Help 5 Rescued Horses Become Therapy Animals

by Riding Star Ranch, Inc
Giving some love to the big girl!
Giving some love to the big girl!

A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who supported this Therapy Horse Training Program!

All of the horses that went through this training program are being used in therapeutic programs at the ranch.  


In 2014 we are expanding our youth program that focuses on children in foster care.  To date, we are experiencing great success with this program and we receive wonderful feedback from the group home staff as well as the therapists and guardians who oversee the children on a daily basis.


We are very proud of all of the horses and the children will carry their memories of them for a lifetime!


YOU are the reason that this project is successful, without donors like you none of this would be possible.  Not only are these wonderful horses getting a second chance at a wonderful life, but the children are getting to experience the joy and happiness that comes to them because of these beautiful animals. Thank you again for helping make this project possible and touching so many lives.

Kirsten who has Cerebral Palsy enjoying her ride!
Kirsten who has Cerebral Palsy enjoying her ride!
A nice group photo!
A nice group photo!
Anna's First time on a horse!

Riding Star Ranch continues to touch the hearts of everyone around us!  Meet Anna, she has Spina Biffida and has been in a wheelchair since she was 3 yrs old.  The horses at Riding Star has given her a whole new lease on life and she is so excited everytime she gets to ride. 

We have also recently began to work with the Brian house which is a group home for foster children.  Those who participate in our programs have shown marked improvements in attitude and responsibility in their everyday lives. We also currently have students with Cerebral Palsy, Spina Biffida and Autism who ride with us.

Riding Star is very proud to welcome trainer Sergei Bayakin to our organization.  His love and knowledge of horses is nothing short of AMAZING and he has become a genuine asset to RSR!  I am proud to invite every one of our supporters to come out to the ranch for a visit and watch a training session or see our therapy horses in action.  You will be happy and amazed at how these beautiful horses touch the lives of those who come here.


Please feel free to call 386-848-7953 to schedule a visit, we would love to meet you! 

We are located at

900 Spring Garden Ranch Rd.

DeLeon Springs, FL 32130

Everyone getting ready for a session
Everyone getting ready for a session
Sergei helps a young rider
Sergei helps a young rider
Balance and trust issues are covered on horseback
Balance and trust issues are covered on horseback


Jen and Joe with Maizie
Jen and Joe with Maizie

We want to thank everyone for all of the wonderful support for this project.  Our programs would not be possible without the help and support of those who believe in what we do.  Helping these horses become safe, trusful companions and matching them with a therapeutic program or a loving forever home is our ultimate goal and your support is what makes it all possible!

All of the horses have completed this stage of their training and some have moved to the next level.  Bacardi has been adopted and Maizie is currently still in Punta Gorda with the wonderful volunteers who are there keeping our Cleveland Drive facility running smoothly.  The rest of the horses have been moved to our new facility in DeLeon Springs where we have a new training obstacle course.  These wonderful horses are really being challenged and they are all doing so well and making progress everyday!

We would like to invite everyone to come watch training sessions and meet the horses and volunteers in person... Saturdays are the best days to observe if you are ever in the area.

900 Spring Garden Ranch Rd. DeLeon Springs, FL 32130


Apache munching on a snack
Apache munching on a snack

Riding Star Ranch is proud to report on the progress of our 5 therapy horses in training! 


Maizie is a 4 yr old mare and is doing very well with her lessons. She is coming along nicely,  beginning to overcome her tying issues and is more confident around people. She is super sweet and is going to make a great therapy horse.

Duke is a 12 yr old Canadian Percheron and is becoming a very trustworthy driving horse.  He shows promise working with those who cannot physically ride on a horse and really seems to enjoy his lesson time.

Apache is a 13 yr old paint gelding who had a rough place in his life before finding Riding Star Ranch.  He came  to us very head shy and unsure of humans, but through our training program, he has come a long way with his trust issues.  The memory of the events that led to the large scar on his upper lip seem to be fading into his past.

Popcorn is a 9 yr old Welsh cross pony who is progressing in his driving lessons and is going to make a very good partner for our smaller students.  He loves to be groomed and is always looking for a treat!

Bacardi is a 7 yr old Appaloosa gelding who came to Riding Star Ranch with separation issues and has been working through them nicely.  He would not accept a rider when he first arrived, but is now doing extremely well in his lessons and looks forward to his participation in the training sessions.

Everyone at Riding Star Ranch (two legged AND four legged!) is very appreciative of your support and we hope that you will be able to come visit some day to meet these wonderful animals and the poeple who work with them. 

Popcorn doing well in a driving lesson
Popcorn doing well in a driving lesson

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Organization Information

Riding Star Ranch, Inc

Location: DeLeon Springs, FL - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Riding Star Ranch, Inc
Project Leader:
Dawn Schmertmann
Punta Gorda, FL United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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