History of SMILES

From the humble beginnings of four borrowed horses and four borrowed saddles, a tradition of 28 years has grown...

First Class of SMILES Riders 1985
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First Class of SMILES Riders 1985

 

Since 1985, SMILES has provided the well documented benefits of equine assisted therapies and activities to individuals with special needs.  Our first classes were held only once weekly at a private residence, but demand for services fueled steady growth for the program.  Wanting to turn no one away, and to include all disabilities, the plans for our current facility began. Today’s 35 acre facility in Darien, WI is program owned and offers classes throughout the year. Our program has earned accreditation as a Premier Riding Center, and our horses and volunteers achieve awards at the national level.  Our vision, of providing services and educating the community, thrives.  Our program grows and continues to serve individuals with physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities.  Through a powerful partnership with horses, people with special needs improve their skills and attain therapeutic goals, moving them ever closer to their maximum potential of capability and self sufficiency.  SMILES  improves both lives and living skills through Equine Assisted Therapies.