SMILES Quarterly Newsletter

Rachel Lincoln

Horse Sponsorship Needed - Meet Lincoln

Howdy! My name is Lincoln and I am currently looking for that special someone! I like to describe myself as big boned with a big heart. I am an 18 year-young Percheron who is currently in my 5th year of service at SMILES. I’m known around the barn as a fun-loving guy with a playful nature, but when it comes to my job, I’m all business.

I came to SMILES all the way from Manhattan, New York where I was used in Central Park as a trail horse for tourists. Prior to my life in the big city, I was used at a therapeutic riding center for veterans before they had to close.

I like leather-scented candles, the smell of fresh-cut alfalfa, and sharing a cool drink at the automatic waterer with someone special. I had a sponsor once and wish to have that feeling back again! I love being able to write letters and share stories with my sponsor throughout the year. With your donation of $125/month ($1,500 per year) not only will you receive quarterly updates, but will also have your name displayed on my stall, in the lobby, and on our website! This donation helps cover the cost of my monthly feed, farrier, and vet expenses.


Receive Quarterly Updates

Display your name on the stall, in the lobby, and on our website as the sponsor

If you would like to be that special someone for me, please email Katie Boss at classes@smilestherapeuticriding.org with any questions!

Meet the New Instructors

Cori and Bullet

Meet Cori

Cori went to Rockford Career College for massage therapy in 2012. This was the first condensed class to complete a license in 10 months with a graduation at 12 months. She graduated in 2013 and started working in a Spa and Chiropractic setting for the next 5 years. She then received her paraprofessional certification and worked at her daughter’s school for one year working with kids with IEP’s (Individual Education Plans) and special needs. Since then, Cori has been home raising her daughters and working on her own farm and horses.

Cori’s love for horses started at the age of 13 when her father bought her, her first weanling. She spent time in show barns when she was of high school age working off her board doing chores, showing, and giving riding lessons. She moved to Wisconsin 2 years ago and now has her own horse breeding program. She was inspired to work at SMILES to help others, spread kindness, and make a difference in peoples and animals lives as well as her own.

Melinda and Holly

Meet Melinda

Melinda was born in Cedar Rapids, IA, and lived there until she was 12. She then moved to Beloit, WI. Her fondest memories of living in Iowa was caring for her chickens and sheep on her family's farm. She's always been an animal lover and it was her dream to one day have her own little farm.

In 2014, her family moved to a farm on the west side of Beloit. Her husband of almost 21 years have three incredible teenage boys. Her family enjoys sporting events, hiking, and swimming together in the summer. They also enjoy taking care of their farm together. They have three horses, one mini horse, three dogs, two goats, chickens, and ducks.

Melinda and her sons volunteered together for Meals on Wheels throughout the years. Her love for horses, combined with helping people, brings her so much joy. She's very excited to learn and grown with the SMILES family!


At the start of the year, we knew that we wanted to get more people through our doors. In our Spring Session, SMILES has 119 clients attending. With clients requiring anywhere from one to three volunteers to assist them, we need 200 volunteers every single week! Therefore how do we get people to visit the barn and see the magic that happens here?

Katie Luessenhop, SMILES' Volunteer Coordinator, came up with the great idea of a New Volunteer Open House! On Saturday, February 18th, we had 16 potential class volunteers come to the SMILES facility. We welcomed them with a few short videos about SMILES and how volunteering at SMILES can make a positive impact on our clients. They were able to view a wonderful class in action and meet a few of the horses and current volunteers. The New Volunteer Open House was successful, with many of them signing up to be trained as a class volunteer!

Are you looking to make a difference in the community?


Fundraising Events Recap

SMILES depends on the fundraising events throughout the year to help with costs of facility, horses, programming, and more. Our first fundraiser of the year was the Super SMILES Bowl in early February, raising $1000! Congratulations to the winners of this fun game that received $100 worth of SMILES logowear!

Our second fundraiser of the year, the Valentine's Day Fundraiser, was a little different this year. Our horses were looking for love and each had a dating profile! Supporters could buy their favorite horse(s) a valentine and show them some love. The horse with the most valentines at the end of the fundraiser would become the 2023 SMILES Sweetheart of the Year! This fundraiser raised $2,240 and the supporters made sure that their favorite had a chance at being a winner! Although it was a very close race at the end between multiple horses, the 2023 SMILES Sweetheart of the Year is Chili! Congratulation Chili!

Our annual virtual tack sale took place on March 17-20. This event was in person until 2020 when the COVID pandemic hit. Since then, we thought that having it online would provide more people the opportunity to attend the event via the Internet and shop from the comfort of their homes. This event requires a lot of time to put everything together, but with the help of 13 volunteers, all tack was cleaned, organized, logged, and photographed. Our tack and all items that we sell are donated to us by our amazing community. We collect it year-round in the hope that when tack sale time comes around we have something for everyone!

If you have tack laying around that you aren't using and would like to donate, please contact Emily Willert, Marketing and Development Coordinator.

262-882-3470, Option 6


Sponsorship Opportunities


The Mane Event Golf Outing: June, 21, 2023

Horseshoe Hole Sponsor - $100

Majestic Mare - $500

Grand Sire - $1,000

Bronze Bales - $2,000

Silver Saddle - $4,000

Golden Grain - $6,000

Platinum Performance - $9,000


SMILES Horse Shows

Class Sponsor - $40 per class or $100 for 3 classes

Daily High Point Buckle Sponsor - $250

Show Sponsor - $500

Presenting Sponsor - $1,500

Fundraiser Happening Now

Raising Funds For a New Therapy Horse - Help Us Name Her

We are growing our herd! Horse trainer and clinician, Ray Ainsworth from Mississippi has found us the perfect horse and we need your help to bring her to SMILES. No donation is too small, every dollar counts!

Sadly, she doesn't have a name, so we need your help to come up with one! For every $100 that you donate, you can write a possible good name for our new mare! On April 22-28 the top 3 names will be voted on.

Donate all $5,500 and you can come up with a name for her!

What We Know About Her:

She is as quiet, as she is sweet! She is from Mississippi and is a 9-year-old, 14.2-14.3 hands tall, Quarter Horse. Her color is called sorrel and she looks similar to our current therapy horse Chili!

Our therapy horses are a variety of breeds and sizes. This helps SMILES accommodate our clients with the best fit for them.

Judy and Kurtis

New Horse at the Barn - Meet Judy

Our herd has expanded by one beautiful 14-year-old Percheron cross mare. Judy arrived at SMILES on February 16th and quickly settled in. Judy came to us from the 'ole west, where she was used on a Dude Ranch to carry guests safely out to explore the terrain and learn the western way of life. She also packed elk in Colorado! As she sheds out her beautiful long black coat and you may see multiple brands from the different ranches she has worked at. Judy has joined the draft herd, and has quickly made friends with Lincoln, Buster, and Sarah. She is sweet and gentle and has already enjoyed meeting so many of our volunteers. Once she is fully settled in, she will begin to learn the ropes of being a horse at SMILES, and we are so excited to see how she does! Be sure to look for her in class during the Spring Session! As quiet and gentle as she is now, we are confident she will handle her training with ease!

Thank you Kurtis and Katie Boss for going to pick up Judy from Illinois!