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.

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!

Debbie Blackmon

Director of Operations.
PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor
PATH Intl. Mentor
Education Specialist
Licensed Psychological Associate in Private Practice

Debbie began volunteering at JoyRide Center in January 2012. She quickly realized that she wanted to be more deeply involved in the therapeutic riding profession. A retired Licensed Specialist in School Psychology, with additional certifications in deaf education, early childhood, and English as a Second Language, Debbie found therapeutic riding to be fascinating and remarkably effective on many levels. Her background as a hunter rider added to her appreciation of the value of this unique therapeutic modality. She completed an instructor training program, and become a PATH Registered Instructor in Therapeutic Horseback Riding.  She returned to her first love, teaching, when JRC Prep was started.  Debbie currently functions as the Director of Operations for JoyRide Center. She continues to teach JRC Prep while overseeing the rest of the program. Debbie believes there are no limits to what equine therapies and activities can accomplish, and looks forward to miracles every day.

Cassie McCollum

PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor
PATH Intl. Mentor
Equine Program Manager

Cassie was born and raised in the Houston area and began riding at 5 years of age. She showed Arabian horses for several  years in all disciplines, but Saddle Seat is her favorite. Cassie has spent the majority of her life training, showing and teaching riding lessons. Her love of horses and helping others took her to a therapeutic riding center in the Dallas Area. Cassie enjoyed therapeutic riding so much she became a PATH INTL. certified instructor. Cassie enjoys being outdoors and staying active. She also serves on a committee for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.

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.

Jackie McDonald

Development/PR Manager
Founding Member

Jackie has been involved in therapeutic horseback riding for over 20 years, as an arena volunteer and as Fundraising Team Leader on both large and small events…everything from mailings, galas and grant writing. She served on Sire’s Board of Directors for 6 years before co-founding JoyRide. Jackie was recently awarded the 2017 PATH Region 8 Volunteer of the Year.  When she’s not planning a special event, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Bill, their children and grandchildren.

Paige Finke

Paige Finke

PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor
Equine Trainer
Volunteer Coordinator

Paige came all the way from Wisconsin to attend Texas A&M University, where she received a bachelors degree in Agriculture Leadership & Development with a minor in special education. While at Texas A&M Paige was a very involved member of the equine community, being part of the judging team as well as the rodeo team. However, this was not her first experience around horses! Horses have always been a big part of her life as she’s has been riding and showing since around the age of 4. She’s also competed in Pony Club, eventing, hunter/jumpers, and polocrosse. She now lives in Navasota with her husband Sloan, where she continues to train, coach, and compete in rodeo events when shes not at JoyRide!

Erin Malia

PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor
PATH Intl. Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning
PATH Intl. Mentor

Erin began volunteering at a therapeutic riding center as a teenager and loved sharing her passion for horses with many amazing individuals. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2004 with a degree in social work and became a PATH certified instructor in 2006. Her horse experience includes being an instructor in the hunter-jumper discipline, an equine veterinary technician and horse owner for many years. Erin is passionate about providing the best and most natural care for her horses and loves learning new ways to do so. In addition to being a therapeutic riding instructor, she is also an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. In her spare time she cares for a family of horses, dogs and cats, and enjoys the Texas sunshine riding her mare, Katie.

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 Ogzewalla

Emma Ogzewalla


Volunteer Coordinator
Development/ PR Associate

Emma is a Certified Equine Sports Massage Therapist. She graduated from Brigham Young University with a BS in Business Management, Experience Design and Management. While at school she helped to coordinate the efforts of 70 service organizations, 250+ leaders, and hundreds of student volunteers as a service council member. She also led the Horse For Healing program and volunteered at several therapeutic riding centers. Since 2008, she has given riding lessons and trained horses, and has been involved with therapeutic riding, including Special Olympics. She comes with lots of experience planning and managing large events. Currently she is riding a bay warmblood named Annie and working on her medals in dressage.

Susan Hudnall Hart, OT

On-Site Facility Assistant

Occupational Therapist
Path Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor

Susan has been an Occupational Therapist since 1997. She volunteered at Richmond State Supported Living Center in their horsebackriding program after being introduced to Special Olympics while serving as a police officer. While at University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, Susan volunteered at Hope Therapy and earned her certification as a therapeutic riding instructor and trained in hippotherapy. Upon graduation, Susan volunteered then later taught at SIRE. She left the industry for a while to focus on her own children. Susan and her sons enjoy trailriding and horse camping as well as 4H activities with their horses. Susan has recently returned to therapeutic riding with JoyRide and brings her sons as volunteers.

The JoyRide Center 2018 Board of Directors

2018 Board of Directors

Jake Leissner, President

Bill McDonald, Vice-President

Roger Wagner, Treasurer

Pat Lyons, Secretary

Madeline Brogan

Steve Rohr

Brian Wallace

Gwen Wilkins

Tammy Stewart

Advisory Board:

Dr. Kurt Heite, DVM

Kris Ward

Peggy Wagner

Jackie McDonald