The Pegasus Project, Inc

P.O. Box 26
Ben Wheeler, Texas  75754
(903) 469-3578

Content copyright © 2023. The Pegasus Project LLC. All rights reserved.

Allyson DeCanio

Allyson DeCanio is the Co-Founder, President, and Executive Director of The Pegasus Project. Allyson, an attorney since 1989, is the driving force behind this organization. Allyson is a graduate of Texas A&M and The University of Texas School of Law. Her lifelong love for horses compelled her, with the insistence and support of her husband, Mike, to begin this mission in 2009. Together the DeCanios have built a safe haven to help alleviate the suffering of horses throughout East Texas and beyond. Daily, Allyson is involved in every aspect of the operation of The Pegasus Project, from horse care to training, from fund-raising to bookkeeping. She manages the staff and formulates the medical, nutritional, rehabilitation and training plan for every horse that comes through the gates. She created and manages the Facebook page, thereby promoting our mission and finding carefully-screened adoptive homes for the horses. Allyson also uses her legal skills to work with law enforcement in the seizure process, preparing warrants and conducting hearings to deprive neglectful owners of their rights to keep the animals. As a tireless advocate for the well-being of neglected, abused and abandoned horses, donkey and mules, Allyson has dedicated her life to this mission of love. Allyson and Mike live in a cabin on the 95 acre ranch from which The Pegasus Project operates. They share this piece of heaven with all of the rescue horses, as well as their personal animals, including 4 rescue dogs, 5 horses (including Pegasus rescues Sundance & Dolly), 1 miniature donkey (Pegasus rescue Isaac), and 1 mule (Pegasus rescue Lily).

Mike DeCanio

Mike DeCanio, a Captain for Southwest Airlines, is the Co-Founder and Vice President of The Pegasus Project. Mike and his wife Allyson discovered a huge need for horse rescue in East Texas in 2009. After assisting the Humane Society of East Texas with a multiple-horse seizure, they soon found that horses rescued from terrible situations face an uncertain future, as law enforcement has little choice but to take rescued animals to the auction barn before they are fully recovered. Underweight and untrained, these animals are undesired by most people capable of providing good homes and instead are purchased by killer-buyers that sell the horses to meat processing plants in Mexico. Allyson and Mike co-founded The Pegasus Project in 2009 to save horses from this terrible dilemma. Mike has been the muscle of Pegasus, building nearly every pasture enclosure at the Pegasus ranch and currently maintains all ranch property and equipment. Mike created and maintains the website, serves as IT director and staff photographer, assists in all fund-raising efforts, and works directly in training horses. Mike discovered his passion for horses late in life but has immersed himself in learning about them. Mike adopted his horse Dolly from Pegasus in 2012.

Ross Mathson

Ross Mathson has enjoyed a successful career working in building maintenance over the past 20+ years.  He currently oversees a nationwide business unit focusing on the retail sector.  Ross earned his Bachelor’s Degree from Dickinson State University and his MBA from The University of Phoenix.  Ross, his wife Heather, and their daughters Mackenzy and Morgen live on their ranch in Cleburne, Texas. They share their lives with nine rescue animals: three dogs, three horses, two donkeys and a bunny.  The Mathsons, who have always supported animal adoption, moved to Texas in 2012, and began extensive research to identify reputable horse rescue organizations. Their research ultimately led them to The Pegasus Project.  After meeting founders Allyson and Mike DeCanio and Pegasus head trainer Don Knapp, touring the ranch, and seeing first-hand the work of the entire Pegasus staff, the Mathson family knew they had found the right place. The dedication and patience of the Pegasus team resulted in the adoption of horses Grace and Dixie in 2014 and dog Sebastian, who was adopted through collaboration between The Pegasus Project and the SPCA of East Texas at the Wings Over Pegasus event, April 2015. The Mathson family also adopted Pegasus horse, Tig in 2015, and donkeys Dolly & Faith in 2016. In addition to being adopters, Ross and his family are dedicated volunteers to The Pegasus Project.

Erica McCrary

Erica McCrary graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BBA in Finance.  She worked in the financial industry for 12 years, first as an Industrial Equity Sales Trader for the sales side, then as an Industrial Equity Sales Trader for the buy-side, trading both domestic and international stocks.  Since leaving the trading world to spend more time with her family, Erica started a horse trailer sales business and she helps her husband with their wholesale greenhouse/grower operation.  Erica's love for horses began at birth and really took off when she received her first pony at the age of five.  Several years ago, Erica purchased a challenging horse that required her to explore new ways of communicating with horses.  It was on this journey that she met Allyson and their like-minded approach to so many things made them fast friends.  Erica has been a supporter of Pegasus since inception and she has a great appreciation for the commitment that it takes to give rescued horses protection and a voice.  Erica brings her passion for horses, her experience as a life-long horse owner and her knowledge of finance and business to the Pegasus Board.  She lives in Aubrey, TX with her husband, their two children, five horses, one donkey, five dogs, one cat and six chickens.

Jan Cooper
Jan spent her early years in the Boston, Massachusetts, area, but moved to Europe when her father’s job took the family to Germany.  She spent the next several years there, attending German schools, graduating from Munich American High School, and then attending The American College of Switzerland in Leysin, Switzerland.  While working for Radio Liberty in Munich, she met her husband, Michael, a native of Washington State, who was in the Army at the time.   After returning to the States for a short assignment at Fort Riley, Kansas, she and her husband returned to Munich, and took jobs at The Army and Air Force Exchange Service European Headquarters, the company which operates the Post Exchanges for both the US Army and the US Air Force.  After the birth of their identical triplet daughters, the company transferred Michael from Munich to the worldwide headquarters in Dallas, Texas. 

They settled into their home in Duncanville, and Jan took a break from her executive secretary position to care for their babies.  She became actively involved with the PTA and The Dallas Mothers of Multiples organization, ultimately being elected president of the Texas Mothers of Multiples.   Once the girls were older and in school, Jan returned to work, first with the local school district and then at The Dallas Morning News and WFAA-TV, Channel 8.  While at The Morning News, Jan has spent many years as executive secretary to the VP/Community Services, SVP/Sales, VP/Financial Planning and Strategy, and VP/Controller.  During these years, she has forged many connections to the community and the media in the DFW area. 

Her insight and experience in these areas will be a great asset to the visibility and viability of The Pegasus Project.  Although Jan has always loved horses, and has ridden some since she was a child, she was not able to realize her dream of having a horse until the children were grown.  She started as a volunteer with Therapeutic Riding of Texas (TROT), soon had a horse of her own, took riding lessons and eventually was elected president of TROT.  It was through these new adventures that she met Allyson and Mike, at a cow clinic, and a lifelong connection was forged.  She was there at the start of the Pegasus dream and is ready to do all she can to make it thrive.  Michael is an avid golfer, and Jan has one Pegasus horse, a pony, and a rescue cat. Together they have the three daughters and six grandchildren.

Anne Ellis

Anne Ellis graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Accounting.  She is a CPA and worked as an Auditor for Ernest & Young in Dallas for several years before leaving to join a Dallas-based public company as Corporate VP of Investor Relations in charge of the President's speeches, Annual Reports, and relationships between the company and its investors and analysts.  Later in life, she left the corporate world to complete a Ph.D. in Psychology.  She is currently a licensed psychologist in private practice in Dallas. Throughout her life, she has felt an intense passion for protecting the rights of animals, and supports and volunteers at several nonprofits including the SPCA of Texas, Friends of Dallas Animal Services, and Mercy for Animals.  One day in 2012, she met Allyson and Mike and immediately fell in love with Pegasus and one beautiful colt born at Pegasus named Bobby, who she adopted.  The rest is history.  Bobby now has a herd of his own and Anne is committed to helping Pegasus fulfill its mission for life.


Bruce Logan

Bruce Logan has a long-term relationship with The Pegasus Project. He has trained several of the Pegasus rescue horses and continues to work with Pegasus to prepare our horses for adoption.

When asked how he got his start with horses, Bruce Logan's response was simple, "I didn't have a chance not to love horses. It was in my blood." He was born into a family that produced cutting horses on their ranch in Texas, and he began riding at a very young age. By the time he was in his early teens, he was already starting colts and winning cuttings. Bruce has dedicated his life to studying horses and has been fortunate to learn from some exceptional horsemen. He credits his father, Jerry Logan, and Ronnie Willis with being the most influential. Bruce continues to develop ranch horses and performance horses that he shows in cutting and cow horse disciplines.

Bruce's horsemanship philosophy is based on a foundation that helps the horse stay confident and supple. He believes in "putting the horse's mind, body and spirit first to accomplish the goals set for the horse and rider." This is achieved by giving the horse responsibilities to maintain and choices to make. Bruce states, "That is the difference between training versus developing the horse. In training, there is no choice. In developing, a horse must be held accountable for his choices, right or wrong, then shown what he is asked to perform. This is repeated as many times as needed over as much time as necessary. If the horse does not understand, then it is the rider's responsibility to adjust until he does."

Bruce is a gifted colt starter and is known throughout the US and abroad for his ability to help challenging horses work through problematic patterns and behaviors. Bruce has started thousands of colts and worked with countless horses trainined in all disciplines. He says, "The only reason I have had success with horses is because I have always adjusted to what the horse needed and would search until I found what the horse needed at the moment." His goal is to share his experiences with his students, so that they are able to offer their horses the same understanding.

Bruce lives in Texas on a 7000 acre, working cattle ranch. He offers several clinics at the ranch each year, covering horsemanship, cow work and colt starting. In addition to offering quarterly clinics at the Pegasus ranch, Bruce has a small number of dates available for clinics at other US locations and abroad.

Mark Rashid

Mark Rashid (pronounced RASH-id) is an internationally acclaimed horse trainer known for his ability to understand the horse's point of view and solve difficult problems with communication rather than force. He began working with horses at age 10, when he met the "old man," who taught him to work with the horse, not against the horse, and to listen to what the horse is trying to say. Mark's clinics center on one-on-one work with horse and rider and are immensely popular with people around the world. When Mark decided to study the martial art of aikido as a way to improve his horsemanship, he brought the same quiet determination to it that he exhibits in his work with horses. After years of practice, he has earned a second degree black belt in Yoshinkan aikido and now teaches the "way of harmony" in the local dojo. Mark worked full time on ranches for many years, gathering herds, managing stock and training horses. When time permits, he still enjoys working on ranches near his home in Estes Park, Colorado. Mark has been a guest on NPR's The Horse Show and was featured on the Nature series on PBS. He is the author of ten books - Considering the Horse; A Good Horse is Never a Bad Color; Horses Never Lie; Life Lessons from a Ranch Horse; Horsemanship Through Life; Big Horses, Good Dogs & Straight Fences; A Life with Horses; Whole Heart, Whole Horse; Journey to Softness; and a novel, Out of the Wild, which is being made into a movie. Mark met the DeCanios in 2012 when they hosted him in a horsemanship clinic, and their relationship has grown ever since. Mark fell in love with The Pegasus Project and has declared it to be the best run horse rescue he has ever witnessed. Mark and his wife Crissi McDonald (an acclaimed horsewoman in her own right) have adopted two Pegasus rescue horses, Sundance and Ally. The Pegasus Project is honored to have Mark, whom many believe is the world's greatest living horseman, serve as an adiser our board of directors. 

Board of Directors