believe in infinite POSSIBILITIES.

We need you

Whether you want to provide a unique opportunity for your child, or feel drawn to volunteer - there is a place for you at Spirit Ride.
Go to Wish List Wish List

If you prefer to give a specific gift, we have created an Amazon Wish List of high priority items needed to provide a safe, fun learning environment. The items are listed in order of priority so that we may continue to provide the most effective Therapeutic intervention possible. Special attention is provided to keep this list up to date and current for your convenience.

Go to Rider and Horse Sponsorships

Rider and Horse Sponsorships

Because we believe strongly that each child with a challenging diagnosis derserves the opportunity to achieve greatness beyond expectations, we offer high quality Equine-assisted Services free of charge to ALL clients. Please click on this section to learn how you can sponsor a child or a horse. Will you help us help them?

Go to Volunteer Training

Volunteer Training

The next Volunteer Training Class will be held on Saturday, September 18, 2021 from 9am to 11:30am. Please note that this may be cancelled depending on COVID data and CDC recommendations. Topics to be covered will be: Equine Safety, SRTC Procedures, and Best Practices for Working With Specific Populations. After successful completion of the course, volunteers may purchase a Spirit Ride T-Shirt at cost ($15.00) and be eligable to join a Therapy Team.



All lessons are private and individualzed. Therefore, the amount of clients we serve is limited. After registration closes, clients will be put on a waiting list and will be notified as soon as an opening becomes available. We encourage you to submit an application as soon as possible so that you will be closer to the “front of the line” on the waiting list for any session you wish to register for. We are now accepting applications for the Fall Session (2021). To download an application please click the logo above this section.

Spirit Ride is proud to have achieved the highest level of transparency via Guidestar is the nation's leading non-profit database and the first place one should visit to learn about a specific non-profit. Visit Guidestar and make an informed donation decision.

What We Do

Equine-Assisted Learning in Education (EAL-Ed), involves the use of horses and Equine-assisted Services in an effort to achieve goals that enhance physical, emotional, social, cognitive, behavioral and educational skills for children with a wide array of diagnosis.
Research based, proven methods. Never a fee.

Spirit Ride is committed to providing private Equine-assisted Services free of charge to all accepted clients. Through working with the client’s Therapy Team (Educators, Community Professionals and Parents/Guardians) we are able to create an ideal environment relating to the individual client's specific needs. We give our undivided attention to the client and his/her equine partner for the entire duration of each session so that we may provide an opportunity to foster learning and personal growth (self-esteem, boundary setting, appropriate social interaction, as well as any cognitive or physical goals).

  • To provide children with special needs the opportunity to learn, grow and strive to become their ideal selves through equine related therapeutic activities.

  • Spirit Ride is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that serves Western North Carolina.

  • The movement and sensory stimuli produce measurable results, but the magic comes from the accessible spirit of the horse that naturally speaks to the human soul.

  • Whether you want to provide a unique opportunity for your child, or feel drawn to donate or volunteer - there is a place for you at Spirit Ride.

WHOOPDEEDO! (Looking for a sponsor for 2021)

WHOOPDEEDO is the most expressive horse we have ever known. He smiles, pouts, talks under his breath, and the kids crack up when he shakes his head up and down to say, "Yes!". He has a heart right on his cheek which is perfect for kisses and Whoop is so clever he even has his own Facebook page! For more information on how to sponsor Whoopdeedo for the 2021 season, please email

BROGAN (Sponsored by the LaCapra Family)

BROGAN is the newest member of the Spirit Ride herd. He was rescued by Horse Helpers of the High Country after being caught up in the annual Grayson Highlands feral pony roundup. Being separated from his mother at only two months old, he became depressed, wouldn't eat, and came down with pneumonia. Horse Helpers lovingly brought him back to good health and soon realized that he was great with children. We were fortunate to have been able to adopt him and raise him for a career in the therapeutic field. He LOVES his 'job' and is a very special and well loved little pony! Brogan is sponosred by the LaCapra Family. For information on how you can sponsor a horse for the 2021 season, email us at

JAX (Sponsored by the Chong Family)

JAX is the oldest member of the Spirit Ride herd. He was raised and trained by one of the country's top trainers, Jim Frazier. He loves to snuggle, has the sweetest 'hello' whinny and looks forward to finding lost snacks in wheelchairs. Jax is sponsored by the Chong Family. For information on sponsoring a horse for the 2021 season, please email

BUDDY (Sponsored by the Hawk Family)

BUDDY is a 13.3 little pony, but don't let his size fool you - he's the herd leader at SRTC. He was rescued from a situation where he did not view people as beings who could care for him and treat him with love. Because of that, he understands our clients who have unfortunately had to live through similar situations. He can still be very guarded - but once you've earned his trust - he will follow you anywhere. Buddy is sponsored by the Hawk Family. For information on how you can sponsor a horse, please email us at:

Our Team

We have found our purpose.

Patty Adams, CEIP-ED

Executive Director
Patty is certified in EC Education (K-12) with a focus on SLD and HI. She received her Equine-Assisted Health Care certification in 2015 from SHI and CEIP-ED certification in 2017. Her love of horses, the arts, and education are a perfect fit for Spirit Ride!

Craig Adams

President of the Board and CEO
Craig enjoyed a succesful career in the telecommunications industry for over thirty years. While his technical skills are appreciated at Spirit Ride, his giving spirit and caring heart have proven to be his most valuable assets.

Karen Chong

Chair of Development Committee
Karen comes to us with an extensive background in fundraising and leadership development. Having served as President of the Jr. League as well as serving on the board of organizations such as the Children’s Museum of Portland, OR, she is a valuable resource to Spirit Ride.

Mary Belanger

Curriculum Director
Mary Belanger, a retired educator from Watauga County and certified SpiritHorse Instructor, has a BAE in Elementary Education, a Masters in Gifted Education and is a Reading Specialist. Being a gifted educator who was born to teach, she was unable to stop teaching after retirement. Spirit Ride has given her the opportunity to enjoy her passion for horses and education and we are thrilled to have access to her vast experience.

Caila Leonard

Board of Directors
Caila is has been an intregal part of Spirit Ride since it’s inaugural year. Her willingness to always do whatever it takes to get the job done is a valuable asset to her riders as well as to the organization as a whole. As a certified volunteer and horse handler, Caila can often be found training the horses after a lesson or brainstorming ways to make SRTC as effective as it can be!

Melissa Thomas

Assistant Instructor
Spirit Ride is excited to add Melissa Thomas to the Instructor Team. Missy is a local mom with two high energy boys and has lots of practice thinking on her feet! Her favorite thing about Spirit Ride is connecting with all the families and knowing no two days at SRTC will ever be the same!

Katie Wallace

Board Member
Katie is a Senior at Appalachian State majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Katie’s experience leading camps and her sincere desire to want to help our families as a whole make her an invaluable member of the Spirit Ride family.

Taya Lambert

Social Media Director
Taya, originally from Winston-Salem, NC, is a student at Appalachian State majoring in Psychology and minoring in studio art. Her hope is to go into art therapy or work for a non-profit after graduation. Taya says, “I have always felt like there is so much connection between nature, art, and human beings and from that there can be so much healing! I am so thankful to be apart of a group that incorporates so many of the things I love.”

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