Joanne L. Belasco, Esq. founder of Windhorse Legal, PLLC, created this equine law website specifically to provide clients with legal services concerning horses and the horse industry. Jo has a unique combination of legal qualifications, work experience, and equine industry involvement as a horse professional.
Jo graduated from Suffolk University School of Law in 1993, and from Boston College magna cum laude with a BA in Psychology in 1990. She has been a member of the Massachusetts bar since 1993. Jo’s legal experience includes litigation work as a staff attorney for the Boston Police Department’s Office of the Legal Advisor. During that time, she successfully argued a case before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. When she left the Department, Police Commissioner Paul F. Evans personally awarded Jo the Boston Police Department Distinguished Service Award. Jo also worked as a legal writer and editor at Quinlan Publishing, where she wrote “The Internal Affairs Handbook,” and at LexisNexis, which provides computer-assisted legal research.
Jo’s professional horse experience began in 2001, managing an eventing barn office in Massachusetts. Later that same year, she relocated to the Western US and began developing a variety of programs involving horses through her work with the non-profit organization Tapestry Institute, of which she is currently President. Her activities included: establishing equine educational programs funded by Pierce Brosnan and Dean Koontz, among others; organizing conferences with presenters such as Marj Kittredge, founder of the therapeutic riding movement; and developing a mindfulness-based horse workshop structured within Native worldview that was offered to adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse through the WINGS Foundation of Denver. Starting in 2008, Jo offered riding instruction and horse training. She worked as a resident horse professional and conducted national seminars and clinics throughout the West. She gave talks and workshops at venues such as the Rocky Mountain Horse Expo, and she produced an instructional DVD for fearful riders.
Jo has owned and ridden horses since she was seven years old and currently owns a number of horses she enjoys personally and uses in educational programs and workshops. She has shown in dressage competitions and, as a child, in 4-H. She trained for five years with advanced-level eventing rider Adrienne Iorio in Millis, Massachusetts. She is a lifelong animal lover and has shared her life with dogs, rabbits, cats, birds, buffalo, and goats (dairy and fiber). She has worked in the horse rescue community and has been a wild Mustang advocate since 2001.