Behind the Scenes

As an idea between a mother and a special education teacher coupled with two horses, Saddles of Joy began in 1985. In the beginning, the horses were trailered to Wellton, Arizona where the horses and special needs children were brought together in a remarkable way.


Additional horses and volunteers helped with the daily and weekly sessions as the program grew. Founders supported this program out of their own pockets for the first 15 years. A non-profit organization was formed for Saddles of Joy at the beginning of 2000 due to the cost of operations and the amount of manpower needed to maintain and expand the program to fit demand.

As part of our mission, we strive to provide education to the community and/or any interested party regarding the therapeutic value of equines. Our riders, whether they are youngsters or adults, receive education in the art of horsemanship and horse care based on their understanding and physical capability. Here at Saddles of Joy, Inc., we recognize that success comes simply from putting the two together, the horse and rider.


Using the gentle nature of our four legged therapists will produce all kinds of healing, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. Therapeutic riding at this level is all about healing. Saddles of Joy, Inc. believes that as we provide this service, we are improving the quality of life for both horse and rider, and fostering an especially strong bond between the two.


Riders with a disability have the possibility of experiencing horseback riding, either as part of a classroom activity through a school or individually, and sometimes both. As part of the program, the children and volunteers can participate in public events such as the Silver Spur Rodeo Parade, Veterans Day Parade, Hank Days Parade, annual open houses, and other presentations and demonstrations throughout the community.