The mission of the JoyRide Center is to help people with different abilities find more joy in life through equine-assisted activities and therapies, along with functional/life skills education.

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JoyRide Center

29550 Tudor Way
Magnolia, Texas 77355

OFFICE: (281) 356-5900

FAX: (281) 356-5901

Believing in the unique abilities within all people, JoyRide Center strives to be a place where the impossible can become possible.


JoyRide Center was established in 2009 as a Therapeutic Horsemanship Center with the mission of helping people with different abilities find more joy in life through equine-assisted activities and therapies, along with functional/life skills education.  JoyRide Center pursues its mission by providing opportunities for all participants to increase competence through the development of functional skills across multiple domains, and to participate productively within a community.  Competence and community are integral parts of JoyRide Center’s programs, and this emphasis has facilitated the enrichment of the lives of JoyRide Center’s clients, their families, and our volunteers.

The goal of our organization is to make the impossible into I’M POSSIBLE for our clients! We are a community that believes horses help us to learn, grow, and reach our full potential. Our program includes Hippotherapy, therapeutic horsemanship, vocational education and competitions and a VETERAN’S Program coming in 2020.

JoyRide Center clients are people with a wide range of (dis)ABILITIES, and pairing them with horses is a wonderful and natural thing. Not only is it an opportunity for fun, but horses walk almost exactly like people with the same rhythm and stride length, so it is physically therapeutic, also. Horses are the perfect companion to help people focus on their specific goals, whether that is to gain strength for walking, to improve their minds with problem solving or to learn how to have a friend, all while expanding their spirits by sharing the love of a wonderful animal with a group of dedicated volunteers and staff. Horses significantly enhance therapy outcomes based on their unique movements and their unconditional acceptance.


The JoyRide Team is the engine behind “making the impossible possible” for our clients. The staff is a caring group invested in the success of the clients and horses, and they use the highest levels of professionalism in their work. Team members are certified through PATH, “the credentialing organization for accrediting centers and certifying instructors and equine specialists”. Their warmth and expertise is felt as soon as you come to JoyRide.

We’re proud of who we are and what we do!

Peggy Wagner

Office Manager
Founding Member

Peggy graduated from the University of Texas with a BS in Elementary Education. She taught elementary, Jr. high and pre-school for 10 years. She spent 25 years as a volunteer staff member of SIRE, Houston’s Therapeutic Equestrian Center, serving as a board member for 16 years and receiving the Lifetime Humanitarian Award in 2008. She was a volunteer staff and board member at JoyRide until 2017, when she took the job of Office Manager, handling billing, database management and other administrative tasks. Peggy has owned and ridden horses for most of her adult life. She currently is owned by Nugget, a palomino gelding and Sadie, a black lab. Peggy enjoys attempting dressage, getting away to the Texas hill country with husband, Roger, and visiting daughter and son-in-law, Emily and Jake, in Colorado.

Terri A. Norris

Development/PR Manager

Terri comes to us with over 15 years of Non-profit development experience most recently with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Terri is the mother of 3 amazing adult children plus 2 bonus adults along with 2  amazing grand sons. Terri and her husband Harry are also the proud parents of two rescue Dobermans: Sir Duke & Tank

Paige Finke

Nellie Schmidt

Equine/facility Coordinator & Equine Trainer

After growing up with horses in the Texas Hill Country, Nellie took her love of people and horses to Asbury University in Lexington, Kentucky, where she double majored in Equine Studies and Psychology, focusing on Equine Facilitated Mental Health. While in Kentucky, Nellie participated in the school’s Police Mount training program and taught therapeutic riding lessons for class credit. Over the years, she has worked under reining trainers like Jesse & Stacy Westfall, interned at a Thoroughbred Re-schooling center and spent many years riding on various drill teams. When not at Joyride she can be found out at the barn with her Arabian Cross mare, Scout.

Jill Snell

PATH Intl Certified Instructor/VETERAN’S program coordinator

Jill has a Masters degree in Early Childhood education for the Handicapped and a Masters in Adaptive P.E. She has taught in public and private settings for over 30 years.  Jill has been around and has enjoyed riding family horses for most of life. She also comes from a long line of Military family members. Her philosphy is to see clients with her heart and address their needs with her mind.

Jill enjoys traveling with her husband Scott for over 30 years, visiting her daughter Meaghan and son Jarrod.

Lee Ruonavaara, PT, DPT, HPCS

Hippotherapy Coordinator
Licensed Physical Therapist
Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist
PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Lee is a Hippotherapy Clinical Specialist and Registered PATH Therapist. She has also been a Registered PATH Instructor since 2004. She has been the Texas Liason to the American Hippotherapy Association since 2009. Lee has presented at the Regional LSTN Conference and at National American Hippotherapy Conferences. In addition to hippotherapy, Lee has experience and training in neurorehabilitation, sensory integration and wound care. She received her Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2016 and Masters Degree in physical therapy in 1998 from Texas Women’s University, and  a BS in psychology from Ohio Wesleyan University (1992). Lee has loved horses all her life and continues to enjoy a good ride any day of the week!

Emma Lean

Interim Program Manager, Hippotherapy Coordinator


Emma has a Masters degree in Physical Therapy with a biomechanical and neuororthopedic rehabilitation focus. She is a Path Intl and American Hippotherapy Association Registered Therapist and Path Intl Registered Riding Instructor. She is also a certified Pilates instructor. Her passion is in the integration of hippotherapy,  biomechanics and  Pilates within the rehabilitation setting in order to maximize functional activity and sports performance. Emma has ridden horses all her adult life and continues her passion for anatomy by training in Equine massage therapy to keep our horses in good physical health along with our Riders.

Cindy Yelverton

Day Program Manager

Cindy is our Day Program Manager and instructor of our Preparatory Program. She has 4 decades in public education as a special education teacher and related services counselor. She is also a transition specialist for special needs populations and vocational adjustment coordinator.

The JoyRide Center 2020 Board of Directors

Jake Leissner, President

Bill McDonald, Vice-President

Roger Wagner, Treasurer

Gwen Wilkins, Secretary

Steve Rohr

Tammy Stewart

Rick Hornsby

    Advisory Board:

Dr. Kurt Heite, DVM

Kris Ward

Peggy Wagner

Jackie McDonald

Brian Wallace

Madeline Brogan