Happy Trails Riding Academy
Sierra Grant: $5,000 in the 1st quarter of 2019
What is the organization’s mission?
Happy Trails Riding Academy is a premier PATH International accredited program that enriches the lives of children and adults with physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities through equine-facilitated therapy. Therapeutic horsemanship has been proven to provide a unique opportunity for self-improvement and independence in a positive learning environment, while offering a challenging alternative to traditional therapy.
All the non-profits we collaborate with have a vision for their community—what’s your vision?
Therapeutic horsemanship has been shown to provide physical benefits such as improving a rider’s balance, strength, and flexibility. Interacting and forming a relationship with the animals can also help increase confidence, patience, and self-esteem and even improve symptoms of depression. Therapeutic horsemanship can make a difference in the lives of our riders, their families, and the staff and volunteers who work with them. This positive change makes our community a better place.
Describe your organization and/or the work you do in three words.
Partners in Healing.
What specific work have you been using donations to accomplish recently?
Camp Happy Trails was introduced three years ago as an alternative to our regular program during the hot summer months. In June 2019, our riders and their siblings experienced a week of different themed activities, each with an equestrian element. Each half-day began with an educational introduction to the theme, then on to a physical activity that would include interaction with a horse, followed by arts and crafts, and ending with a snack. Grant funds were used to subsidize tuition and expenses for the participants.
Do you have an individual success story to share from your organization’s efforts?
Kayla was diagnosed with autism at a young age. She was eight years old when she came to Happy Trails in 1999. She started out with therapeutic horseback riding and progressed to vaulting—gymnastics on the back of a moving horse.
Also, nonspeaking, she found her voice on April 3, 2007, through facilitated communication, “I became a real person who had something to say and dreams for a real future.” This allowed Kayla to finally gain a real education at Crescent View West Charter High School. After graduation, she went on to Clovis Community College, Fresno City College, and Fresno State. Her goal is to someday become an advocate for others who lead silent lives.
Kayla is grateful to have found her true inner strength through perseverance. Participating at Happy Trails has changed her whole life. Kayla said, “I really believe that my time here at Happy Trails has taught me so much. I learned to never give up and to try my best even though I had so much to overcome.”
Educating the public about causes is an important part of non-profit work. Is there something you’d like everyone to know about the people you help or the efforts of your team?
Happy Trails is inclusive, where very few disabilities go unserved. Any limitation of service would be related to the safety of the rider and their team.
If people want to volunteer with your organization, what should they expect and where can they contact you?
To be a Happy Trails volunteer participant, you must attend a one-time volunteer orientation class. It consists of an orientation to our facility, programs, and equine-assisted activities in general, plus volunteer responsibilities, safety rules and regulations, emergency procedures, and an introduction to the types of disabilities seen in the program.
Happy Trails is the only certified, state-of-the-art riding center located between Bakersfield and Modesto.
To find out more about Happy Trails, please visit their website and social media, or contact the organization directly:
Telephone: (559) 688-8685
Fax: (559) 688-6786
Visit Us: 2773 E. Oakdale Avenue, Tulare, CA 93274
Mail Us: P.O. Box 572, Visalia, CA 93279