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Horse Legs



 Founder & Executive Director

Dawn Samuelson is the founder and Executive Director of N.E.I.G.H. She brings a lifetime of experiences and knowledge that have culminated in her unique ability to truly change the lives of those who come into the program, horse and human.

Born into a service-oriented family in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, Dawn’s mother was a nurse and her father was a police officer. Tragically, she lost her mother at a young age. Then, in the 1970’s during a time with different expectations, her father underwent a gender change and retired from the police force as a woman.

Dawn turned to horses for comfort and support as she navigated through her childhood and into adulthood. They provided not only personal strength, but defined her calling. 


She graduated with an A.A.S. in Animal Husbandry from the State University of New York at Alfred, and then with a B.S. in Animal Science in Colorado State University. She became certified as an Equine Behavior Specialist, and has a unique gift in helping “problem” horses. She has never stopped learning, earning certifications through: Parelli Natural Horsemanship; John Lyons Horsemanship; the National Mounted Police Training; O.K. Corral’s Equine Assisted Learning/Equine Assisted Psychotherapy; EAGALA; and as an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning through PATH Intl.


Continuing in the steps of her service-oriented family, Dawn also became a volunteer firefighter, and has been serving in New York State for 30 years. She is certified as an EMT, and currently works within the Mobile Crisis Unit. She has received training in many trauma-informed interventions, from suicide and child abuse to PTSD and reintegration challenges for military servicemembers. She is a member of the Chautauqua County Suicide Alliance and the Chautauqua County Youth Advisory Committee.

Dawn’s sister, Constance, also maintained the tradition, joining and serving in the U.S. Air Force for 4 years. She lost her life to suicide at the age of 25.

Still reeling from the loss of her sister, Dawn’s son, Ryan, underwent four organ transplants over the course of ten years. Simultaneously, she was diagnosed with a brain tumor herself. As Ryan was in the hospital awaiting his last transplant, Dawn underwent brain surgery.

Now that both Ryan and Dawn are recovered and in remission, she is working to create meaning from her own loss and struggles. Dawn has vowed to help military and first-responders who are struggling, in the same way that has helped her: through horses. Investing herself in growing The N.E.I.G.H. to reach those in need, it is her mission to give back. 
To give back as a way to honor the memory of her sister.
To give back as a way of saying thank you to everyone who has supported her and her family.
To give back as a way to share the resilience and strength horses bring into our lives.

The NEIGH has been featured on the Military Makeover with Montel Williams on Lifetime TV. Dawn has been featured in Country Woman Magazine; as a national clinician presenting at Equine Affaire (Ohio/Mass), Can-Am Expo, and Certified Horsemanship events. She is the author and illustrator of Emotional Coat ™ as well as the owner of Grandview Farm Training Academy, a boarding and training stable in business for more than 20 years.


 Board Member & Equine Facilitator

Kimberly Warner is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of New York as well as a Credentialed  Alcoholism and Substance Abuse trained counselor, and has 8 years of experience as a clinician and a supervisor in the field of chemical dependency.  Kim also has credentials as a trauma certified therapist with use of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) for three years.  Kim holds certifications in Equine Assisted Learning and Psychotherapy through the O.K. CORRAL as well as gaining a certification in PATHS International, ESMHL certification this fall.  Kim has a passion to give back to the veterans and works and volunteers for several organizations such as T.A.P.S. out of Arlington, Virginia as a Peer Mentor and Care Group Facilitator.


Kim is opening her own PLLC, private practice, to serve others who are dealing with challenges such as PTSD, depression, grief/loss, anxiety, and adjustment conditions.  Kim is also a Gold Star Wife, and she spends her time volunteering for organizations in order to pay it forward and help those who have served our country.  Kim’s personal life experiences of being a caregiver of a war veteran, allows her to understand concerns the veteran and caregiver(s) are dealing with when working through their own trauma/loss and/or secondary trauma, and has given her a better understanding of how to help others.

Equine Facilitator


Certified Equine Behavior Specialist & Vice President

meghan Spicola.jpg


Alongside being a mom to two young children, Meghan is combining her love of horses, art and caregiving into the equine therapy program with The NEIGH. She spent most of her early years working and training in assisted nursing while attending college for art therapy. While life happens and priorities shift, what was put off was then ignited when she met Dawn at a Woman’s Empowerment group that she was hosting. Since then, Meghan has been eager to learn and absorb what she can about Equine Assisted Therapy world. She has been certified in Individual and Group Crisis and trauma care and working towards a Peer Service certificate. Meghan has recently been certified in Equine Expressive Arts and will be integrating this in our NEIGH program.

Taylor has been actively involved in the development and administration of the N.E.I.G.H program since its beginning and is a certified facilitator of the Emotional Coat Model. After her experiences with N.E.I.G.H, she recognized the significance of mental health and the astounding effect Equine Assisted Therapy has on the people who experience it.


Taylor attended the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and minored in Spanish. She found her passion for working in crisis services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and is currently positioned as a peer on the Chautauqua County Mobile Crisis Team. She recently participated in the Citizen Police Academy with the Jamestown Police Department which ignited her interest in the intersections of law enforcement and social work. Taylor returned to the University of Pittsburgh to pursue her Master’s degree in Social Work and will join the clinical staff with N.E.I.G.H. after obtaining her licensure. 


Certified Equine Behavior Specialist

Tyler is a certified high school mathematics teacher. Currently he is teaching high school level mathematics in an online setting. Teaching has been a life changing experience. Being exposed to at risk youth through his teaching experience has been every impactful and has led to a desire to improve the lives of students outside of the traditional classroom. 

Tyler has been certified as a facilitator in the N.E.I.G.H. program. His facilitator role helps combine two of his passions: teaching and horses. After witnessing the positive impact fist-hand, he believes that equine therapy is a great resource for children of any age. 


Equine Facilitator

Mike is a retired Police Lieutenant, range instructor and member of SWAT. Mike has been a great help as a N.E.I.G.H equine facilitator at our events.  



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