At Horses of Hope the staff has more than 100 years of combined experience in the field.  Our therapeutic riding instructors are all certified or are in-training through the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (PATH INTL).  The majority of the Horses of Hope staff members are at Level 1 certification through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association, and continue to grow professionally through continuing education opportunities.   



Shelly McColmShelly McColmShelly McColm

Executive Director/Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor

  McColm brings nearly 30 years of experience to Horses of Hope. In the world of therapeutic riding, she is sought as a presenter and speaker on a national level. McColm is a two-time graduate of Kansas State University with master’s degrees in human development and family studies. McColm is educationally prepared to fully understand and work with the needs of the clients, their families, volunteers, and the staff in the many programmatic offerings at Horses of Hope, including certification completion. Preparedness met opportunity as the many years served as a Cooperative Extension 4-H Youth Development Specialist and an Educational Cooperative Specialist experiences supported her commitment to co-found and develop the successful therapeutic riding program - Horses of Hope Riding Center Inc. nearly ten years ago.  McColm has a commitment to provide unique, innovative and invaluable programming while helping people of all ages and bringing enhancement and enrichment to local communities.  



Vallerie Sweeton  

Head Certified Therapeutic Riding/Driving Instructor/Physical Therapist Assistant/AHA Level 1


Vallerie SweetonVallerie Sweeton

Sweeton has committed her life to exploring the connections between human and horse. She is the co-founder of Horses of Hope Riding Center Inc. She has been a PATH registered instructor since 1997 and a PATH certified driving instructor since 2002. She has obtained the Level 1 Certification with the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association. She is sought as a presenter on a national level and has consulted and appeared in numerous national publications such as: Western Horseman, The Trail Less Traveled, Quarter Horse Journal and The Trail Rider. Part of her desire and commitment to improve Horses of Hope involved going back to school to earn an associate degree as a physical therapist assistant. Sweeton earned her degree in July 2007 and currently holds a permanent license as well as being an American Hippotherapy Level 1 Therapist.   Her college studies included how the horses' movement normalizes the movement of a person with movement dysfunction.  


Mycah McColmMycah McColmMycah McColm

Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor/Show Team Hope Coordinator/Equine Experiential Education Specialist

McColm has been a volunteer for Horses of Hope for ten years and is currently a certified PATH riding instructor and able bodied riding instructor.  Mycah has  competed at the state and national level in the AQHA and APHA with an APHA World Championship and numerous Top 10 finished in the Youth and Amateur AQHA World Championship Shows.  She has many professional associations in the livestock and horse industries. 



Shannon StewartShannon StewartShannon Stewart, Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and Equine Experiential Education Specialist

 Shannon Stewart was born in Hampton, VA and spent 40 years living in Southeastern Arizona before moving to Bolivar, Missouri in September of 2013.  She began taking riding lessons at the age of 4 in Tucson, AZ and has been riding horses ever since.  She got her first horse at the age of 8 and joined 4-H at the age of 9.  She began her 10 year horseshow career at the age of 10 in the Paint Horse circuit under the guiding wing of her trainer and mentor, as well as showing in open circuit and 4-H shows.  She trained her horse to compete in Western and English Pleasure, as well as Trail and Hunter Jumper.  She went on to win various champion, reserve champion and high point awards while furthering her career in 4-H as an advanced rider,  junior leader and eventually club President.  She began instructing and training professionally at the age of 20 and in 2008 was certified as a P.A.T.H Int’l Registered Instructor.  She also co-founded Hero Hearts EquiCenter Therapeutic Riding Center in Sierra Vista, AZ in 2008 and worked with adults and children with special needs, as well as active duty and military veterans and their families.  .  In March of 2013 she earned her Mind Body Wellness Practitioner diploma and is a certified holistic nutritionist, life coach, and hypnotherapist.  She focuses on helping clients of all ages to heal mentally, emotionally, and physically and achieve happy, balanced lives.  She began volunteering with Horse of Hope in November of 2013, and in March of 2014 was hired as a staff member and Equine Experiential Education Specialist.




Our Therapists

Tammy Lux, PT  

Support Staff

 Sandford Qualls, Barn Management

Jim Harper, Barn Management 

Will Morris, Certified Therapeutic Riding Instructor and  Assistant Show Team Hope Coordinator