Meet the Trail Guides

Derrick, Owner

Weekends – Primary Mount: Jake

Derrick, born and raised in North Carolina, has been riding since he was a teenager. An Army veteran, he is currently in his 29th year as a paramedic. Derrick opened DM Outdoors and established Safe Haven Farm in 2015 after going on a ride with another barn. He was so disappointed in the “follow the leader” style of ride. DM Outdoors started with 3 horses and a small trailer, just wanting a way to help with the costs of owning horses. It has evolved into a place where we’ve ended up rescuing horses and people alike. Derrick has been told more than once that he can never shut down DM Outdoors… not because of the impact to the public or the horses, but because of the loss to the people that have been helped by and have become a part of the Safe Haven family. 

Kiera, Barn Manager

Weekends – Primary Mount: Stanley

Born and raised in New York City, Kiera, or “K-Rod”, had never ridden a horse before until she came to us as a customer, riding Stanley just about every other weekend for almost a year. The Marine Corps brought the New Yorker down to the south, of which she appreciates and quite frankly, prefers. A softball and weight-lifting athlete, she loves spending her off-time with animals. The volunteer “veteran” of our crew, Kiera has been lending a hand around Safe Haven since early 2020, and always felt she was more of a ranchera than a city girl.


Weekends – Primary Mount: Rusty

Sabryna was born in Ohio and raised in North Carolina. Growing up in a military family, she decided to stay in North Carolina for school. She is currently attending NC State University, majoring in animal science. From a young age, Sabryna has always had a passion for working with animals, which is why she has decided to study to begin a career as a veterinarian. She loves volunteering, as spent a great deal of time volunteering for a local animal rescue before falling in love with Safe Haven in 2021!


Weekends – Primary Mount: Rusty

Originally from Massachusetts, Mel moved to North Carolina to be closer to family and for warmer weather. She has worked with animals her whole life, and for the past 3 years, she’s been developing her career in the veterinary field as a veterinary technician, working full time at a small animal veterinary hospital. In her free time she loves spending quality time with friends and family, being outdoors with her two dogs, relaxing at the beach, and fishing. Mel started volunteering at Safe Haven in 2021. 


Weekdays – Primary Mount: Albert/Jake

Although born in Germany, Jeszi has lived in NC since moving to the US where she spent her early college life focusing on psychology and competition drumline. She joined the Marine Corps with her brother in 2016, landing her in Jacksonville, and began volunteering with us in the beginning of 2019 before she was stationed overseas in Okinawa, Japan. After completing her service with the USMC, she returned and continued volunteering again in spring of 2022. She now runs her own rabbit rescue and has become an award-winning taxidermist. Jeszi is tri-lingual, enjoys spending time with her family, riding her motorcycle and joy-riding in her Rx7. She has an endless passion for animals to include her 2 dogs, 5 cats, 4 snakes, rabbit, iguana, and chameleon.


Weekends – Primary Mount: Stanley

Born and raised in the Netherlands, her love for horses started at the age of five with her first riding lesson. Rachel’s lessons continued until the age of 14 when she moved to America. Rachel went to school in Massachusetts, and after completing high school, moved down to North Carolina for warmer weather and new opportunities. She found her love for dog grooming and began riding/volunteering with us in spring of 2022.

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