Management & Board

joell-front pageJoell Dunlap, Square Peg founder/Registered Behavioral Technician, has taught hundreds of students to ride. An equestrienne since childhood, she has participated in many different disciplines including racing, polo, hunting, jumping, three-day eventing and reining. Joell has worked professionally in many facets of the equestrian industry including racing, marketing, special events, and breaking and training of young horses, in addition to teaching.

However, Joell has always been passionate about changing the way people teach and is an advocate for alternative education. Joell has been published nationally in equestrian publications regarding a gentler and more creative approach to teaching students and training horses.

Since she started working with developmentally challenged children, Joell has been developing a unique teaching method which resonates. Her philosophy of “Inspire, Guide, Challenge” and her sensitive style of instruction have helped hundreds of students to achieve important goals.

Darius Christopher Dunlap is Square Peg’s co-founder and Joell’s husband. He is a veteran of four high-tech firms, including 13 years at Silicon Graphics in services and support. Darius has managed large teams, ran multi-million dollar operations, and developed and run programs with global reach. He’s adept at building sustainable businesses and replicating successful programs and ideas into new environments.

Lauren Nenning, Square Peg staff, has been riding with Joell since 2000—longer than Square Peg has been around. During this time she has had the opportunity to explore many aspects of the horse world- from retraining OTTBs to playing a few polo chukars to back riding in the costal hills. After receiving her B.S. in Health Education in 2012, Lauren joined the Square Peg Staff full time. In 2014 Lauren became a Peace Corps Volunteer and moved to South Africa to serve as an HIV outreach worker for 2 years. Now back in the States, Lauren is once again working at Square Peg—teaching kids, training horses, and riding her favorite grey pony Cecil. Her relaxed, kind, considerate and conversational style help her create a super rapport with both kiddos and horses. Lauren manages the Half Moon Bay scheduling, billing, and Ebay account, email her at

Becca Knopf, Square Peg staff, was that horse girl as kid—luckily for her, she found a career in the industry after graduating with a degree in equine business management from Otterbein University in Ohio. Becca participated in 4H with her horse Danny Boy growing up and rode for all three of her university’s equestrian teams. She has been a Certified Horsemanship Association riding instructor since 2012. Since becoming an instructor at Square Peg foundation in 2015 she has helped the program grow in Half Moon Bay and to it’s new satellite location at Cadence Farm in Sonoma. Becca finds joy and success in her work with the kids and retired racehorses by gaining trust through silliness, kindness, and genuine interest in their passions. A native of San Rafael, Becca will dress up in a tutu, T. Rex, or donkey costume to earn giggles from the kids or parishioners during the annual Christmas pageant at her parent’s church. Ask her questions about horse anatomy or the Harry Potter books at your own risk. Becca manages the Cadence Farm location in Sonoma, email her at

Samantha(Sam/Sammy) Tucker, Square Peg Staff, joined team quirky in summer of 2017. Sam grew up riding, competing and horsing around with friends doing rodeo drill team, barrel racing, and gymkhana. After receiving her masters in Marriage and Family Therapy with a focus in Art Therapy in 2014 from Notre Dame de Namur University, Sam is thrilled to finally find a place where work is also play. With extensive horsemanship and art therapy knowledge and experience you will find Sam around the barn mentoring, riding and drawing with all our square peg family. Lets not forget to mention she’s 6 feet tall with a sense of humor to match! You can contact Sammy at