Our Staff

The staff always works at the right level for my child, challenging at times and not at other.
” - Parent Survey 2020

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Janet is the executive director of Horse and Buddy. She has been involved with therapeutic riding for almost 20 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 BS in Computer Science and an MBA from Duke.  Janet lives on her farm in Siler City with her three horses, 2 miniature donkeys, 4 dogs and 2 cats. In her spare time, she likes to work on her farm and drive her tractor.  

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.

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."

Kate joined Horse and Buddy as a volunteer in 2010. The riders’ smiles each week compelled her to become a PATH certified instructor. 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 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.  She’s experienced the special connection between horse and human and wants to share that with others.  When Kate learned of the benefits of Equine Assisted Learning (EAL) and Equine Facilitated Psychotherapy (EFP) she quickly obtained her certification as a Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. The Equine Specialist role seemed like a perfect fit with her background in psychology and 15+ years working in corporate HR and as an HR Consultant. Kate holds a BA in Psychology with a minor in Occupational Behavior from the State University of NY at Geneseo and a Masters in Human Resources from Cornell University. Her certifications include CTRI, ESMHL, SPHR, SHRM-SCP. Kate lives in Cary with her husband, two girls and sweet dog, Snowflake. On the weekends when she's not at Horse & Buddy they can be found hiking the many trails in the area.


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.  

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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. 

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Lauren is our Volunteer Coordinator. 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.

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Christie came to Horse and Buddy as a volunteer in the fall of 2013. Having had a horse growing up, she has always known the physical and spiritual beauty of these animals. After a long break, the space where so much life happens, she found Horse and Buddy on the back of a T-Shirt at a park, investigated, and found a home . . . a place where so many good people work very hard to make these special animals available to all. She is very grateful to be a part of this community. Christie lives in Raleigh with her husband Joe and hound dog Daisy.

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Horse & Buddy’s mission of enhancing the lives of children and adults with special needs drew Barbara to the program in 2018 as a volunteer. Having seen and experienced the healing power of horses in countless ways, she considers herself fortunate to have landed at Horse & Buddy where the impact of service can be readily seen and felt. Now working as an ESHML, she is proud to be part of a team creating a space and environment where clients’ everyday cares and worries can be left at the front gate. She is passionate about lifelong learning, cross-cultural experiences, and activities that promote camaraderie and wellness in a busy world. Barbara holds a Master of Science in Information Science and Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a librarian in the North Carolina Collection at Durham County Library and lives with her husband, son, and green-cheeked conure in Chapel Hill.