Meet the Team

Sally Mixon

Founder/CEO, MA

Sally has her MA in professional counseling and in her roles as Chief Development Officer and Equine Trainer at Acres for Life (One of the largest Mental Health Equine – Experiential Programs in the world) and now strategic partner of Abijah’s on the Backside, Sally has years of experience raising awareness of the power of this work through not only facilitating sessions, but also through speaking and annually leading fundraising endeavors. Sally founded Abijah’s on the Backside in 2020, combining her passion for the sport as well as exercise riding at thoroughbred tracks with her passion for supporting the military and first responders. Sally has two brothers who both serve in law enforcement, and a father who served in the Marine Corp. Sally believes it’s more than just racing. It’s about running for a cause; to bring hope, healing, and transformation to all.

The vision of Abijah’s on the Backside is inspired by Sally’s faith, and now passed friend, Jeff Lukas, and David Burrage who took care of Jeff for over 20 years after his famous accident in 1993 with Tobasco Cat.

Dani Palmer

VP of Development

Dani has an extensive history of creating and developing non-profits, guiding them to global movements through sponsor development and partnerships with entities like Citibank, Coca-Cola, FedEx, Best Buy, US Bank, Fiat, iHeart and more. Dani has spearheaded development & partnerships with a wide range of local & global charities including: Global Poverty Project, Twin Cities Film Fest, Malala Fund, Mandela Foundation, Eagala, Buffalo Strong & more. Her fundraising campaigns have raised over $6 million in sponsorships & donor dollars. She believes the timing is perfect for Abijah’s on the Backside to elevate the racing industry- bringing healing & hope to a sport that deserves a revival in the decades to come.

Mark Irving

Strategic Partnership Director

Mark believes in the power of the horse and how it can affect the human spirit. He began working with horses at a very young age and raced as a professional jockey in both Europe and the U.S. Throughout his 20-year career, he had over 200 wins in Europe, over 800 in the U.S., and was the leading turf rider at Canterbury Park for many years. Mark is a connector! In 2019, Mark met Sally Mixon (Founder) and has played a significant role in building traction and awareness to this inspiring and transforming vision. Since 2018, Mark has been the Racing Ambassador for Canterbury Park consisting of hosting corporate events and speaking about his experiences as a professional jockey.

Lisa Fulton, MA, LICSW

Certified in the Eagala model, Arenas for Change (ARCH) framework, and Abijah’s Off-Track Thoroughbred (OTTBs) backside cultural component

Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Morris in Sociology and American Indian Studies and attended the University of Kansas receiving her master’s degree in Clinical Social Work. She has worked in multiple settings including county based social therapy and tribal programs for 14 years providing equine-assisted therapies to, individuals, families, and couples. In the spring of 2021, Lisa was introduced to the culture and passion of the racing industry. She began working on the backside of Canterbury Park serving stable workers as well as first responders and military struggling with addiction and trauma.

Lisa is also trained in Somatic Experiencing, which is trauma-based model along with years of experience working in equine-assisted therapeutic modalities. Lisa believes ALL have the answers within themselves and loves coming along side those working through life’s struggles. Lisa is also a member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Tribe.

Dee Buros, M.Ed.

Certified in the Eagala model, Arenas for Change (ARCH) framework, and Abijah’s Off-Track Thoroughbred (OTTBs) backside cultural component

Dee has close to 10 years working with horses and in the spring of 2021 began working on the backside of Canterbury Park with those struggling with addiction and trauma. She completely fell in love with the environment and passion of the backside stable workers as well as her off-track thoroughbred team. Dee also has a heart for our military and first responders as well as Native American Youth and over the years, has witnessed the healing that takes place when stepping into the space with these incredible, intuitive animals.

Dee is also a teacher and is currently the Indian Education Coordinator and a member of the Equity Team at Shakopee Schools. In her spare time, she enjoys working out, reading, and family time. She contributes her fulfilling life to surrounding herself with supportive friends, family, and her strong faith in God.

“The truth is, thoroughbreds off and on the track have a lot in common with the human spirit; often misunderstood.”
– Sally Mixon

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