Meet the Staff

Meet the Staff

Mackenzie Parks
Owner and Head Instructor

Mackenzie learned to ride with Nancy and Twin Oaks from a young age and returned after college to teach lessons and camps at Twin Oaks. In April 2015, she acquired the business from Nancy and has continued to provide quality lessons and camps and taking excellent care for the Twin Oaks horses.

Mackenzie continually improves upon her riding skills and adds to her equestrian experience by actively competing and training with talented trainers with her horse Mr. McGoey. Her experience includes:

  • 15+ years teaching experience with children, teenagers, and adults
  • Showing in Eventing at the Preliminary/CCI** Level
  • Certification and experience working with children on the autism spectrum
  • BS degree in Psychology from Brigham Young University

Mackenzie concentrates on teaching correct equitation and proper horsemanship to all her riders to create a well-rounded equestrian education.

Katie Lorenzen

Katie became enchanted with horses with her first lesson in Upstate New York at age 5. Much of her early experience was with Pony Club, and she has achieved her C3 rating and competed at Pony Club Championships. She discovered what a joy it is to teach others and build confidence with beginner riders! Katie has competed up to the CCI** level in Eventing and has brought up young OTTBs. In addition to her equestrian endeavors, Katie works as a Veterinary Technician for small animals and at the Equine Medical Center at Morven Park.

Nancy Smith

Nancy started riding as a child in Rochester, New York and competed in hunt seat equitation and show jumping through her high school years. Nancy completed two years in the Equestrian Studies program at William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri before transferring and finishing a degree in business management. Nancy started her first riding school in Kingwood, Texas that focused on beginner and intermediate English lessons and camps. This began a 30-year career of training riders in establishing a secure seat and sound fundamentals in safe and enjoyable horsemanship. Her husband’s work transfer in 2000 brought her to Northern Virginia where she founded Twin Oaks Riding Academy. Nancy sold the academy to Mackenzie in 2015 before moving to Texas for another job transfer. Nancy returned to Virginia in 2018 after her husband retired and she has been teaching at Twin Oaks ever since. Nancy is particularly effective at helping riders correct problems in their position and technique and is driven by a love of the sport and a desire to help riders enjoy it also. “Every time I walk into the arena, I am filled with a particular happiness that no other activity can provide”, she says.

Susan Smircina
Camp Director

Susan began riding at a young age and has been riding and working at Twin Oaks for over 15 years. She is an integral part of our Summer Camp program and serves as the head camp instructor. Susan is also a dog trainer with Sit Means Sit Training!

Our Horses


I am an aged Pony of the Americas who 13 hands tall. Check out my awesome color pattern, especially on my backside! I have been a lesson horse for a very long time and a great teacher for beginner riders. My talents include finding food, teaching riders to be assertive, and keeping my stall tidy.


I’m a Connemara and a great teacher for riders learning to trot and canter. I’m 15 hands and have a nice, thick tail. I’m pretty easy going and friendly! When I get bored I paw at the ground to get your attention.


I’m an Appendix and a great teacher for riders of all levels. Sometimes they call me “Saint Joseph”. I’m a really chill dude and am happy to go along as you learn! I like my friend Oliver.


I am an off-track Thoroughbred. Even though I raced, I’m super calm and love my new job! I am ridden by all sorts of riders and like going on trail rides, jumping, and going cross country.


I raced for the first few years of my life, then became a good Eventer, and now I’m on my third career teaching riders of all levels! I am a good jumper and especially like cross country. I am the boss of my field and keep everyone in line.


I am a tall bay Thoroughbred with really nice gaits. I am great for learning to trot and canter and I take care of my riders. I can be a little grumpy on the ground but I’m very patient for riders who are learning. I really like being with my friends and get lonely if I am by myself.


I’m a chestnut Morgan/Quarter Horse gelding. I am really friendly and laid back! I’m very social and like to be with my friends. I have smooth gaits and riders feel very comfortable on me, and I love being at Twin Oaks!


I’m a 14.2 hand Morgan with a lot of dressage and jumping experience. I’m a little bouncy but like teaching all types of riders!


I’m a black draft cross with big feet and a big head. I’m learning how to be a good lesson horse and think that jumping is pretty fun! Sometimes people tell me I’m too friendly, but I just like to be with people! I also bang my door for food or when I want to be let out.