Horse riding for 68 people with disabilities

by Happy Trails Riding Center
Jun 19, 2014

Summer Fun 2014

A worthy cause
A worthy cause

When you visit Happy Trails Riding Center, you’ll discover it’s anything but your average riding center – it’s so much more! This local 501c3 nonprofit started in 2006 and offers horse riding lessons, camps and events. Happy Trails emphasizes service to people with disabilities and special needs. Their classes are not only therapeutic – they are fun, safe and educational. All instructors are certified by Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship. This nonprofit is truly a community effort - powered by loving horses, committed instructors and volunteers and is primarily funded by generous donations. Local organizations such as the Lake Oswego Rotary, Lake Oswego Lions, Boy Scouts, National Charities League and The Lake Oswego High School are some of the groups that have contributed funds or volunteer hours. Last year alone, Happy Trails provided over 300 riding experiences. Happy Trails Riding Center continually makes a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and special needs. Below is a school assignment that one the participants wrote about how Happy Trails is her oasis.

                                                           My Oasis by Emily

            The place I feel safe and my emotions can run freely would be Happy Trails. The barn is my oasis because I feel comfortable and open to myself when I am there. This is my favorite place to be when I just need a break from my life. Therapeutic horseback riding was the best thing that ever happened to me. I get really excited when I get to go to the barn and nothing can bring me down.

            When I go to Happy Trails, the first thing I see is the arch of trees forming a tunnel and the mossy old fence with the splintering wood. I breathe the dusty air while I drag my feet into the drenched mud pathway.   My leather boots leave behind footprints as I walk into the barn. The flies are swarming around the hay and the tack room kittens are chewing on the braided reins. My horse’s silk fur is glistening in the sunlight as I brush him. The rusted bit slides into my horse’s mouth when we put on the reins. I mount onto the shimmering saddle and take him to a trot. When I am trotting on Kobe in the cold arena I feel like I am flying. When the lesson is over I hop off and bring his head to my chest and gently step away.

            Being at the barn has changed my life. I have learned so much about horses and how to take care of them. If I couldn’t go to the barn I don’t know what I would do. My family and I have made lots of great friends at Happy Trails. Everyone needs an oasis because you need a place to feel safe and just be you. You need to have a place to express your feelings and to be happy. Happy Trails is absolutely my oasis because it makes me happy and I can visit there all the time. Happy Trails is my safe place, a place I can escape from my life, a place to be me, my oasis.

Upcoming Summer Events:

Saturday, June 21st –Summer Day Camp 10-1:00 (kids & adults)

Saturday, July 19th Movie Night

Saturday, July 26th – Cowboy Casino Fundraiser in Happy Trails Arena

Saturday, August 9th Ride-A-Thon (play day)

Saturday, September 13th- Fall Barn Dance with City of West Linn Parks Department


Classes and camps registration is available through the City of West Linn Parks Department as well as scheduled directly with Happy Trails.

To learn more:



Call: 503.351.0134

Emily & Kobe
Emily & Kobe

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Organization Information

Happy Trails Riding Center

Location: West Linn, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Happy Trails Riding Center
Project Leader:
Nicole Budden
West Linn, Oregon United States

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