Lindsey and her mom

Co-Founded by Kay Barkwill and Cathy Dodson, Horses with Hearts (HwH) is the enduring legacy of a most amazing young lady, Lindsey Connelly. In 1999, when she was only eight years old, the child had just undergone surgery for a cancerous tumor on her brain stem. The effects of the surgery left this once very healthy and vital girl blind and in a wheelchair barely able to move most of her body.

Over time, as Kay got to know Lindsey, her heart was overwhelmed by the girl’s love and unwavering determination to live life to its fullest despite her circumstances. Prior to her illness, Lindsey loved to ride. It became clear to Kay that there had to be a way to allow her to ride again.

Teaming up with Cathy and following hours of research, the dream was born. That dream would allow Lindsey and others with special challenges to experience the joy and growth made possible through their interaction with gentle yet big-hearted horses.

Lindsey brought smiles everywhere she went. It is from her inspiration that the Horses with Hearts motto developed — Create a Smile, Grow confidence, Change a life!

In March 2006, Lindsey, who moved to North Carolina, was diagnosed with another cancerous tumor and sadly passed from our lives in July of that year. While this awe-inspiring child was not able to again ride a horse herself, it was her example in courage, strength and positivism that inspired and launched Horses with Hearts. Thanks to Lindsey, since 2005, hundreds of people have experienced the life-altering benefits of horseback riding.

Horses with Hearts is Lindsey’s legacy. And it’s in her memory that we will continue to pursue the dream – to grow, bring hope and strength to others through riding and interacting with the creatures she adored and the people she so captured with her unflagging love of life.