Amanda Neal

Amanda Neal

Riding Instructor

“I love working with children and I love working with horses.  Getting to combine the two is truly special to me.  Horses are not only beautiful and majestic to us; they are a living, breathing tool of learning and personal growth that spans all ages.  When I have had the difficult task of saying goodbye to a horse, I’ve always whispered the same thing- “Thank you for making dreams come true.“” ~ Amanda

Amanda joined the team at Nickajack Farms in early 2016, excited to get back to teaching after taking some time off to be home with her young children.

Amanda has been riding horses for 25 years and began teaching riding lessons in 2006.  In 2007 she graduated with a Bachelors of the Arts in Equine Facility Management from Otterbein University.  During her time at Otterbein, she worked at a Standardbred breeding facility, assisting mares in the foaling process, and working directly with the newborn foals.

After graduating from Otterbein, Amanda worked for three years with children ranging from Pre-K through 5th grade , teaching in Columbus Public Schools, and at Rivertree Christian School.  In 2014, she became the Equestrian Director for one of the largest YMCA Equestrian Programs nationwide at Camp Kern near Cincinnati, Ohio.  As the Equestrian Director, she managed all aspects of a program with over 80 horses, 70 regular lesson students and 500+ seasonal riders.  She was also responsible for training the horses in the program, maintaining their health, and managing the staff.

Amanda rides and teaches both English and Western disciplines.  Her first horse was a paint/warmblood cross, and Amanda currently owns a large Clydesdale cross.  Amanda’s favorite thing about working at Nickajack is that it doesn’t feel like work!  She loves sharing her passion for and knowledge of horses with kids as young as three years old… and grown-ups too!


  • Over 25 years of horsemanship
  • 2-3 years of training horses
  • Over 10 years of giving lessons
  • Equestrian Director for YMCA at Camp Kern


  • Bachelors of the Arts in Equine Facility Management
  • Studied under Olympian trainer Bruce Mandeville

Various Breeds included

  • Standardbred, Thoroughbred, Paint, Appaloosa, Morgan, Clydesdale and Tennessee Walker

Disciplines/Sub Disciplines

  • Trail Riding, English and Western


  • Otterbein’s 2003/2004 Freshman of the year
  • Graduated in 2007 on the Dean’s list and with honors