Betty.