Horses with Heart History

Horses with Heart had a very humble beginning in 1993 when Vickie Stuart’s dream to provide individuals with disabilities the opportunity to participate in therapeutic and recreational horseback riding came true. She held riding sessions on weekends and during school breaks at the S Bar & J Ranch in Chino Valley. “Buddy”, a Quarter horse, was the first donated horse in the program.

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

HwH then moved to the Whistle Stop Ranch in Dewey on Highway 69. In 2002, an arena cover was completed. In 2003, covers over the horse stalls were installed adding shade and protection for all of our HwH horses. In this same year, Zeph was named PATH, Intl. (NARHA) Region 10 horse of the year. HwH also participated in the 4th of July Parade and Happy Hearts Rodeo. In 2004, the HwH Special Olympics Equestrian Team was formed and Pam Berry became its Head Coach.


In 2007 and HwH hired an Executive Director who assisted HwH in securing a grant from the AZ Diamondbacks Foundation specifically for our Capital Campaign Project, our own home. The year of 2008 was a year of explosive growth for HwH. The number of participants served increased by 12%, the number of volunteers increased by 22% and Board membership increased by 50%.

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 Intl Certified Instructor Team.

In 2010, a new program was launched…Heroes and Horses for veterans and HwH purchased property in Chino Valley, AZ.The senior’s program, Silver Saddle was initiated at this time. Trudy Chapman-Radley was awarded PATH, Intl. “Instructor of the Year” for our PATH Intl Region 10 and then for the entire International organization.

In 2012, HwH moved to its new headquarters, “The Gateway to Chino”, just south of the roundabout on Route 89 N. Much work was completed to enable HwH to move all twelve horses to their new home and to hold all of our riding sessions on our new property. The new arena cover was erected; all of our portable buildings moved and put in place; a Trail to Adventure installed by Eagle Scout, Jeremy Reber; and much, much more.

Horses with Heart continues to make strides to complete the brick Pathway to Hope currently in phase two of installation and many other features on the property including landscaping . Horses with Heart was honored to host the Spring Special Olympic State Equine Games in 2013. We are thrilled that in 2015 one of our Special Olympics Riders, Jeremiah Schedlock was selected to compete as one of 10 riders representing the US at the SO World Games in Los Angeles.  Jeremiah came home with a Gold and a Bronze medal plus a new-found confidence and desire to give back to the HwH Special Olympics community.