"Therapeutic riding is based on creating a true partnership between horse and human based on love, trust and respect."

Our Mission

Spirit Strides offers developmental support to physically and mentally challenged people using an equine-assisted approach to recreational and physical therapy. This non-traditional therapeutic practice empowers clients to enhance their sensory-motor abilities, cognitive and communication skills, their behavioral and emotional health, and social and leisure skills through professionally guided horsemanship experiences. Spirit Strides is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit tax organization.

"Horses don’t care who you are, what you’ve done, or what you believe. They care only about how you behave with them."

- Tim Hayes, Horse Whisperer

Our Vision

We provide comprehensive, high quality riding programs to help each rider realize their own potential. Our program reflects upon Jefferson County as a progressive community for equine-assisted therapy and its positive outcomes. Riders with physical disabilities find that their time on the horse provides a calming effect even after the lesson is over. We hope to provide riders normalcy and a sense of independence which may be difficult for them to achieve elsewhere.

Our Programs

Therapeutic Riding

Equine-Assisted Activities

Humans and horses have a long history. Horses have evolved from being hunted to becoming life-long companions. Many riders have personal stories of emotional and spiritual bonding with their horses. These poignant personal stories touch our hearts and along with evidence-based research, therapeutic riding is now recognized as a powerful healing tool.

For those who need help with balance and muscle control, therapeutic riding is particularly beneficial to children and adults with autism, spina bifida, or other physical disabilities.

Those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who have trouble focusing or those who have suffered emotional trauma will benefit from therapeutic riding or equine-assisted activities such as focused concentration games, horse care and horse/rider bonding activities.

Each rider receives intensive and individual instruction from a therapeutic team which includes a certified therapeutic riding instructor and two or more volunteers.

If you would like to know more about our programs, please email us at spiritstrides@gmail.com or give us a call at 636-524-5656.

"The horse is the perfect mirror, they are very emotional beings; we're only starting to realize how intelligent they are."

- Gabrielle Gardner, therapist, Shine For Life


Brenda Gilliam's love-affair with horses began at the tender age of five years old. Her grandfather would hoist her onto the horses and together they would ride the farm for hours.

After careers in the business world and as a special education teacher, Brenda realized her dream of providing horse therapy program services in 2012 when she established Spirit Strides Therapeutic Riding.

Brenda became a PATH International certified professional and began lessons in 2015. Over the next two years Spirit Strides partnered with Disability Resource Association and Next Step for Life. Her lessons are designed for the goals and needs of each individual client, often with input from the parents, therapists, health care providers, and educators.


Volunteering at Spirit Strides is very rewarding. It is more than donating your time and skills. Do you prefer being around horses or children? Maybe you would rather help out with office duties? Volunteering can provide a great opportunity for you to learn a new skill, meet some fabulous people and perhaps get a little bit of physical fitness.

Regardless of how you would like to make an impact, know that a simple donation of time spent volunteering will help the lives of the riders, their families and improve the Jefferson County community.

We would love to hear about your special skills and talents! If you would like to Volunteer with us, please email us at vcspiritstrides@gmail.com.


Mother of rider:

"Our daughter loves Spirit Strides. We weren't sure how she was going to do with it at first because she is easily over-stimulated and has an extremely short attention span. All of our worries were quickly put to rest as she completed more of each session without fuss. After the first few sessions, she seemed more eager to complete the activities. Our daughters time spent at SS has had a positive and lasting influence on her development and we highly recommend them."

Volunteer / Walker:

"Some clients come to us and can't sit on a horse but after Brenda works with them they can ride the arena! Sometimes it's the case where this is a riders first time wearing a helmet. Brenda is amazing with these kids and the horses are so well behaved."

Parent of a rider:

"My son continues to learn so much during his Therapeutic Equine sessions at Spirit Strides. He was learned a new level of confidence and problem solving skills without anger or defeat. Brenda challenges him but also consistently encourages him with positivity and praise. He shows patience and diligence and success with the horses and the best part is that he can also use the skills he learns at equine during social interactions in his daily life."

Volunteer / Barn helper:

"Volunteering at Spirit Strides has helped with my self-confidence and sense of purpose. The experience has truly changed me."

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a human."

- Winston Churchill


We love what we do and the lives that we impact. We absolutely love our horses and the other farm animals at the center. All of the animals take a lot of care. Along with a successful therapeutic program comes additional needs. Without continued financial support, our programs would simply not exist.

We appreciate donations in any amount.

You can support us by sending a donation directly to our PayPal account or open up the PDF below to see what is on our Wish List and have it shipped directly to the center.

Thank you in advance for wanting to support our program.

We always appreciate donations to help us operate our facility. Below are items you can donate and know that we will put them to good use:

  • Mixed grass hay or orchard grass hay
  • English saddle leathers
  • Horse side pulls/bitless bridles
  • Helmets ASTM certified (adults & children)
  • Grooming brushes
  • Hand hold straps
  • Cones (all sizes)


While we may be busy caring for the animals at the center and teaching lessons, we will do our best to quickly reply. You can email us at spiritstrides@gmail.com or give us a call at 636-524-5656. Your contact information well never be sold or shared.



From St. Louis, go west on MO-30:

Turn left on State Road Y, and go 6 miles, Spirit Strides is on left at 7833 State Road Y.

Look for the yellow mail box and Spirit Strides Therapeutic Riding sign.

From St. Louis, go south on Hwy 21:

Turn right onto MO-21 North State Hwy B (where Hwy 21 ends),

Stay on Hwy B (go 5.5 miles),

Turn left onto State Hwy C (go 4.5 miles),

Turn right onto State Hwy Rd Y/Grubville Ware Rd (go 3.1 miles).

Spirit Strides is on the right at 7833 State Road Y.

Look for the yellow mail box and Spirit Strides Therapeutic Riding sign.

Our mission is to change lives with therapeutic horse riding in a safe, caring, Christian setting.