SaraSara Ruggerone, Equine Care Manager

Sara joined the Redwings team in October of 2013.  Along with her extensive background in the equine world she brings a vision to Redwings that will make it possible for our organization to expand its rescue efforts to include a program for fostering rehabilitated horses as a pathway to adoption.

Sara lives and breathes horses; and she personally owns five horses, all of them are rescues.  She worked for Partners in Equestrian Therapy teaching adults and children with disabilities basic riding skills to develop their self-confidence and independence.  And, for two months in 2009 she served as a volunteer at a wildlife sanctuary in South Africa and Namibia, further illustrating her love of animals and her very special talent working with them.  This love of animals and the ability to teach others how to connect with them is a gift few of us possess.

Sara’s educational background from Cal Poly of San Luis Obispo is in animal science with a concentration in equine studies.  Sara enjoys her position of equine care supervisor and overseeing the herd of 80 plus equines at Redwings.  Her accomplishments in the past year include accreditation by the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA), becoming an Aftercare Partner with the California Race Management Account (CARMA), and completing an application for accreditation with the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS). Her engaging personality, management skills, and can-do attitude made her a perfect fit for Redwings.

Jorge Padilla, Ranch Manager

In January of 2018, Redwings was fortunate to have Jorge Padilla join our team.  Jorge has had a long and successful career in equine care and ranch management.  For the past 22 years, Jorge worked at a very large Thoroughbred breeding farm on the central coast.  He has a wide range of experience ranging from horse handling and mare and foal management to ranch maintenance and repair.  Jorge started as an equine care assistant at Redwings, handling daily treatments and medications for our horses, but he was quickly promoted to Ranch Manager.  Today Jorge oversees a team of five ranch hands and is responsible for keeping the ranch operating smoothly.  He also continues to work with the horses daily as part of the equine care team.  Jorge’s dedication to the horses is evident in the care he takes with every task, and he works hard every day to make their lives happy, healthy and safe.

Desirae Vanek CogdellDesirae Vanek Cogdell, Office Manager

Desirae joined the Redwings staff in April 2018. Desirae has over 10 years of non-profit experience and specializes in donor relations. Desirae raised support for the University of California, Los Angeles for six years, and most recently served as Associate Director of Major Gifts for UCLA Physical Sciences. Early in her career, she gained hands-on experience in non-profit capacity-building as an AmeriCorps VISTA. Desirae earned an MPhil in American Literature from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. in English with high honors from the University of California, Berkeley.

Desirae wears many hats at Redwings, including office management, donor relations and donation processing, and grant writing. Desirae moved from Los Angeles to rural Monterey County for her husband’s career and is thrilled to put her skills to use supporting horse rescue in her new community. Desirae owns three rescue cats and especially loves spending time with the Redwings burros.

Cecilio Cruz-Carillo – Equine Care Assistant
Juan Alcanta Avila – Ranch Hand
Nazario Cardena Diaz – Ranch Hand
Rafael Valencia – Ranch Hand
Jose Gaxiola – Ranch Hand
Fernando Pechecho Leon – Ranch Hand