Our Staff

It is a unique place to meet physical and social needs that cannot otherwise be duplicated; this includes energetic staff doting over the riders making them feel important and successful while challenging their abilities and limitations.” - Parent Survey 2019

Janet is the executive director of Horse and Buddy. She has been involved with therapeutic riding for over 15 years. Her background is in the corporate world, working for IBM for almost 30 years before leaving in 2016 to run Horse and Buddy full time. She has an MBA from Duke and is a registered PATH instructor. Janet has a 19 year old daughter named Sarah who is in the Navy. Janet also has two horses, 5 dogs and a cat at her farm in Siler City.

Holly is our Program Director. She is an Occupational Therapist, a PATH registered instructor, and a PATH Mentor. Holly earned her BS in OT at Tufts University in Medford , MA. She worked for 10 years in a pediatric rehab hospital in NJ before moving to NC in 1997. Holly has been riding since age 9. She has been with our program since 2002, first as a volunteer and now as Program Director and instructor.  Holly also works part time for a local pediatric therapy practice and sees a few OT clients, doing Hippotherapy, at the barn. She is married to Joe and has 3 daughters (who sometimes volunteer with Horse and Buddy).

Rosa began her time with Horse and Buddy in 2006 as a volunteer. Impressed by the benefits the program provided to the riders, she became a PATH Registered Instructor. By day Rosa is a Healthcare Billing Manager and lives in Durham with her husband, son, and four-legged boys. Rosa enjoys leaving the office behind to be outside and at the barn, bringing her background of working with children and horse experience to the program.
 

Leslie is a licensed Physical Therapist Assistant and a registered PATH instructor. She loves working with children and getting to partner with horses is an extra bonus. She is known for the big smile she always wears. When she's not at the barn, she is trying to keep up with her 5 children, her husband and 2 dogs.

Melissa is a registered PATH instructor. She began volunteering back in 2004 at Horse and Buddy, and fell in love with the program. When she left for college at UNC-Asheville, she found another program in the Asheville area to volunteer with, but missed Horse and Buddy. After graduating, she moved back to the area and returned to Horse and Buddy. She is so glad to be part of the H&B "family", and loves every second with the children! Outside of Horse and Buddy, she spends her free time reading books and working on a research project through which she hopes to have a few articles and perhaps a book published.

Katie is a registered PATH instructor. She started with the program as a volunteer in 2010. She fell in love with therapeutic riding after volunteering for another program while in college. Katie has over 15 years of riding experience including riding on the ECU Equestrian Team and serving as the Team Captain for two years. She lives in Apex with her husband Tim, daughters Olivia and Addison, and two sweet dogs, Gabriella and Lenny.

Laura is a graduate of St. Andrews Presbyterian College in Laurinburg, NC where she achieved a BA in Therapeutic Horsemanship. Laura is also a certified Special Olympics equestrian coach and is a member of the Sports Development team for the equestrian games. Laura grew up with horses and has owned and showed horses for over 15 years. Laura lives in Garner, NC with her husband Hugh, their daughter Makenna, and their 4 dogs. Laura Says " I am so incredibly fortunate to be able to work with such a talented group of instructors and staff members and I look forward to coming to work every day to work with a great group of riders. I am truly blessed."
 

Jessica can't remember a time when she wasn't completely horse crazy. Growing up in a rural area of the northeast, she had the opportunity to begin riding at a very young age. Sadly she outgrew her pony and was never able to continue with her passion until after college, marriage, and 3 children were born. She began riding again after 25 years out of the saddle when her oldest daughter expressed an interest in horse back riding. She then discovered the existence of therapeutic horse back riding and equine assisted therapy while pursuing her masters degree in psychology. She learned about the therapeutic riding program at Horse & Buddy and began volunteering in May 2011. It didn't take long before she made the decision to become a PATH Int. Instructor. It was a natural career progression and perfect combination of her passion for horses and education in psychology.

Kate joined Horse and Buddy as a volunteer in 2010. The riders’ smiles each week compelled her to become a registered PATH instructor. She is truly honored to be able to work with such outstanding riders, volunteers, horses and staff. Kate started taking riding lessons when she was five because she wanted to go on trail rides with her mother whose multiple sclerosis never deterred her from following her dream of riding horses. In the past 30 years she is grateful to have experienced a wide variety of riding disciplines – three day eventing, team penning, polo, fox hunting, reining, huntseat and western horsemanship, competing at the national level. In college she competed on the riding team where she served as co-captain for 3 years.  Kate and her husband have two little girls. Kate has a BA in Psychology from the State University of NY at Geneseo and a Masters in Human Resources from Cornell University.

Nicky joined Horse and Buddy as a volunteer with the desire to become involved with horses again after a long break. Working with the riders soon became very fulfilling for Nicky, and with that passion she took the next step and qualified as a registered PATH instructor in May 2018. “Horse and Buddy is MY happiest place on earth! The pleasure and purpose I have from working with these amazing riders, horses, staff and volunteers is indescribable!”. Nicky started riding when she was 10, and subsequently had her own horse for 5 years before she went to college. Nicky now leases a horse and enjoys riding in her spare time. Nicky grew up in Zimbabwe, Africa and moved to the USA in 2000. She graduated from the Gloucestershire College of Arts and Technology in England, with a degree in the Management of Hotel, Catering and Institutional Operations. Currently, she also runs a Logistics business within the clinical trials industry and also organizes meetings within the USA and internationally for Clinical Research Organizations. She lives in Cary with her husband Adam, has 3 children, a dog and a cat.

Keith is a long-time volunteer at Horse and Buddy and resident of the triangle since 2000.  In addition to his Farm Manager role at H&B, Keith is a full-time real estate broker who helps clients buy and sell homes and land throughout the triangle.  In real estate as in all things, Keith enjoys being of service to others, and making things work, work well, and keep working.  It's his personal trademark.  Keith also has over 30 years experience in networking technology where he has held many technical and leadership roles including over 21 years at Cisco Systems.  Keith's early technology career took him to California where he sought out the mentorship of responsible horsepersons who introduced him to many equestrian disciplines, with trail riding and horse camping being his favorites.  

Laura is our nighttime feeder at Horse and Buddy!  She rode horses from age 7 to 18 but stopped while she worked toward her BS in Psychology at UNC Chapel Hill. She started as a frequent volunteer at Horse & Buddy in January 2017, and now she’s at the barn any chance she gets. She completed her PATH ESMHL (Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning) certification in June 2019. When Laura isn’t at the barn, she is usually at her “real job” in research coordination at UNC Chapel Hill or at home with her dog, Maddie. Laura R also goes by “Thing 2” to avoid confusion with Laura L, the instructor. 

Lauren is one of our two Volunteer Coordinators!  She comes to Horse & Buddy with a diverse background. She earned her Masters degree in Art Therapy from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY, and is a board certified, registered Art Therapist. Over the years, Lauren has worked in varying capacities with hospitalized children, children in the foster care system in New Jersey, adolescents struggling with substance abuse issues, and adult psychiatric patients living in state care. Along with those accomplishments, Lauren also holds a certificate in Volunteer Management from Rutgers University. She was the Director of Volunteers for Meals On Wheels of Rockland, and Director of Community Resources at YCS, where she had the privilege of working with both corporate and private sector volunteers. Lauren lives in Fuquay-Varina with her husband Peter of 22 years and her two young boys Graham and Wes.

Daria began volunteering at Horse and Buddy at the age of 14 with no previous horse experience.  She fell in love with the horses, as well as the program and began taking riding lessons a month later.  Over the past 8 years Daria has continued her own riding as well as volunteering at Horse and Buddy.  This past June, Daria received her certification to teach therapeutic riding lessons.   Daria has a Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and plans to pursue her Bachelors Degree and teaching license.  Daria is also currently a teachers assistant at a local elementary school.  She is super excited to be part of the team at Horse and Buddy!

Steven is one of our two Volunteer Coordinators and the newest member of the team! He comes to Horse and Buddy after 21 years in the US Army. Retiring from Fort Bragg, NC as a Chief Warrant Officer he is currently pursuing various avenues of community service. Steven is an EMT working with his local Emergency Service Organization and volunteers to help homeless individuals get medical attention with Operation Inasmuch in Fayetteville, NC. His love of animals stems from Kristen, his wife of 18 years, and her profession as a zookeeper and research assistant. They live in Sanford with their three children Haven, Abigail, and Nathaniel.

Horse and Buddy Therapeutic Riding Program

Mailing Address: PO Box 675 Apex, NC 27502

Physical Address: 4728 Old US Hwy 1, New Hill, NC 27562

Phone: 919-367-7740

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