FHELC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization bringing therapeutic equine assisted services to Teller County, Colorado.

FHELC is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded by Stephanie Smith and Holly Fletcher. Holly’s daughter, Maddy was diagnosed with arthrogryposis and hearing loss at birth, and Holly became interested in therapeutic riding after hearing about it at a conference. Stephanie had been involved in many non-profit equine assisted programs since 2003 and was pursuing instructor certification when the two women met at church and quickly realized that they had the same vision – to bring therapeutic equine assisted services to Teller County, Colorado. The idea of FHELC was born, and the two got to work immediately putting the vision into reality.


  • FHELC gave its first lessons in January 2020 in Holly’s backyard barn, with one horse, one pony, and six clients. The program quickly outgrew Holly’s backyard despite Covid shut downs.
  • In November 2021, almost two years later, FHELC moved into a 12,720 square foot indoor equestrian facility on a 126-acre historic ranch, complete with outdoor arenas and access to national forest trails.
  • In 2022, FHELC became a PATH International Center member, being the only PATH center in a 70-mile radius offering 6 different Equine Assisted Services.
  • By end of year 2023, FHELC has served over 350 clients, is home to 12 horses, partners with 5 local schools and many other community organizations, and utilizes over 60 volunteers who have logged over 6000 hours of service.

Objectives Of FHELC Programs

  • Address the lack of options for services dedicated to people with special needs
  • Offer alternatives to traditional learning, coaching, mental and behavioral health services.
  • Offer hands on experiential approaches to learning
  • Help individuals become productive, self-sufficient members of society
  • Encourage individuals to reach their full potential of personal growth, independence, leadership, empathy and adapt effective communication skills
  • Strengthen the community
  • Offer volunteer service opportunities for the community interested in helping with our mission

Path® International Center Member

FELC is a member in good standing of PATH® (Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International).


Stephanie Smith

Equine Director,
Founder and Board Member

Stephanie has over 30 years of teaching, training, and riding experience including showing performance horses such as equitation, barrel racing, team penning, and other disciplines. She received her BS in Animal Agribusiness and Minor in Farm Management from Purdue University in 2001. She is also certified in early childhood education and social emotional development and is a PATH®️ certified instructor in both Therapeutic Riding and an Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning. Stephanie is also a certified PATH®️ mentor trainer. Stephanie has served in many non-profit equine assisted organizations since 2003, has worked with children and youth in many capacities including with the public schools, girls’ homes, and church ministry.

Holly Fletcher

Founder and Board Member

Holly is the parent of a child with a disability, and has been interested in equine-assisted services since she attended a workshop about hippotherapy at a conference in 2014. In 2016 she completed the Beyond Suffering course offered through the Joni and Friends organization. She created and implemented a program for Brookhaven Church, located in McKinney, TX for a special needs Sunday school to add to their Children’s ministry. Holly moved to Colorado in 2016, and continued to look for opportunities to minister to the special needs community. In 2020, she co-founded FaithfulHearts with Stephanie Smith. Holly has an MLA with an emphasis in English from Dallas Baptist University (2010) and teaches for DBU as an online instructor. Holly desires to bring more opportunities for special needs families to Teller County, and is excited to help offer access to affordable equine-assisted therapeutic activities.

Mandy Gallant

Barn Facilities

Mandy was born and raised in the south – Georgia. She grew up on a farm; raising horses, cows, chickens, and ducks and developed a passion for horses and the hard work that goes along with them at the early age of 5. Mandy, a PATH certified instructor, has experience in Cutting Horses, Western Pleasure, Showmanship, trail courses and Hunter / Jumpers. Her passion for horses has not changed.
Mandy served in the US Air Force for nine years, where she traveled and learned about new cultures and met new friends from all over the world. Mandy cherished her time serving her country and continues to learn about and support the Veteran community.
In her free time, Mandy enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters. Mandy also enjoys spending time outdoors.


tamara jack

Tamara Buttery

Board Chair

Tamara provides guidance and wisdom to the FHELC board and is tuned into the mission of equine assisted services in many capacities. She has served on the board of directors for several non profit organizations in the local area, and worked for a local church. She is an active and involved member of the community, advocates for our public schools and desires to serve Teller County residents with her unique skills and effervescent personality and storytelling abilities. She is a working board member, who volunteers many hours to FHELC.

Sam Crockett2

Samantha Kelley


Samantha is a parent, CPA and business owner in the community, she provides financial oversight and guidance to FHELC. She can leverage her contacts to aid in fundraising and connections to other local business owners and organization leaders to benefit FHELC. She had volunteered many hours of service to the organization, in order to better understand the services and impact.

Steve Jack 2

Steve Woolf


Steve is the former superintendent of the WPSD, and Erie Schools, as the founder and director of a non profit that serves school teachers, Steve provides much wisdom and guidance to FHELC. Steve also partners with FHELC to provide equine learning experiences for his teacher retreats. Steve is the parent of many foster children with unique challenges, and has much insight into the clients that we serve. Steve also advocates heavily for alternative learning opportunities for children in the public schools.


  • Affordable therapeutic equine assisted activities to achieve physical, social, and emotional goals.
  • Weekly group or private lessons, group classes, workshops and summer programs.
  • Workshops focused on leadership skills, relationship skills, self-confidence and self-awareness.
  • Basic horsemanship skill instruction including groundwork, team building activities, grooming activities, and a riding component.
  • Help participants learn and use social, emotional, physical and relationship skills along with Fruit of the Spirit virtues in horsemanship activities.​

  • Apply skills and virtues in relating to others, relating to horses, and to horse training.

  • Build physical, social and emotional confidence through horsemanship skills and activities.

  • Improved quality of life through participation in our program
  • Solace from the burdens and stresses of everyday life.
  • Form trusting connections in a loving environment.
  • Safely experience the joys and benefits of working with equines..
  • Learn to observe the horse’s body language, interpret it, and assess how to respond.
Individuals of all abilities/ children through senior adults are eligible for participation, within the following guidelines:
  • Must fill out an application, a health history form and provide a physician’s statement, or sports physical.
  • Applicants between the ages of 4-6 years of age* must have a diagnosis or referral from a medical or educational professional.
  • Participants without a medical diagnosis must be at least 7 years of age.
Height and Maximum Weight for Riding Activities:
  • Under 5’ 150 lbs
  • 5’ – 5’6” 175 lbs
  • 5’6” – 6’ 200 lbs
  • 6’1” – 6’5” 205 lbs
All applicants will be considered without discrimination of race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, income status, creed, ancestry, marital status, gender, physical disability, veteran’s status, political service or affiliation, color, religion, or national origin. *Children who are under 4 years of age must have a physical therapist present during their sessions who is certified with American Hippotherapy Association for participation in mounted activities

Eligibility of each applicant will be determined by the equine director, board of directors and careful consideration of all factors provided on application.
Factors that may disqualify individuals for participation:

  • Physical/ psychological/medical conditions that are contraindicated for equine assisted services as determined by the current PATH International Standards Manual, and the applicant’s medical provider.
  • Individuals with a history of animal abuse or fire starting.
  • Individuals whose body weight exceeds the limit for the available equines. (For Riding Activities Only)
  • Individuals whose condition or special need requires specialized equipment or specially trained staff that this facility does not currently have access to
  • Individuals whose behavior poses undue risks for equines, staff and/or volunteers.
  • Failure to pay for services or excessive amount of missed sessions

Yes, private riding lessons have limited availability, and are not eligible for discounts or scholarships.

Costs vary by program, see individual service section details for prices.

Monday through Friday 10-5, currently no weekends.

Call for availability, most after school times are on a wait list.

FHELC has a sponsorship fund dedicated to subsidizing the cost of services to individuals with a financial need. Please contact the office for a financial aid application. Funds are limited and may not be available at all times.

No, FHELC is not a boarding facility.

Please contact the equine director to discuss the equine donation process. FHELC will consider accepting donated horses that meet our criteria including:

  • Gelding
  • Under 20 years of age
  • Reasonably sound, and in good health
  • Rideable at a walk, trot and canter
  • Excellent ground manners
  • Gets along well in a herd

Lessons are offered in 9-week sessions during the school year. FHELC offers summer programs and workshops that are one to three days in length. 

Due to the sensitivity and confidential nature of some of our services, visitors must make an appointment, please contact the office.

Absolutely! There are volunteer duties for most people and abilities. Please see our volunteer section for details and applications.

No, FHELC does not file with any insurance or Medicaid. If you are seeing a licensed therapist or counselor, we may be able to contract with them to provide services as a collaborative partnership, and billing can be arranged through your provider.

Your prayers are much appreciated!

We take monetary donations to support horses, clients, and programs.

We accept volunteers.

We accept donations of tack and other equipment.

Spread the word!

Like/ Follow on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIN

Leave a Google review or Facebook review.

Sign up for our newsletter.

Become a business partner/sponsor.

CLICK HERE and see our donate page for ways to donate.

Yes, all major credit cards are accepted. Please see Billing Policy