History of SMILES

The story of SMILES begins in 1985 with four borrowed horses and four borrowed saddles.

Our founder, Sherry Monty, started with equine assisted therapies and activities once a week for individuals with special needs. As the demand for the services grew steadily Sherry knew her private residence wasn't going to be able to support the need. In 1990, Sherry purchased 35 vacant acres to build the current SMILES facility.



Today SMILES is a 35-acre, premier accredited riding center in Darien, WI. We have 19 therapeutic horses, a staff of 8, and 150 volunteers.

SMILES provides both mounted and unmounted programs for individuals, ages 4 years old and above. Our programs strive to serve individuals with physical, emotional, and cognitive disabilities. Our instructors adapt lesson plans to work towards the individual goals of their clients.

We have provided 3,645 units of service for our 170 clients a year as of 2022 data.

Our property consists of hay fields, the SMILES administrative office, an indoor heated and cooled riding arena, an outdoor sensory trail and arena, a 20-horse stall barn, a large machine shed for equipment and storage, and a pole barn for hay storage.


SMILES operates as a working farm that has 20 acres of hay fields. This allows us to produce enough hay for our horses in a typical year. In 2022, we had a very successful hay crop at SMILES, growing almost 4,000 bales of hay.

Through the powerful partnership between a horse and a person; improving their skills and attaining their therapeutic goals, moves them closer to their maximum potential of capability and self-sufficiency.


SMILES improves both the lives and living skills through equine assisted therapies.


Have more questions? Contact us!




"From the volunteers to instructors to the loving horses, everyone is amazing with their patience, skills, passion, and love for the kids/adults and animals."

Parent of SMILES Client

"The HEARTS program has given her so much encouragement to succeed. - She is feeling all different emotions. Thanks so much!"

Parent of SMILES Client

"As a mom of a child with Autism and Epilepsy, it was also very nice to be able to talk to other parents during the sessions. We were able to share stories and exchange numbers for future get-togethers. We both made life long friends because of this program!"

Parent of SMILES Client