To provide opportunities for individuals and families to engage, learn, and thrive outside of the classroom and traditional therapeutic environments by practicing equine-facilitated activities and psychotherapy, regardless of their ability to pay.
Abigail Hornik, Founder & Director
She hails from New York City where she had a career in online advertising and marketing. Abigail came to Montana in 2001 to breed Spanish Mustangs and work with children on the Blackfeet Reservation. A year later, she met her husband, a native Montanan. For 8 years, she owned and designed for her high end home accessories company, WesternWare Goods with an equine theme appearing in the majority of her product line. She closed the company in 2013. In 2014, she returned to her original passion and belief that horses are remarkable creatures and make amazing partners in healing and improving people’s lives. She pursued and earned both her EAGALA certification and has her PATH International certification as a Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Specialist in Mental Health. Abigail owns two horses and loves to do dressage in her free time.
Kelly Melius, Specialized Education Professional
Kelly has been key in developing our programming for our clientele with autism and learning differences. She is a Licensed and Certified PLAY (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) Project and Autism Specialist. Kelly has over 15 years experience working with individuals diagnosed with Autism and other special needs. She is a certified EAGALA specialized professional and has a passion for supporting children and adults on the autism spectrum to reach their fullest potential.
Carolyn Yegen, M.Ed School Counseling
Carolyn Yegen earned her Masters of Education in School Counseling from Montana State University-Billings in 2005. Before retiring in 2019 from her position as an elementary school counselor, she facilitated small group counseling sessions and provided one-on-one support for k-5th grade students. Additionally, Carolyn taught an average of 350 students during weekly classroom lessons on social, emotional, and behavioral skills such as anger management, problem solving, friendship skills, and empathy. We are honored to have her as a teacher and co-facilitator for our new Leadership Development class! Carolyn believes in educating all students with a common language to advocate for themselves and articulate their mental health needs. Her work to help students cope with their problems earned her the 2018 Montana School Counselor of the Year Award.
Kyane Wear, LCSW
Kyane graduated from Montana State University, Billings in 2000 with a BS in Psychology, and Walla Walla University, Billings in 2004 with her Masters in Clinical Social Work. She has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2010. She has gained her experience through providing case management services, individual, group and family therapy at mental health agencies in the Billings and surrounding areas. She branched out into private practice in 2015 and joined Chinook Horses as a co-facilitator in January 2016. She is a certified EAGALA mental health practitioner. Her experience and supplemental training has primarily focused on working with youth and families addressing concerns with Depression, Mood Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Oppositional Defiance, Impulse Control Disorders and parenting concerns. After experiencing first hand the power in Equine Assisted Therapy she is expanding her training in this area. The basis of her therapeutic approach is Person-Centered and Strength Based, however, she makes adjustments along the way to meet the needs of the individual(s) and families she is working with. Her overall goal is to help people reach their full potential and be the happiest and healthiest person they can be. She often tries to set goals and expectations high for clients, but never higher than she truly believes they can achieve.
After spending 10+ years in the heart of Denver, Colorado inspiring solutions for some of the world’s most iconic brands, Haley hung up her corporate shoes, slipped on her cowgirl boots, and got back to her roots. Having been around horses her whole life, Haley truly believes horses are full of intuitive wisdom, with the ability to present awareness to a person that is often not only insightful but in many cases transformative. With this understanding, she pursued her EAGALA certification and will graduate this December from one of the most elite 2-year certification programs to become an Equine Gestalt Coach. Haley is a powerful intuitive, and combined with the deep sensitivity of her horse partners, creates a spectacular container for deep healing.
Kendyl Robertson - AmeriCorps VISTA
Kendyl Robertson, originally from Asheville, NC, graduated from Mars Hill University in May 2020 with a Bachelor of Music in Performance. She is serving Chinook Horses as an AmeriCorps VISTA this year, and she is thrilled to be here! Prior to her service, Kendyl spent much of her time outside of the classroom teaching and working with middle and high school musicians, and volunteering at a nonprofit in Asheville that provides services to children on the autism spectrum and their families. She looks forward to engaging with a new community and increasing access to services while serving at Chinook Horses. Kendyl has always had a love for horses and recalls many horseback riding trips with her friends throughout her childhood.
Board of Directors
- Abigail Hornik, Executive Director, PATH Certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, PATH Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor, EAGALA Certified
- Kelly Melius, President, Licensed and Certified PLAY Project Consultant
- Martha Fuller, Vice President, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Montana
- Abby Reno, Secretary, Proprietor, City Vineyard
- Margarita A. Sparboe, Board Member, Business Owner, Grandparent
- Kayla Myers, Board Member
- Kristi Hostetler, Board Member