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Taking Action. Making Connections. Changing Lives.

Our Team

Saratoga Springs, NY


Executive Director

Allison Cherkosly, Ph.D.


Allison Cherkosly, Saratoga WarHorse’s Executive Director, served in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from 2009-2010. She worked with the local governments and civilians to build infrastructure, governance, and education in eastern Afghan provinces. She translated her experience in the military into a successful 10+ year career in the nonprofit sector. Allison’s experience in the nonprofit sector has focused on fundraising and organizational management.

Allison teaches Nonprofit Fund Development and Grant-Writing as part of the Nonprofit Management graduate program at the State University of New York at Albany, from where she also earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy and Leadership Studies. She has conducted research on the motivations of high-level donors, and how organizations’ fundraising efforts impact these donors’ giving decisions. Allison also holds an M.B.A. and M.A. in Public Policy.

Allison resides in Saratoga County with her two dogs, Axel Rose and Raja.


Founder and Director of Veteran Program

Bob Nevins


Saratoga WarHorse founder, Bob Nevins, is a Vietnam veteran who understands the difficulties veterans face long after they return home from service; racehorses face a similar transition after their careers end, making it difficult to find a new purpose.

Through Bob’s vision, Saratoga WarHorse is taking action by becoming an integral part of the solution to the growing problem of emotional wounds suffered by military service men and women. It’s an experience that profoundly changes the lives of both our horses and our veterans.

Bob Nevins served in Vietnam as a medevac pilot for the 101st Airborne, wounded in action in 1971. He also served in the NY National Guard. In 2011 Bob retired from his 24-year career as an airline captain to dedicate his efforts full-time to establishing Saratoga WarHorse Foundation.

Articles on Bob: Saratoga Faces: Bob Nevins, 
Flying to the Rescue


Director of Equine Development and Lead Instructor

Melody Squier


Melody Squier, a perpetual student of the horse, developed “Equipoise” natural horsemanship techniques and communication skills to create balance, respect and understanding. Melody is a member of her county Disaster Animal Response Team, Firefighter, Large Animal Technical Rescue team member and an Animal Cruelty Investigator and instructor. The State of Vermont appointed her to the Livestock Care Standard Advisory Council in 2010. Melody has been with the Saratoga WarHorse Foundation since its inception.


Program Coordinator

Janelle Schmidt


Janelle Schmidt has provided administrative and technical support in the business and education sectors for 24-plus years. She is a long-time admirer of horses. She enjoys spending time on the backstretch of the Saratoga Racecourse working with several trainers and volunteering at Old Friends at Cabin Creek Thoroughbred retirement farm. Janelle is responsible for the coordination of veteran and class activity as well as overseeing the general administration of Saratoga WarHorse Foundation.


Database Administrator

Mary Ellis

Mary has nearly twenty years of experience working in business services and accounting for various nonprofits and independent schools. She holds a Master of Arts in Liberal Studies from Skidmore College, a graduate certificate in Pastoral and Spiritual Care from Iliff School of Theology, and a teaching degree from James Madison University.

Apart from working with mission-driven nonprofits, Mary enjoys teaching online courses, outdoor activities, watching sports, reading, and spending time with her family, friends and two dogs. She is immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve on the Saratoga WarHorse team.


Veteran Liaison

Brian Austin

Brian Austin is a Vietnam veteran who served as a Platoon Commander in the 1st Marine Division. He was wounded in action in 1968. Brian is now retired from Verizon Communications and serving as Veteran Liaison for Saratoga WarHorse.


Veteran Liaison

Troy Huggard

Troy Huggard is a Desert Storm veteran who served onboard the USS John F. Kennedy CV-67 and the USS Simon Lake AS-33 from 1989 to 1999. He was injured in 1993. Troy is now a full time student as well as serving as a Veteran Liaison for Saratoga WarHorse.



Sharon Castro

Sharon Castro is a professional horsewoman/photographer. She exercised horses and managed racing stables for leading trainers throughout the East. Sharon brings not only her photography skills to Saratoga WarHorse, but also actively participates in horse acquisitions and training horses for second/third careers.


Aiken, South Carolina


Aiken Program Director

Mary Katherine Philipp


Mary Katherine Philipp is a native of Aiken, SC and has spent most of her life around horses. She has her Doctorate of Medicine from the Medical University of S. C. specializing in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. MK has worked extensively with veterans and did clinical research involving children with Tourette's Syndrome which resulted in several published papers. She feels being part of the Saratoga WarHorse team is an honor and privilege.

Community Development Coordinator, Daria Carney

Daria Carney


Daria Ann Carney is a recent resident of Aiken, SC, having retired from a law career in Maryland two years ago. Daria’s son rode horses for many years and he was in the Army National Guard for seven years, so when she was invited to join the team of Saratoga Warhorse she was thrilled to be able to give back to the two most important parts of her son’s life. Daria brings 20 year’s experience in the business field as vice president of an import/export company and twelve years as an attorney. She is so grateful and honored to be a part of the Saratoga WarHorse team.

Tom Diaz

Veteran Program Liaison - Aiken

Tom Diaz


Tom Diaz served in the U.S. Navy as a Hospital Corpsman for 20 years. He is a 2015 Saratoga WarHorse graduate and currently resides in Aiken, South Carolina with his wife and 8 children. Tom has been with the Saratoga WarHorse team in Aiken as the Director of Veteran Program since the Fall of 2015. Tom brings a wealth of understanding about the challenges experienced by his fellow veterans.

Julie Robins

Program Instructor - Aiken

Julie Robins

Julie is a gifted instructor and a life long horse lover. In 2005, Julie founded Aiken Horsemanship Academy where she shares her methodology through classes, training and lessons. Her mission through AHA is to develop confident riders and well-behaved horses prepared to excel in any discipline.

Julie has worked with Women Beyond Cancer, STAR Therapeutic Riding, Aiken Equine Rescue, and has appeared on HorseCity TV.

Research Coordinator - Aiken

Anne Ellison

Anne Ellison earned her doctoral degree from Northern Arizona University, and spent her career as a professor of psychology. Anne has extensive clinical and research experience studying the effects of traumatic brain injury, violence exposure and neglect and mental health disorders. She is the daughter of a Navy pilot who fought in the WWII l and the sister of a special ops Army Ranger assigned to MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War.

Anne's love of horses began when she was a teenager and continues through her work with veterans attending the Aiken SWH program.


Horse Trainer - Aiken

Caroline Mulstay

Caroline is a compassionate, gifted horse trainer and accomplished Three Day Eventer whose passion is repurposing off-the-track Thoroughbreds. She has a certification in equine bodywork from Prairie Winds Equine College and runs the training and adoption program at the Aiken Equine Rescue. Involvement in Saratoga WarHorse compliments her work with the Aiken Equine Rescue horses and was the obvious next step in her career. Caroline's instructional training and coaching style emphasizes safety and fun in a stair-step format that is easy to follow and practice, and which crosses over into every discipline

Photographer - Aiken

Shelly Marshall Schmidt

Shelly Marshall brings to her work an eye for the heart of a subject and a moment in time. In addition to her sensitive Saratoga WarHorse photography, she has a history with action sports, but also specializes in fine art portraits – equine, canine, and human alike. Her affinity for animals is reciprocal. In the wild or in her face, horses in particular seem to sense a kindred, compassionate, soul.



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