Our History

When Founder Vickie Stuart began Horses with Heart in 1993, she couldn’t have foreseen how the program would grow and thrive over the decades.

Her dream—to give the special needs community a chance to benefit from therapeutic and recreational horsemanship—started with one donated horse at the S Bar & J Ranch in Chino Valley.

In 1996, Trudy Chapman-Radley reorganized Horses with Heart, became its first Executive Director and became a PATH International (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship) Certified Instructor. Sessions were moved to a ranch in Dewey where more horses joined the program.

HwH later moved to the Whistle Stop Ranch in Dewey on Highway 69, adding still more horses and several riders. In 2004, HwH expanded, forming its own Special Olympic Equestrian Team with Pam Berry (now executive director) as head coach.  

After nine years at the Whistle Stop, HwH moved temporarily to the 5M Ranch in Chino to await the purchase of a new home. The Prescott Valley Chamber of Commerce voted Horses with Heart the non-profit of the year, and we grew our PATH International Certified Instructor Team.

In 2010, we launched Heroes and Horses for veterans, and HwH purchased property that is now our home ranch in Chino Valley, AZ. The seniors’ program, Silver Saddle, was also begun at this time. Trudy Chapman-Radley was named “Instructor of the Year” by PATH International for the HwH Region—and then for the entire, global PATH organization.

In 2012, HwH moved to its new headquarters, “The Gateway to Chino”, just south of the roundabout on State Hwy 89. Here, the work begun in 1993 continues. And here is still where, for so many riders in need of help…

“Where Difficulties Become Possibilities.”