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Horses Building Trust

Posted on: December 08, 2020 by SmartPak

   Every day, SmartPak is on a mission to support healthy horses and happy riders. As part of this, we get the opportunity to connect with thousands of equestrians who share their experiences and we are honored to share the incredible things horses do to inspire, heal, and motivate the people around them.

Horses Building Trust is the fourth story in this SmartPak video series, bringing you into the barns of unique horses – from treasured therapy horses to the underdog-turned-Olympic-hopeful – showing how they’ve made an impact on the lives of their riders, and why we at SmartPak continue supporting these horses and riders through their journey.

We’re proud to be donating 5% of sales on SmartPak brand tack and apparel on December 10th and 11th to the team at Ebony Horsewomen as well as partner with our friends at Ariat to provide a donation of quality products for the riders and staff there.

Ebony Horsewomen Inc. is located within the city of Hartford, Connecticut. Driving along Vine Street in the middle of an urban neighborhood, you wouldn’t expect to suddenly come upon a horse farm. But, as you turn onto the property, the horses in the paddock welcome visitors with a soft eye and a whinny. SmartPak made a trip to the facility to visit with the staff and students to learn more about the horses who make the program possible.

Patricia Kelly founded Ebony Horsewomen in 1984 with the mission to empower youth through education, horsemanship, and equine-assisted therapy. Since then, students have the opportunity to attend various programs including Junior Mounted Patrol, Young Ladies Leadership Dressage Academy, and Saturday Saddle Club. These programs are run by professional instructors, many of whom are alumni of the program.

Inside the barn, you’ll find a library of books and an education center where students are brought for equine health education classes. They learn everything from signs of colic, to proper nutrition for the horse, and more. They even utilize some of SmartPak’s educational videos for lessons. Aside from the riding and equine education portion of the program, Ebony Horsewomen is also an agricultural center. Students have the opportunity to grow food in the on-site garden, and then learn how to prepare healthy meals in the kitchen.

What stands out the most when visiting the farm is the family atmosphere that has been developed. The staff is incredibly passionate about what they do and truly cares for the wellbeing of the kids and the horses. For the students, you can see the sheer joy on their faces when they are at the barn with their favorite horse and their friends. Many of the kids, while shy to the camera at first, opened up and told us stories about their achievements in riding and which horse they like riding the best. From the smallest pony on the property to the oldest and wisest schoolmaster – each horse has had an important impact on the riders that love them.

These horses and this facility provide a safe haven for the kids, but unfortunately, the farm has not been without its own struggles. During our visit, the Hartford area was heavily impacted by a tropical storm. The surrounding properties and even parts of the farm sustained heavy damage. However, seeing the resilience of the staff was the best kind of humbling. The team at Ebony Horsewoman didn’t hesitate for a moment before getting to work to make sure their kids still had a place to be with the horses. Seeing their unwavering dedication in the face of adversity felt like being witness to the core of what Ebony Horsewoman is about, empowering each other.

SmartPak is honored to support programs like Ebony Horsewomen, so that the program leaders like Mrs. Kelly can continue to provide valuable resources for their students and their horses. We hope you enjoy the story of Horses Building Trust!

Ebony Horsewomen is able to provide services to their riders as a result of the generous backing from the equestrian community. For more information on ways you can help support Hearts & Horses, visit their website

*On December 10th and 11th, 2020, SmartPak will be donating 5% of sales of SmartPak brand tack, equipment, and supplies (up to $8,500) to Ebony Horsewomen. Anyone who would like to make their own contribution can do so by visiting

For more videos in this series check out:

Horses as Healers

Horses with Heart

Horses giving Hope

Do you know a rider or facility that deserves to be featured on the SmartPak Blog? Tell us more here: