Skip to main content

Southlake Style

Young Men’s Service League Presents “Ultimate Gift” to Amy’s Wish With Wings

Oct 24, 2016 07:49AM ● By Audrey Sellers

Photos by Joan Shockley

A special project was recently underway at Ride With Pride. The newly formed Young Men’s Service League (YMSL) Lakes and Keller chapters presented their first “Ultimate Gift” to Amy’s Wish With Wings, a Spirithorse therapeutic center that operates out of the Southlake horsemanship school.

YMSL, a mother/son service organization, challenges its members to give back to their communities through an “Ultimate Gift.” The goal is to have a transformational impact or create a profound and radical change.

“The first time the YMSL mothers and sons came into Amy’s Wish With Wings, we knew we wanted to present a sensory trail to this wonderful organization as an Ultimate Gift,” says Joan Shockley, YMSL Lakes mom and one of the event organizers.

As part of a recent land swap that enabled the Highland Oaks subdivision to be built, Ride With Pride owner, Doreen Bruton, traded her existing horse lot for a comparably sized lot.

However, the new lot was not as developed as a riding trail and was full of rocks and broken glass. After using the area for a sensory trail for special-needs riders, several of the horses sustained injuries such as stone bruises and hoof abscesses. As a result, they couldn’t be ridden and many lessons had to be cancelled.

YMSL mothers and sons—85 from Lakes and 45 from Keller—stepped in to help. The group completed the trail construction in just two days using 10 dump trucks full of volleyball sand (a whopping 150 tons in total), 1,000 linear feet of Geotech soil liner, two tractor loaders and countess wheelbarrows, shovels and rakes.

The finished trail, which is used by special-needs riders as part of equine-assisted healthcare called Spirithorse therapy, includes 26 alphabet stations, 12 number stations and one massive ride-through dragon, which was designed by the boys and constructed from three old tractor tires, two wooden stair stringers, a few random tree stumps and lots of dark green paint.

“It made a fitting gift in a town full of Dragons,” says Shockley.

Bruton, owner of Ride With Pride, is grateful for the new trail. “The new footing was needed so that the hard-working therapy horses and ponies can continue their job safely without picking up rocks and other objects in their hooves,” she says. “The new trail also allows the volunteers to easily maneuver while walking beside the riders. Additionally, it provides a wide range of new experiences for our riders with disabilities. The trail will be enjoyed for many years to come.”

Shockley says the project was a labor of love. “Just knowing that the new trail would allow for the participation of so many more special-needs students made it all worthwhile,” she says. “And as an added bonus (and the very best part of being a YMSL member), the mothers get to watch the impact that this kind of work has on their teenage sons. The boys who are helping the students get just as much out of the experience as the riders.”   

YMSL Lakes and Keller chapters invite the community to a trail dedication at Ride With Pride on October 26 from 6 to 7 p.m.

Want to find out how to get involved with Ride With Pride? Contribute to the GoFundMe campaign or meet some of the families on November 8 starting at 3 p.m. at Feestore BBQ. Additionally, volunteer training is November 12 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Ride With Pride.

Visit for more information, and visit and to learn more about membership in these local YMSL chapters. 


Hear from Doreen Bruton at Amy's Wish With Wings