JoDee Barnes started riding horses with her Grandpa when she was 6 months old. As soon as she was old enough, she began formal instruction in both English and Western disciplines, and eventually jumping. Her love of horses led her to begin working for a rodeo. It was here that her talent for training young horses was discovered and cultivated.
This talent for training horses was put on hold while she served her country in the United States Air Force. After her honorable discharge, she attended a technical school for Auto Collision repair. As soon as she was able, she began training and riding again.
While living in North Carolina, she began helping and training at a therapeutic riding center, Wings of Eagles. JoDee studied under the owner and lead instructor for up to 4 classes per day 3 times a week. She quickly realized that helping people learn how to ride even though they have life challenges, was exactly what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
To fulfill her dream, JoDee enrolled in an Equine Specialist program consisting of: Equine Nutrition, Behavior, Disease, Anatomy, Reproduction, Stallion Management, Equine Marketing, Training Performance Horses, and Equine Facility Management and Design. Throughout the program, she continued to work a full time job, volunteer, and work on developing her business. In 2010, she graduated with honors from Global Equine Academy under Gene & Sandy Miller. The following year, JoDee & her husband Tony went to Farrier school in Wyoming where they learned to trim hooves and shoe horses. Returning from Wyoming, JoDee and Tony started working together honing their horses’ skills and began training them to be therapeutic animals.
In 2010, JoDee and Tony founded Victory Riding Academy and in 2011, Victory Riding Academy became a 501c3 Non-Profit business.
Tony Barnes, Executive Director of Victory Riding Academy, is a native of Omaha. His affinity for business and entrepreneurial spirit was evident a young age, when he started his first business. After high school he entered the Navy and became an Aviation Fire Control Technician working on the missile guidance systems on the F-14. Following his honorary discharge, Tony moved to Charlotte, NC, where he became a partner in a small telecommunications company. Under Tony’s guidance, the company grew from a staff of 2 people and $65 thousand dollars in business in the first year, to 17 employees and over $1 million dollars in business within three years
After moving back to Omaha, Tony studied alongside his wife JoDee as she went through her Equine Management program. Realizing his dream of working with children and adults with special needs, Tony developed a business plan that became Victory Riding Academy.
Continuing his education with horses and their necessary care, Tony went to Farrier school in Wyoming where he learned to trim hooves and shoe horses. He then started working alongside JoDee training horses to be therapy horses, as well as giving rides and assisting with lessons.
In 2010, Tony and JoDee founded Victory Riding Academy. In 2011, Victory Riding Academy transitioned to a 501c3 Non Profit Corporation.