Dr. Erin O’Mahony, PT, DPT
Executive Director, Doctor of Physical Therapy
Manes for Movement was founded in 2018 in Rolling Hills Estates, CA by Dr. Erin O’Mahony, PT, DPT. Erin received her Bachelor’s Degree in Exercise Science from Willamette University in Salem OR, and Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago IL in 2016. Erin has been incorporating Hippotherapy as a treatment tool into her physical therapy practice for 5 years and is sitting for her Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist Exam in August of 2021.
After receiving her Doctorate degree, Erin moved back to the west coast and began her professional life in the South Bay community of Los Angeles County, treating pediatric patients in the outpatient, school based, early intervention, and hippotherapy settings. Having been a horsewoman her entire life, Erin was particularly drawn to hippotherapy- the use of the horse’s movement to help children and adults with neuromuscular dysfunction improve their functional skills.
After a couple of years of practicing in the South Bay community it quickly became apparent to Erin that this highly researched and supported intervention, Hippotherapy, was not easily accessible to the families in need in her community, with the closest therapy facilities offering physical therapy using hippotherapy being 50+ miles away. It was then that Erin discovered the city of Rolling Hills Estates, a community committed to preserving the rural environment and equine lifestyle, and she knew it would be the perfect place to bring Hippotherapy to the South Bay community!
Program Director, Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor
Niki MacLeod grew up exploring the South Bay on horseback, and developed a life-long passion for horses and riding. She has been a part of the equine-assisted therapy community for over 10 years. She has also worked as a trainer in a show barn, teaching riders of all ages and abilities. She began her competitive career as a professional show jumper in 2015. While competing, Niki obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from CSU Dominguez Hills.
Niki’s personal experience with the multitude of benefits that horses can provide led her to complete the process of becoming a PATH certified therapeutic riding instructor. As the Program Director and Adaptive Riding Instructor at Manes for Movement, Niki is committed to providing a safe and fun learning environment for students to attain their goals. She aims to promote inclusivity and assist her students in achieving recognition for their capabilities.
Dr. Liz Pauly, OTD, OTR/L, ATP
Elizabeth Pauly is an Occupational Therapist whose favorite occupations are related to horses! She grew up in Los Angeles and was born into a family with a horse, and spent weekends at the barn with her mom. Liz is a graduate of the University of Southern California, having completed the Bachelor’s to Master’s Progressive Degree program in Occupational Therapy. She elected to complete her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy at USC, focusing on playground design and Assistive Technology (AT). After her residency, she continued her education to expand her knowledge and clinical skills in the area of Ayres Sensory Integration, receiving her SIPT certification in 2016. Liz loves to work on feeding, and is trained in the SOS Approach to Feeding, Beckman Oral Motor Protocol and TalkTools programs. In 2020, she received her RESNA Assistive Technology Professional certification, and has used those skills to develop programs for AT in local school districts. Liz’s clinical experiences led her to connect with Erin, and after shadowing once Liz knew that she was meant to work in hippotherapy and equine assisted therapies, and has taken coursework and mentorship opportunities to learn how to utilize horses in her practice. Liz knows first-hand how therapeutic occupations at the barn can be for people of all ages, and is excited to be able to combine her passion for horses with her clinical expertise to help the families of the South Bay at Manes for Movement!