Heal with a Horse History & Description

The first child in the program was Destiny, who had been diagnosed with cancer.  The physical benefit was that the therapeutic riding helped Destiny improve her core strength and balance, which had been affected by the medications she was taking.  However, the benefits went much deeper and Destiny bonded with her therapy horse.  Her time spent riding brought her great happiness and helped her forget she was sick.  She was in the program for more than a year until she became too sick to come to the barn to ride.  One day, Destiny’s mother called to say Destiny’s time was nearing end.  She wanted to see her therapy horse one last time but was too sick to come to the barn.  Kim and the Heal with a Horse volunteers planned a surprise visit.  They loaded up Joey (therapy horse), drove to Destiny’s house, and knocked on her front door for one last visit.  She died three days later. 

Since then, Heal with a Horse has helped hundreds of children in West Michigan through its therapeutic riding program, partnerships with local schools, annual participation in Camp Courage, and Horsey House calls (inspired by that first house call with Destiny).  The therapeutic riding program has expanded to also include children with serious physical and social disabilities. 


This year, we have achieved our biggest accomplishment yet, securing our own facility for Heal with a Horse.  The property is equipped with a barn and stables for boarding, which will help support the operating costs of the barn and provide some income to the therapeutic riding program.  The property also includes an indoor riding arena and outdoor boarding and pasture areas.  The program struggled for years to obtain enough riding time at rental facilities to expand the program. Thus, we developed a very long waiting list to get into the program.  We just recently moved into our facility and have several projects that will help us grow the riding program as well as add additional programs.

Heal with a Horse is a 501(c)(3).    © 2015

Heal with a Horse was founded in 2010 by Kim Patton, who is an avid horse lover and lost her best friend to cancer.  They shared a love of horses and throughout his struggle with cancer, his horses gave him strength and comfort.  This inspired Kim to create Heal with a Horse.  

The mission of Heal with a Horse is to enhance the quality of life of chronically ill and special needs children through equine assisted therapy.