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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

Contactus@joyridecenter.org

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

JOYRIDE THERAPEUTIC CENTER

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.

JOYRIDE TEAM

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

JoyRide Adviser
PATH Intl. Registered Therapeutic Riding Instructor
PATH Intl. Mentor
Education Specialist
Licensed Psychological Associate in Private Practice

dblackmon@joyridecenter.org

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 an adviser to JoyRide Center.  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

CMcCollum@joyridecenter.org

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

pwagner@joyridecenter.org

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

fundraising@JoyRideCenter.org

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 & Titan

Paige Finke

Nellie Schmidt

Equine/facility Coordinator & Equine Trainer

nschmidt@joyridecenter.org

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.

Mindy Wiper

Instructor

Mindy started riding horses 28 years ago in Conroe, Texas.  She studied and competed in Dressage, Hunter/Jumpers, and Eventing.  She began her professional instruction Career 20 years ago when she started running a horseback riding program at Camp Timberlane for Boys in Northern Wisconsin.

Mindy attended Texas A&M University, and graduated with honors and a BA in Literature.  She rode on and competed with the Texas A&M equestrian team pre-title 9.  After A&M, Mindy taught and trained in Conroe and received her American Riding Instructors Certification, Level II Dressage and Eventing.  She then went into the outdoors classroom, and attended the National Outdoor Leadership School.  There she got to learn horsepacking as well as other modes of outdoor travel.

Lee Ruonavaara, PT, DPT, HPCS

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

lee@joyridecenter.org

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

 

Emma@joyridecenter.org

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.

Emma Lean

Physical Therapist

 

 

Cindy Yelverton

Day Program Manager

cyelverton@joyridecenter.org

 

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