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Our Human and Equine Team

Donna Lombardi

Donna Lombardi is an AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) Professional Horseman, with over 35 years of experience training, riding, and working with horses. Donna has managed barns with over 40 horses, and has devoted her life to nurturing and taking care of her horses.

Her love and care for the horses has been the driving force of her success in the many competitions she has won, including winning Top Ten Riders 29 times as well as many other championships.  Donnas has built a career teaching, training and coaching people on interaction with horses, and has developed high standards and a strong emphasis on natural horsemanship.

Donna teaches with relaxed and professional atmosphere. Her students have been champions and top ten at the Quarter Horse Congress, qualified for the Congress youth team, youth world championship and multiple circuit championships.

As part of her ongoing learning, she has studied “The power of the herd” theory and “Touched By a Horse” Soulfulness Theory. Donna continues to study “Healing with Horses in Treatment of Trauma”, and has thousands of hours of experience working with kids and adults to develop their personal growth through their interaction with horses.


Donna is Certified as a Safe Sport Coach, IEA Coach, Concussion & Safety Certified, and an American Certified Riding Instructor.

David (Dave) Seeley

Dave Seeley has been teaching horsemanship and showing courses for nearly 20 years. When Dave teaches, he emphasizes the partnership between the horse and the rider. and practices natural horsemanship. After a successful horse show career, Dave enjoys spending his time focusing on building a strong positive relationship between young horses and humans, as well as regaining trust from aged horses. 


Dave and Dusty

Ashley Vandenberg

Ashley has been working with horses for 20+ years and enjoys showing horses. She works with horses in ground work and riding skills. Ashley's primarily role is to prepare everything for a successful event: getting the horses ready and setting up the arena. This is Ashley's first year as a part of the equine assisted learning, therapy and corporate workshops. Ashley enjoys taking part in the process and observing the increase in participants' self awareness, improvement in their mood, and developing managerial skills in the participants.


Ashley and her horse KC

Alexandra (Alex) Danieli

Alex is a big horse lover! During the week she is a high school student at Saddle River Day School, while on the weekends she assists the team with taking care of the horses (brushing, feeding and playing with them), as well as educating participants in the horses' non-verbal cues and communications. She participated in equine assisted learning workshop in Costa Rica and is planning to study psychology as her future career. In her school Alex initiated and implemented Mental Health Talks - a series of professional speakers who addressed various mental health topics that are relevant to adolescents and promote peer to peer support. 


Alex with Hope and Play Days 


Imagine wise man who possesses the most understating gaze peering from his bottomless eyes. This is the personality and the feeling provided by Dusty. A Brown Quarter horse approaching his 20th birthday, Dusty shines in the herd and is one of the leaders among his herd in building equine-human connections. Dusty loves carrots and does not care for apples.

For over 15 years Dusty has been a strong foundation of our team. He left behind a successful career as “TTC top 10 horse of the year”, and has won multiple championships and year awards. Today Dusty is retired from his successful horse show career, and keeps demonstrating himself as an extremely valuable leader and teacher to humans who visit the farm for their equine connection.  


Dusty - the ultimate healer


RL is the epitome of the cool guy, a great listener that just doesn’t engage in a small talk, but when he has something to say – his words are golden and everybody pays attention. We noticed that RL’s most outstanding ability is his eagerness to teach humans the most accurate level of boundaries and communications.

RL has been part of Dona and Dave’s team his entire life. During his career, he excels in Western Pleasure and Trail rides.  RL has been named “TTC horse of the year” three times. Not surprisingly, he was also awarded both a Halter and Performance register of Merit at the highest level of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). RL continues to be shown, adding to his circuit and year championships.


RL during the workshop


He fits his name! Tall, powerful and balanced, Master is indeed mastering the art of teaching humans by being the perfect follower, and pushing his human students to reach for the stars. Prior to arriving in January 2021 to Whispering Pines farm, Master was owned and loved by a family who wanted him to continue interacting and teaching humans under the care of Donna and Dave. In his early horse career, he used to be a race horse, so watch out if you are trying to complete. Master loves carrots!  




When you arrive at the farm it’s impossible to overlook the impressive silhouette of this gentle giant. Powerful and elegant Dalton is the watcher for the entire herd, he constantly positions himself at the location where he can observe the activity in all the arenas, and alert if needed. His personality as an, affectionate strong being comes across in his choices of humans to work with.

Dalton has a very impressive horse career and continues to qualify and be invited and shown at the American Quarter Horses Association (AQHA) World Championship every year since he was four years old. Nine times he has been AQHA “Top ten horse” in the nation; three times Reserve Champion Horse in The Nation horse show, twice Top Ten world champion and twice Congress Reserve Champion. Dalton holds a lifetime honor from the American Quarter Horse Association as an AQHA champion and Earner of two superior event horse titles. 


Dalton participates in a workshop


Kota will remind you of the young guy who has it all: smart beyond his years, curious about the world, good looking and has a heart of gold. Kota is young and powerful, interested in learning about humans and has a lot to offer them as a teacher. He’s typically the first to select a human from the crowd to interact with, as well as the first to come and ask to be fed carrots. He always remains calm and steady. Kota loves apples and carrots!

Kota has been with Donna and Dave his entire life. He was raised by the Monarch of the herd, Dakota, who passed away due to old age in the summer of 2020. With Dakota passing, Kota found himself to be the balance and referee of the herd. He is in the start of a very promising horse show career and made American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) “Top two hundred horse best” as a three-year old (basically a toddler!)


Kota, the handsome guy


Snow is the new kid on the block. He joined our equine team in March 2021 and immediately jumped into the role of a mentor with humans who participated in the management workshop.  It seems that Snow had some struggles in his life, but was able to overcome them. His “professional” horse career is not as shiny as other equine partners at the farm, but he always succeeds in getting humans to trust him and teaches humans to trust him. Snow proved himself as an extremely valuable team member with a soul as pure as his all-white color.


Snow during his first workshop

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