Smiling Goat Ranch is a nonprofit affiliate of The Horse Boy — using horses and small social animals to help people with autism and veterans with PTSD. The Horse Boy Foundation is a therapy program that uses an equine therapy that addresses the nervous system and builds neuroplasticity for autism, ADD and PTSD. Smiling Goat Ranch was founded in 2012 by Sheryl Barto and is located in Carbondale. Barto instantly fell in love with the idea of horse therapy after meeting the father of The Horse Boy Foundation, Rupert Isaacson, who developed the method out of personal experience with his son Rowan's autism. Smiling Goat Ranch runs solely on donations, grants and volunteer work. For more information, visit smilinggoatranch.com.
Volunteer Lt. Col. Dick Merritt salutes the veterans and other riders during their trail walk with the horses during their afternoon session at Smiling Goat Ranch. Founder and Executive Director Sheryl Barto (center) and a Smiling Goat Ranch volunteer lead the group of veterans on a trail walk with the horses. Veteran Kathryn Buckland pets therapy horse Alaska during the morning session with Smiling Goat Ranch. Veteran Raquel Patrick from Alabama relaxes on the back of a horse during her therapy session after spending the weekend with Huts for Vets, a Wilderness Therapy program for veterans. Veteran Justin Jackson traveled from Rogers, Arkansas, to spend the weekend with Huts for Vets and Smiling Goat Ranch. Lt. Col. Dick Merritt volunteers often with Smiling Goat Ranch, which is an affiliate of The Horse Boy — a program that uses several equine therapies that address the nervous system and builds neuro-plasticity for autism, ADD and PTSD. Veteran Raquel Patrick interacts with the mini horses and goats as part of the small animal therapy at Smiling Goat Ranch. Huts for Vets participants practice breathing techniques used for relaxation and calming during their afternoon session at Smiling Goat Ranch. Veteran Jane Chadwell traveled from Manhattan, NY, to spend the weekend in the wilderness with Huts for Vets and Smiling Goat Ranch. 11-year-old Alex Torres and volunteer Sadie Shoemaker plays with water guns on a hot morning at Smiling Goat Ranch. Five-year-old Mia Obreque and Smiling Goat Ranch Founder Sheryl Barto work together during an equine therapy lesson. Five-year-old Mia Obreque points to who she wants to pick during a game of tag with the horses and family members. Mia Obreque and founder of Smiling Goat Ranch Sheryl Barto play tag with other volunteers and family members during the equine therapy lesson. Five-year-old Mia Obreque gives a high five to her buddy Zane Hanlon, who volunteers at Smiling Goat Ranch. Five-year-old Mia Obreque smiles and giggles during her equine therapy lesson at Smilng Goat Ranch. Alex Torres, 11, and Smiling Goat Ranch Founder Sheryl Barto work together during his equine therapy lesson. Six-year-old Alexa Torres and Smiling Goat Ranch Co-Founder Karl Hanlon work together during her equine therapy lesson. Six-year-old Alexa Torres smiles and laughs during her equine therapy lesson at Smiling Goat Ranch.
All photos by PI Staff Photographer Chelsea Self. firstname.lastname@example.org