Regardless of age or gender, extreme joy is apparent on our students’ faces
when they’re riding one of HTR’s gentle and patient horses and building a
life-changing relationship with these compassionate creatures.
Heartland Therapeutic Riding, Inc. is
a 501c3 organization. Donations are
tax-exempt. Please consider helping
Heartland through your Donor Choice
option with the United Way and
Combined Federal Campaign.
19655 Antioch P.O. Box 391
Stilwell, KS 66085
I previously belonged to a 10 year old girl. She was learning to ride and rode trails a lot. I really
enjoyed it, but she had to move to Texas and I couldn't go with her. The trainer called Heartland
and I was the perfect height and I wasn't bothered by toys, ramps, walkers or wheelchairs.
I couldn't figure out why I had to have a leader and two people "side walkers" walking beside me.
My "aha" moment came when I realized my job was to take care of very special children and adults.
One of the young boys that rides me, has really bonded with me. He hugs me and if he gets wild
with the reins, the side walkers remind him that it hurts me and he stops immediately! I must be
very special, because he did not bond with the other horses! My adult rider works a lot on her
trunk strengthening, because my walk challenges her muscles! She has Multiple Sclerosis and she
says, "after riding, my pain subsides for two to three days!" How AWESOME is that!!
Well, so much for my cushy life! I thought I had it made, but my owner decided I needed to
have something to do! These humans get the craziest ideas! Sooooo, I arrived at Heartland.
Being a pony, it was hard for me to admit they were right. I had to lose a few pounds and get
used to listening to the leader! I have to continue walking, even if my rider is off balance!
The Hippotherapy riders, are extremely fun. They get to sit sideways and backwards on me.
Now you know why I was worried about them falling off! The volunteer side walkers, really
help me here! I am still learning the ropes, but I can charm the bark, right off the tree!
To keep us spoiled and happy for a year is $1200.00 and we’d really appreciate your generosity.
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
My former career consists mainly of trail riding. It's still my favorite thing to do and I like to keep all
the other horses in line. Some people think I act like a "bully" with other horses, but somebody has
to be in charge! It might as well be me!! My real sweet and patient personality makes me a perfect
fit for my special riders at Heartland and I LOVE my job! I don't like to brag, but I am also quite the
"Mares Man"! The mares all seem quite attracted to me and it "MAKES MY DAY!!" I think the other
guys are jealous! Everyone adores me at Heartland! My humans love my dynamic walk. I call it my
confident swagger! Even therapists from other states want to take me to their therapeutic centers!
They say I have the perfect walk and disposition. I've been here a long time. Some of my riders are
in college, have families of their own, and are able to walk with their own kids! Here is an example...
A doctor told one of our Mothers that her son would never walk, she heard about Heartland and put
him in Hippotherapy….He is walking, running and is now into sports riding!
In my former life, I was a Western Pleasure and Showmanship Horse. I was taught to walk
really…really…slowly, so my challenge at Heartland, was to learn to walk with a longer stride and
little swing….WOW the geldings really look at me now! I also have a great jog that my riders all
love and can sit to all day! In the summer, my coat is like a shiny copper penny! With my blaze, I
look really gorgeous! After my show career, I was turned out to pasture, so it was hard to get back
in shape for Heartland. My riders are awesome and I love seeing the joy in their faces…the hugs,
kisses and treats don't hurt either.
Heartland is a great place! I am here because my owner wanted a more "energetic" horse. You
see I'm kind of lazy ..or "very energy efficient!!" My job here is to build my riders confidence, at
their own comfort level and without pressure. This will help prepare them for many challenges
as they head toward adulthood. I am GOOD at my job!!
Fancy 25 yrs
Whoa… look at me...don't I look "fancy!!" I used to be a show horse and traveled all over! You
should have seen my quick step (paso step), I could really flex my knees & hocks! Those were
the days.... I am a little slower due to age and overeating, but my legs still look good!! After
showing, I did trail rides, and now I am taking my new riders on the Heartland trails! In
Hippotherapy I get to walk around the arena. You may think that walking is no big deal, but I
have kids on my back that can't sit up. After several rides with me, they are able to sit up, and
give me a HUGE SMILE :) The paso gate comes in handy also, because it is smooth and riders
can go fast....which we all love!
Gizmo 10 yrs
Hi, I am Gizmo and everyone loves my markings! They say I can be a little ornery, but I think I
am pretty cute!! If I get bored, I experiment with how far I can push my leaders….however I
always take care of my riders! I have a great walk, so I am used in Hippotherapy a lot. My size
is great for small riders who can grow up with me! I can also handle the more physically
involved riders like a pro! My previous owner did a lot of trail riding and a little jumping. The
best thing about being at Heartland is that all the riders get a better JUMP on life both physically
MoMo 6 yrs
My previous owner led her grandchildren around the farm on my back so I am very calm around
wiggly and noisy kids. Because of my great walk and size she thought Heartland would be a perfect
place for me. I LOVE kids and they love me! I am considered a large pony size so I can carry large
riders too. I love all the attention and being groomed is just HEAVEN! "rubbin' and lovin"….does it
get much better???
Odessy 23 yrs
My former life was one of Hunter shows and Eventing, then I became a school horse, finally I was
turned out to pasture. ARE YOU KIDDING ME…just look at me!!! My previous owner was a volunteer
at Heartland so she knew I would be "just perfect" for the program. I still need exercise and I love
teaching kids to ride! I love all the attention I get with grooming and hugs and treats….one of my
kids even drew a picture of me!!!
Simon 14 yrs
Don't underestimate my size….I control anyone that shares a pasture with me ! I look so handsome
when I prance and I flip my mane with my head held high! All the volunteers and riders fall in love
with me right away and I completely use this to my advantage. You might say I have them wrapped
around my little hoof! My size comes in handy for Hippotherapy (easy on the sidewalker's arms) and
I can be gentle with really physically involved riders. I love all the attention and hugs from the riders
and the grooming from the volunteers….I get so relaxed that I always lay right down for a nap!
Smokey 26 yrs
I am gentle on the "tush" because of my smooth foxtrot! The riders like it, because they can go fast,
but still have enough cushion in the spine, to strengthen bones and muscles! When being led in
class, I like to rest my nose on my leader's hand. I am a "hands on" kind of horse! Attention and
grooming are favorites of mine too! Speaking of "attention", one of my riders has to lean on me to
support herself after dismounting, so I lean a little into her and stand like a statue, until they get her
cane! The rider has MS and riding me helps her to be free of pain for several days!
Snow 27 yrs
When I came to Heartland, my name was Misty and I was a local children's hunter show pony!
They already had a horse at Heartland named Misty and because I am all white (due to age), one
of the Heartland riders named me "SNOW!" Because of my size, I am great for Hippotherapy,
where a PT or OT works with the riders! I have to keep a very steady rhythm in my walk! The
clients will sit backwards, lay on their tummy across my back, balance on their hands and knees
and some have stood upright on my back while I am walking!! I pretend I am a circus horse!! It
has been great when some of my riders go to Sports Riding and they can ride me independently! It
builds their self-esteem! I do miss the jumping, which I shouldn't do because it makes my front
feet sore, due to eating TOOO much grass! Occasionally I jump one of the pasture fences, just to
prove I can still do it! It is STILL FUN!!
Taz 6 yrs
I am here at Heartland because they needed a quiet, strong, heavier weight carrier. This I can do
with no problem! I needed some acclamation to the loading ramp and that was a challenge
because of my big feet! It taught me to listen closely to my handler. My students love to ride me
because I tower over all the other horses and I am a real "looker!" I grew up with Gizmo believe it
or not I used to think he was big…now he comes up to my mid-belly. It was fun coming to
Heartland with a buddy….we both love it here!
Toby 31 yrs
In my former life, I was a trail riding horse and babysitter for a grandchild. Boy, did I hit the
"jackpot" when I came to Heartland. Now I give rides to dozens of kids! I am very sweet and gentle
with my special riders and they think I'm the "BEST." On days off I just like to be lazy and "hang
out"…maybe that is a part of getting old!! There's only one thing I don't like and its having my ears
and nose cleaned…YUCK!! I am glad it is not every day! Other than that, I love my job and I think
my riders are TERRIFIC!!
Tuf 29 yrs
In my younger days I was a Western ranch horse as well as an English show horse! How about that
for versatility! I'm sweet, loving and "energy efficient" and I am very proud of that. I was actually
surprised to overhear someone call me " spoiled " just because I don't like to hold my foot up when
I'm having my feet picked. It's not that I'm lazy…hooves are heavy! I also prefer that a "soft" brush
is used when I'm groomed…is that too much to ask? sThe special riders at Heartland are wonderful
and I love working with them.