"A horse is the projection of peoples’ dreams about themselves-strong, powerful,
beautiful-and it has the capability of giving us escape from our mundane existence."
Bonnie has had two passions for most of her life, horses and people. She has been fortunate enough to pursue them both throughout her lifetime. She has a long history of showing horses since she was 9 years old. Favorite classes were reining and cutting but also showed halter, pleasure, and speed events. She put herself through college breaking and training, buying and selling horses. Later she established Riley Paint Horses, a breeding operation that has sold registered show horses all over the United States. She is also a Licensed Psychologist in Private Practice in Boonville, Mo. as well as a CHA instructor.
In 1992, her son Bart had a very serious accident which left him permanently and severely disabled. This opened the door to a whole community of other people with disabilities which added another dimension to her original two passions. She had always wanted to combine her two loves in some way, and was always wondering how she could share these wonderful animals with others. The newfound affinity for those with disabilities gave her the avenue in which to do that. In the fall of 2010, she formed a 501©3 corporation that could offer riding skills, therapeutic riding, and equine assisted psychotherapy to those with disabilities as well as able bodied folks who just want to be close to a horse. She says this is the most exciting and heartwarming venture she has ever pursued.
"Riding a horse is not a gentle hobby, to be picked up and laid down like a game of Solitaire. It is a grand passion."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Lifelong horse trainer and trainer of kids on horseback. Lives in Boonsboro, Missouri. Owns and manages a large cattle ranch in Boonsboro. Has competed in rodeos involving Roping, Heading & Heeling, and Steer Wrestling. Bentley has trained many local youths to do rodeo competitions. He is also a CHA instructor.
Lifelong horse trainer and trainer of kids on horseback. Lives in Prairie Home, Missouri. Along with being a bus driver, he is extensively experienced in showing horses in pleasure and speed events. He has owned and operated a horse breeding operation for over 30 years. Everett has also taught many young people to ride and show. Everett is a certified CHA instructor. (AKA - The Horse Whisperer, as the volunteers call him.)
Everett and Bentley, one of many conversations between instructors.
501 (c) 3 Nonprofit Organization
During the first 10 years of her life, Elizabeth, spent her days learning the ropes of a working 30,000 acre ranch in West Texas with her parents and five siblings. After moving to WV in 1994, she continued her ranch/equine education by working with her father on a cattle ranch, practicing vital animal husbandry and land management for her mom and a local farmer, raising and training her own horses, giving lessons consistently since the age of 15, exercising and warming up cutting horses, barrel racing and pole bending all over the east coast and some in the mid-west, and soaking up all of the information she could regarding horses, their health, and different training theories and practices.
Her animal experience includes horses (mostly Quarter Horses and Arabians), cattle, goats, sheep, chickens, a few buffalo, dogs and cats. Her equine experience includes disciplines such as barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, cutting, team penning, sorting, ranch horse events, trail events and some hunter experience just for fun. She has also increased her education of hoof care and does a natural balance trim on all of her own horses. This widespread education and experience allows her to apply the most beneficial training practice for each individual horse and rider while pursuing more knowledge and training to become a better horsewoman tomorrow than she was yesterday.
Eventually, she became the equine manager for three years at the ranch she worked at as a youth. Following this experience she spent seven years as the equine specialist at an at-risk residential ranch for teens. During this experience she gained valuable training in crisis management and prevention, equine husbandry and training to keep lesson horses safe and reliable partners, provided weekly horsemanship lessons with up to 26 youth, and supervised community service work while working with a team of office staff and house parents. She was also pursuing her BA in Social Science and a minor in Business Administration during this period as well as working with the ranch counselor doing Equine Assisted Psychotherapy and Equine Assisted Learning with their students after attaining certification as the Equine Specialist with EAGALA.
After completing her BA, Elizabeth pursued a mentor position at an all girls therapeutic boarding school catering to national and international students. However, due to health issues from being exposed to so many different individuals from different countries, she again pursued her passion of horsemanship by operating a training and lesson facility in WV prior to moving to MO in January 2017. A unique aspect that makes Elizabeth a great fit for our team is her experience overcoming a childhood trauma and gaining wisdom and guidance through her husband, family, counselor, friends and church family. Her equine experience, teaching experience, and therapeutic background offer a great balance for Riley Equine Center to grow and continue to be a center for growth and discovery in our community.