Rider Stories

Just a few of the hundreds of personal journeys taken by riders at Horses with Heart.

Lizzie's Story

Horses with Heart has been a HUGE blessing for our family, especially for our daughter, Elizabeth (Lizzie)! She has struggled with social anxieties since she was a year old and had to be with Mom or Dad constantly.


We took her to the Happy Hearts Rodeo after she turned six, put her on a horse, and it was miraculous! That little ride around the arena did something. She started responding to her Papa for the first time EVER that next week! And it's just gotten better - she is comfortable with people in our home, she'll talk to strangers and has fun with babysitters. It has been truly amazing! I don't understand how God works this miracle, but we are so very grateful for the work done through Horses with Heart. The staff and volunteers are amazing  and knowledgeable. What a gift they are for our kids!!

~ Danielle Mackin, Mother ~


Elizabeth  "Lizzie"

Alex's Story

This 12-yr. old youth shows a determination beyond his years and strength. Alex has grown beyond expectations. His “disabilities are seen as possibilities” at Horses with Heart.  Out of the confines of his wheelchair, he excels in maneuvering his horse through obstacles and trail courses. Riding horses which many others might not be able to handle as well is his forte. Our special horses seem to know who is on board and who is in control.

Alex' confidence has increased each riding season. No instruction seems beyond his ability level. Upon completion of the assigned task, his brilliant smile says it all. His family is always there supporting him in his endeavors.

He always is so kind to his horse, being gentle with his reining and always taking the time after his lesson to thank his horse with great affection. He is also so appreciative of his Instructor and volunteers who help him safely transfer mount from his wheelchair and dismount to his chair after he rides.

Just this past riding session, his horse, Jazz, has patiently let Alex lead her from his wheelchair. What a great team!




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serving the Quad Cities' special needs community for over 25 years.

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