About Us

MANE & TAILL (Meeting All Needs with Equines & Teaching All Individuals Life Lessons) is a non-profit therapeutic horsemanship academy dedicated to providing educational programs to all people with special needs in northeastern North Carolina. We at MANE & TAILL believe that the power of the horse can change lives.

MANE & TAILL offers a wide range of programs to individuals with psychological, physical, social or emotional disabilities. These programs focus on horseback riding and horsemanship and the lasting benefits they have in the lives of people with special needs.

Programs are offered at the academy’s Currituck and Elizabeth City locations. MANE & TAILL also supports a North Carolina Special Olympics equestrian team and offers Equine Facilitated Learning to adolescents who struggle with social and emotional behavior.  Programs are led by PATH (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) certified instructors as well as compassionate and trained volunteers and therapists.

Our History

Local special education teacher Sam Iulo first began bringing her students to visit the horses on her farm in 2009.  She soon discovered the powerful therapeutic impact these horses had on the students and became a PATH certified instructor and North Carolina Special Olympics coach in 2010. At the same time, a board of caring parents, school therapists and volunteers came together and MANE & TAILL was born.

That same year, MANE & TAILL expanded its offerings to the community and launched an Equine Facilitated Learning program that encourages adolescents to work together as a group, participating in activities with horses that teach them how one’s behavior may affect others around them.

The need for MANE & TAILL programs continued to grow and in 2013, Wendi Nixon, a licensed professional counselor in Elizabeth City, became a PATH certified instructor under MANE & TAILL. Nixon began offering individual lessons and Special Olympics training in Elizabeth City to serve the special needs community in Camden and Pasquotank counties.