By Barbara Tomlinson, Founder
Saddles of Joy was born of pain and sorrow within my own life. At the age of 12, my son began to come apart emotionally after years of me trying to get help for what I knew was a problem. Finally, after his major breakdown, the diagnosis was made that he was manic - depressive / bi - polar, and now hyper active as well. From there it went downhill. The damage had been done. Years of being branded as a problem child and worthless from outside sources such as church, school, etc., had taken its toll. To date, he has not recovered and thus, Saddles of Joy was born.
I vowed that never again would a child suffer like that if I could prevent it. The program was here for 5 or 6 years before it had a name and in its birthing stage. It started with me, 3 horses, acreage and the most important factor, my husband, Michael. A retired Gunnery Sergeant from the United States Marine Corps, his support financially, emotionally, and in every other way possible, kept this dream alive. My father, John Serrate, now deceased, also added his support financially and through advice in business from years in commercial real estate at the critical birthing stage.
Who We Are:
Saddles of Joy, Inc. is a therapeutic riding program dedicated to introduce Children, or any person with the desire to the joy and value of one of God's most beautiful creations, "The Horse". Saddles of Joy started in 1985 as an idea between a mother and a special education teacher and two horses. In the beginning, the horses were trailered to Wellton, Arizona where the horses and special needs children were brought together with wondrous results.
As the program grew, more horses as well as volunteers were added to assist with the daily and weekly sessions. For first 15 years the founders had been supporting the program with personal out of pocket expenses. Saddles of Joy incorporated at the beginning of 2000 as a non-profit organization due to the cost of operation and manpower needed to keep the program going. We are now a non-profit agency and are supported by United Way.
Our Vision is an equine therapeutic riding program dedicated to introduce children, or any other person with the desire to know the joy and values of one of God's most beautiful creations, "The Horse." It is our desire to educate the community and any interested party to the therapeutic value of horse and rider. Be it child or adult, we continue on with understanding and physical ability of our riders. We here at Saddles of Joy, Inc. acknowledge the level of success is simply putting the two together, horse and rider, with positive results. Be it child or adult, we continue with the education in horsemanship and care of the horse are at the level of physical ability of all our riders.
We allow the gentle nature of our four-legged therapists to produce any and all healing physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. That is what therapeutic riding at this level is all about. It is our hope and desire here at Saddles of Joy, Inc. that as we provide this service, we are improving the quality of life for both horse and rider, as well as produce a bond of healing.
We are a non-profit organization and offer our services to the community as such.
The dedication of our
ALL VOLUNTEER STAFF, ADVISORY BOARD, THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS
is very sincere!
Barbara Tomlinson, President (Retired)
Saddles of Joy, Inc. is a non-profit providing an equine therapeutic riding program that serves special needs children, their families and the community. Our mission is to provide all those who come to us with a healthy learning environment that contributes to healing the body, mind, and spirit.
What We Do:
It is our desire to educate the community and/or any interested party to the therapeutic value of horse and rider. Be it child or adult, we continue on with education in horsemanship and care of the horse at the level of understanding and physical ability of our riders. We here at Saddles of Joy, Inc. acknowledge the level of success is simply putting the two together, horse and rider, with a positive result.
We allow the gentle nature of our four legged therapists to produce any or all healing, be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. That is what therapeutic riding at this level is all about. It is our hope and desire here at Saddles of Joy, Inc. that as we provide this service, we are improving the quality of life for both horse and rider, as well as producing a bond of healing.
Special needs children have an opportunity to experience of horseback riding, either as part of a classroom experience through their school or individually through personal appointments and sometimes both. The children and volunteers may participate in public events to include the Silver Spur Rodeo and associated Parade, Veterans Day Parade, Hank Days Parade, annual open houses, and other demonstrations and presentations throughout the local community.