About Us

The owners of Spring Lane Ranch, Heather and Darrel Shea, pride themselves on breeding and training quality Paso Fino’s and American Saddlebreds for trail and show

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Heather with Futuro del Oregano

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Darrel Shea


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Betsy McHugh

Master Trainer/Instructor
Senior Certified Judge
Ranch Manager

Betsy McHugh is a professional horseman who has been fortunate to turn a childhood obsession into a fulfilling career. After completing a 5-year apprenticeship in Equine Studies (full-service training, showing, and breeding) and Farm Management, Betsy opened her equestrian services business and has not looked back.

Studying under world-class horsemen and collaborating with her peers, Betsy developed an interest in equine athletic development. With roots in the classical methods and real-world experience with working western cowboys, Betsy is a unique horseman who blends these useful and effective methods.

Today she enjoys the accomplishments that only hard work and dedication can deliver: Senior Certified Judge, International Certified Judge, Trainer of the Year, Multi-National Champion and the satisfaction of living a dream.

Regardless of your specific equine pursuits, we remain confident that this “Trainer’s Trainer,” with expertise in equine mechanics, psychology, and training, can work with you to improve your horse.

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Alex Zapata

Paso Fino Trainer/Instructor
Certified Judge

Alex Zapata is a native of Puerto Rico and at the age of twelve began visiting family in Ocala, Florida. On a visit to the well-respected Young’s Paso Fino Ranch, he met well known trainer Juan Ramon Figueroa. As fate would have it, Alex soon started spending summers working and training under this famous trainer’s watchful eye. By the age of 18, Alex had earned his first professional training job at Young’s Ranch.

Over the years, Alex has had the opportunity to work with many renowned trainers. Combining these valuable experiences with his own excellent instincts, he has developed methods that he applies to his horses today.

Being the serious and talented trainer and competitor that he is, Alex was drawn to judging at an early age – so early in fact that he was informed that he was too young! Of course, he patiently waited until he could earn his Paso Fino Horse Association Judge accreditation as well as his Federacion de Technica de Jueces in Puerto Rico.

As his career has progressed, Alex has been respected for his expert handling, knowledgeable judging and excellent deportment. This and many other attributes have served to help him receive many national and international championships. With over 20 years of professional experience, he is an important member of the Spring Lane Ranch team.

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Mark Wilson


Mark Wilson was raised on the famed Twin Willow Hackney Pony Farm and has deep roots with horses. His family raised one of the leading Hackney breeding stallions in the country, who revolutionized the Hackney Pony Industry.

Mark loved watching horses progress under the watchful eye of well-respected trainers and was soon training his own horses to show. He would study under the top trainers, whom he admired, training young horses and gaining valuable skills and experience.

This respected trainer has started, and successfully shown, multiple world champion Hackney Ponies and American Saddlebreds. His experience in showing and judging brings together all aspects of a competitive career.


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Kim Wilkey

COO Shea Office

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Masha Budden

Equine Massage Therapist
Administrative Assistant