Sonrisas is a secular, non-profit 501c(3) organization. We were created in 1983 as a project of the Junior League and became incorporated in 1987.
Sonrisas offers therapeutic horseback riding to those with physical, mental, and emotional challenges through a carefully structured program of equine activities.
We do not charge for our services to the school program and veteran program. We do have a small fee of $60 for community riders with disabilities.
Most of our riders come from SAISD schools, including the PPCD (preschool program for children with disabilities) programs. We also receive riders from the Small Schools Cooperative, TLC and Grapecreek ISD.
We employ three full time employees a Program Director, a Challenge Course Manager and a Donor Relations Coordinator and two part time PATH certified riding instructors. We rely heavily on volunteers to help with all of our programs.
We serve riders each session with emotional, physical, and/or mental challenges. All of our riders are challenged in some capacity. We are the only local therapeutic riding center with this sole population. Our riders have a myriad of challenges including, but not limited to, sight and/or hearing impairments, ADD, ADHD, Spina bifida, speech-language delay, MS, Lou Gherig's Disease, MD, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, emotional and behavioral disorders, PTSD and intellectual disabilities.
We are funded by private and corporate donations as well as fundraisers and grants. We receive no state or federal funding.
If you would like to make a donation please contact us for additional details or click the "Donate to Sonrisas" button below.
Therapeutic riding involves teaching the rider the necessary skills and techniques. The emphasis is not only on the physical benefits of riding, but also on the development of the relationship between the rider and the horse. The self-discipline required to understand and control the horse instills a sense of responsibility and enhances task concentration in the rider. The autonomy associated with riding a horse also serves to promote the rider's self-esteem and positive body image.
The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH Intl.) is the primary organization that supports and promotes therapeutic riding in the U.S. and Canada. PATH provides program accreditation to ensure that standards are established and maintained, so that riding centers can provide a safe therapeutic riding environment. PATH also issues instructor certification in therapeutic riding. All of the instructors at Sonrisas are PATH certified, and we strive to maintain the highest safety standards.
To apply for the Military Veteran’s Riding Program, please click here to download information sheet.
Sonrisas Trails has built a state-of-the-art high and low element challenge course adjacent to our covered therapeutic horseback riding center. This innovative concept and center will benefit the entire community. Everyone, young and old, those with disabilities and those without, have a place at Sonrisas Trails. Our course design allows those with disabilities to still participate in our course. The addition of this new course will not only benefit our current equine clients and everyone in the public, but will also be offered to our Military Veteran population who have been physically, mentally or emotionally injured in the line of duty.
Sonrisas Trails approach to Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies (EAAT) is modeled after the PATH Intl. methods of providing services to individuals with disabilities. EAAT offered at Sonrisas Trails include therapeutic riding and groundwork with horses as well as leadership exercises and a low and high team challenge course open to the public. We offer group and private lessons to individuals in the community pending an assessment to determine that we have a horse for your needs and can ride you safely in our program. We also accept Veterans to participate in our Veterans Program; our School Program provides services to special needs classes in local elementary schools. Students with disabilities range from ages 3 and up. Our certified instructors aim to strengthen individual abilities and improve skills in balance, coordination, communication and muscle strength.
Lessons are held Monday through Friday at Sonrisas Trails 5185 S Bryant, San Angelo, TX
Currently, our sessions are as follows: Fall Session - 10 weeks - September - November Spring Session - 10 weeks - February - April Summer Session - June – July mornings only, schedule pending
How to Apply for Community Classes!
Sonrisas has a wait list and we want you or your family member on that list as soon as possible! To begin your application process, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your rider application. The Rider's Medical History Form must be filled out, signed and dated by you or your family member's primary care physician. You can return your application packet to the office via e-mail, mail or just stop by.
After we have received and reviewed your forms, we will contact you to schedule an evaluation at our facility. We begin scheduling for each session with returning students and add new students as the schedule permits.
If you have questions please contact our Program Director Megan Kirkwood at 432-413-3656 or email at email@example.com.
Thank you for your interest! We look forward to working with you!
Improved balance and muscle strength
Improved coordination and motor planning
Stretching of tight or spastic muscles
Increased range of motion of joints
Improved respiration and circulation
Improved appetite and digestion
Stimulates sensory integration
Improved visual spatial perception
Improved eye-hand coordination
Improved risk-taking abilities
Development of patience
Emotional control and self-discipline
Expansion of locus of control
Development of respect and care for animals
Increased interest in the outside world
Increased interest in one's own life
Development of patience
Emotional control and self-discipline
Sense of normality
Expansion of the focus of control
Each school year, Sonrisas serves between 80 and 100 riders through our School Program. We offer therapeutic horseback riding to those with physical, emotional, and mental challenges. Riding horses offers a myriad of benefits, including improved balance, coordination, and self-esteem. Riders also have improved appetite, better night's sleep, and less-labored breathing. What makes Sonrisas a unique riding center is that we offer our program FREE OF CHARGE to the riders coming through the school district!!. The Concho Valley offers no other service like ours with no charge to our clients or their families. The results are priceless; unfortunately, feeding the horses and the upkeep of our facility is not. We welcome any contributions and donations, which are all tax-deductible because of our 501(c)(3) status as a non-profit organization. We also rely heavily on our volunteers. Without them, we are unable to lead our horses or sidewalk our riders. Volunteers are truly the heart and soul of our organization. Join us today!
Click here for Volunteer Packet.
Sidewalking with our Riders
Challenge Course Facilitator
Help at events
Various Office Needs
We ride for 1 hour sessions.
You must be 16 or older to volunteer at Sonrisas Trails Therapeutic Riding, Inc.
Depending on your age & physical strength, we may ask that you help us in areas other than our arena.
Volunteer Training will be provided for those interested in assisting with riding classes.Give us a call and we'll be able to train you individually. We would love to have you.