THE PEGASUS PROJECT, INC.

The Pegasus Project, Inc

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

Content copyright © 2015. 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 for the past 27 years, 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 animals, including 6 dogs, 5 horses (including Pegasus alum 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 flew A-7Es and F/A-18s for the U.S. Navy before becoming an airline pilot.  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.

Anne Ellis

Anne Ellis is a licensed psychologist and CPA. She has a Ph.D. in Psychology and a BBA in Accounting. Anne is in private practice in Dallas, where she specializes in forensic evaluations and consulting involving child custody and child abuse. Prior to her decision to focus on a psychology career, Anne had a successful career in business working in the Audit department of Ernst & Young and then as a Corporate VP of Investor Relations of Sterling Software, a multi-million dollar international software firm. With her background in accounting and auditing (including her experience in conducting audits of non-profit organizations), she brings knowledge, structure and organization to Pegasus in her role as Treasurer in order to help the organization reach its financial goals. She also brings a lifelong passion and zealous advocacy for animal rights and an intolerance of abuse (people and animals) that is instrumental in helping Pegasus continue to address the needs of abused horses in East Texas. Anne is the proud owner of two golden retrievers and four horses, including Bobby, a young Quarter Horse she adopted from Pegasus. Anne and her husband George split their time between their Dallas home and their small ranch in Lindale, Texas, where their horses live.

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 on our board of directors. 

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 seven rescue animals: three dogs, three horses, 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.  In addition to being adopters, Ross and his family are dedicated volunteers to The Pegasus Project and maintain their status as monthly donors through the Pegasus Partners program.

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.  Ten 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.

Caren Huckabee Carr

Caren Huckabee Carr has had a successful career in Medical Device Sales and Sales Management over the past 20 plus years, including US Surgical, Medtronic and Covidien. She graduated from Tyler Junior College and the University of North Texas with a degree in Business. Caren has a true passion for animals and a genuine respect for the work that The Pegasus Project does for the community. Allyson and Caren have been close friends since 1984, and Caren has been a significant donor to The Pegasus Project since Allyson and Mike founded this mission in 2009.  Caren’s 2nd grade Christmas present was a Welsh Pony named “Red” that lived a long good life on her grandfather’s farm. This set in motion her love for horses. Caren brings her corporate experience, organizational skills, and get-it-done attitude to The Pegasus Project to aid in donor-base building and fund raising efforts. Caren lives in Spokane, Washington with her 2 rescue dogs, Stella a Lab mix and Paris a Border Collie.

Tamara Robinson

Tamara Robinson graduated from Southern Methodist University with a BA in Sociology. An advocate for children, she worked as a social worker for Child Protective Services. She also volunteered for many Dallas non-profits over the years. When her husband transferred to Chicago for work, she decided to pursue her masters degree in counseling at Argosy University. Upon graduation, Tamara shifted her focus to starting a family.

Tamara's passion for horses began as a young child when she started riding competitively at local hunter/jumper events. As an adult, life got in the way of Tamara's riding, but horses never left her heart. Her love for horses was reignited several years ago while living in Florida when her daughter started taking lessons. While in Florida, she discovered a horse named Jett who was in desperate need of help. Tamara bought the troubled Quarter Horse to save him from his miserable situation.  After returning to Dallas, Texas, Tamara learned of The Pegasus Project and contacted Allyson DeCanio to seek help for Jett. Jett was transported from Florida to the Pegasus ranch, where he was rehabilitated and where he currently resides. Tamara and her daughter now train at an eventing barn in Dallas. She brings a strong desire to give horses a voice and a second chance at life and is excited to be a part of such an amazing organization. Tamara lends her networking skills to assist The Pegasus Project in all aspects of marketing and fundraising. 


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 two horses, a pony, and two rescue cats. Together they have the three daughters and six grandchildren.


Jessica Phillips


Jessica is a Tyler resident who works as a school counselor in Bullard, Texas. She graduated from Dallas Baptist University and holds a Master of Education in School Counseling and also in Educational Leadership. She and her husband, Matt, have one daughter. Jessica is an active member of the Junior League of Tyler, which has provided her with valuable leadership and fundraising experience that will be brought to The Pegasus Project. She has always had a passion for volunteerism. During a summer of volunteering at The Pegasus Project ranch, she quickly fell in love with the organization and everything that it does. Though she currently does not have any horses of her own, she spent her childhood and teenage years riding and has always loved horses and animals. In her home live three very spoiled dogs and two cats, as well as four barn cats. All but one dog are rescues or strays that found life-long homes with her family. She believes that animals deserve to be treated kindly and that they count on us to advocate for them when they are in situations of abuse and/or neglect. The Pegasus Project has a huge part of her heart and she is willing to go above and beyond to help meet the organization’s needs and the needs of abused and neglected horses in East Texas.











Board of Directors

 WE GIVE HORSES WINGS!