About Us


president- michelle gerlach

Hello, my name is Lauren Merchant, Vice President of SWFDA for the 2019 2020 year. I'm a local horse

Vice president-Lauren Merchant

 Hello, my name is Lauren Merchant, Vice President of SWFDA for the 2019-2020 year. I am a local horse trainer and instructor here in Charlotte/Lee County for the past 16 years and do primarily Western disciplines, including Western Dressage.


Treasurer- Danielle King


Danielle “Dani” has been involved with SWFDA since 2015 and served as our Treasurer since 2017.

Danielle has long family history involving horses. Her family owned a cattle import business in upstate New York. Horses were always around when the Angus cattle came in from Scotland.


Her imported Hanoverian mare Vanilla Sky is the apple of her eye! Vanilla came to Danielle in 2014 through an old family friend. Danielle says she could not imagine her world without Vanilla (retired 2018), her husband, and her dachshunds! 


Secretary- Sandra LaRoche


I was the little kid who begged for a pony every birthday and Christmas...but since I was the oldest of 8 and we lived in the city that wasn’t happening. 

At 35 I decided to fulfill my own dream and start riding. I fell in love with Arabian horses and trail riding. I briefly tried Western pleasure, but Dressage has made me become a more educated rider. There is so much to learn and it makes such a difference in the horse and rider. 

My little Arab mare and I keep trying to improve. As secretary of SWFDA I get to know lots of nice people: Dressage riders, and horse lovers like myself.

 Old man with a good horse

Member Representative- Henry Watson


Member Representative- Ashley Miller

Ashley Miller has been a faithful member of SWFDA for the past 15 years and has served on the board several times over that time span in different positions.

Ashley is a USDF bronze medalist working towards her bronze bar as an Adult Amateur. 

She shares her time as a family nurse practitioner with her husband and their beloved menagerie: dogs, a pot belly pig, a bearded dragon, and two off the track Thoroughbreds: Hickeys Creek and Wicked Dalton.