Leah Leising Recipient of the 2008 Brooks Patterson Community Leadership Award
The theme for this award is “People Are Our Greatest Resource”. In this spirit, we present the Brooks Patterson Community Leadership Award for the Year 2008 to:
For Outstanding Leadership and Years of Dedicated Service in Planning and Development for the Equestrian Community In Cattaraugus County
Leah has been involved in the western New York equestrian community and has owned and cared for her own horses for over 43 years.
Cattaraugus/Chautauqua Chapter of the NYS Horse Council – Leah was very instrumental in the creation of this two-county chapter of the NYS Horse Council and is a charter member. She has held the positions of Treasurer and President and is currently Secretary and Newsletter Editor. The Chapter currently has over 100 members and its goal is to spread the word about equine activities in the two county area. Accomplishments of the Chapter under Leah’s leadership are:
Pine Hill/South Valley Stateland Horse Trails, Parking/Camping Area – Leah took the lead in securing for the local Chapter of the Horse Council, an Adopt-A-Resource Agreement with the NYSDEC for the Pine Hill/South Valley Stateland, where the Chapter has put in over 20 miles of multi-use trails. She also wrote the grant application, which secured a $29,000 Grant from the NYS Horse Council that was used to put in a parking/camping area at Pine Hill so that people can park and camp safely. Leah states, “The trails are beautiful and we work hard to keep them that way – clearing and cleaning”.
Horse Camp Area and Horse Trails in Allegany State Park – The Chapter members spend time each year helping to clean up the Horse Camp Area and the horse trails in the Park with several other horse groups. The Chapter has held trail rides to raise money to help improve the Horse Camp Area and recently bought fire rings for all 12 campsites.
NYS Horse Council Annual Meeting – The Chapter hosted the 2005 NYS Horse Council Annual Meeting at the Elkdale Country Club – the first time in many years that the meeting was held in Western NY. We organized several trail riding experiences during this time to showcase Cattaraugus County and several members from other parts of the State came to ride our trials. Our Chapter is considered one of the most active in the State.
Grant of $8,000 from the NYS Horse Council – Used to improve trails in Chautauqua County in collaboration with a snowmobile club.
New York State Horse Council – Leah is a member and the current Chair of the new Ride/Drive Program for the New York State Horse Council.
Cattaraugus County Equine Advisory Committee to the County Legislature –Leah is a member of this committee and is currently Chair of the Advocacy Standing Committee. She is a consistent participant at the monthly meetings and:
NYS Horse Expo in Syracuse NY – Helped with a display table that highlighted Cattaraugus County and its equine opportunities.
Equine Education Barn at the Cattaraugus County Fair – Helps educate people about horses by showcasing her horse, Annie.
Bicentennial Wagon Train and Stagecoach Run – Helping with the overall planning and advertising, the Horses for Youth Contest, and is planning on going all 14 days of the event to help wherever needed.
Cattaraugus County Horsemen’s Association – Helped with the creation of this new organization, which is hoped will further equine interests in Cattaraugus County and is currently the Vice President of this organization.
Bits ‘N’ Spurs Trailriders Inc. – Leah is a member of this club and is currently the Assistant Trailmaster.
Other Equine Activities - Prior to moving to Cattaraugus County, Leah was a member and served as President of the Senior Wranglers Riding Club. Groomed for both standardbred and thoroughbred race horses. General help for several hunter/jumper/dressage barns. And, during the mid 1980’s to early 1990’s, Leah was a Cattaraugus County 4-H Horse Leader with the Triple C (Cottage Cowboys & Cowgirls) 4-H Club; a member of the Equine Committee and Co-chairman of the Bonanza Horseshow and the 4-H Horse Camp (held at the County Fairgrounds).
Personal - Leah was born and raised in Clarence, New York where she started riding lessons at the age of 11 and had her first horse at 16. She has been married to James Leising for 33 years and has three sons: Brian, Seth and Daniel; two lovely daughter-in-laws: Susan (Brian) and Tina (Seth); and four sweet grandchildren: Andrew, Emma, Melaina and Lilia.
Education - Leah graduated form Clarence Central High School and after many years as a “stay-at-home Mom” received her Registered Nursing Degree from Sister’s School of Nursing in 1992 and her Bachelors of Nursing Degree from the University of Buffalo in 1999. She worked in hospital and home care nursing and is currently the High School Nurse at Gowanda Central School and a member of the National Association of School Nurses.
Leah states, “I love country living – with its trees, open space, gardening – I love horses and anything equine and trail riding – snowmobiling – I love Cattaraugus County and they all just blend so well together. I hope to see Cattaraugus County become the place to be in New York State if you have horses or love them!”