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Welcome from Michelle Cannon, Founder

The Standing Tall Life Skills Program was founded to help kids and adults who are experiencing social, emotional, or physical challenges in their daily life.  The inspiration came from me trying to find a program with would help my grandson, A.J., overcome the challenges he faced as a premature baby. His first year was spent with occupational therapists. That's when we first learned of the benefits of riding a horse and therapeutic riding.  After many years of trying to find the right program for A.J., the Standing Tall Life Skills program was born.  Since the pandemic, anxiety, and insecurities have increased for our community youth. 

At Standing Tall, we provide a positive and safe equestrian environment to empower students with social life skills and coping skills that help them build self-awareness, self-esteem, and resilience.  Our students care for the horses and a natural bond of trust and acceptance occurs.  This is a free hybrid holistic program to address the needs of the Body, Mind, and Spirit.  Our goal is for our students to incorporate their skills to improve relationships and build a stronger community.   We hope you join us to make a positive change in our community.

Our volunteers mentor and provide unconditional acceptance and love.

Wildwood Stables/Standing Tall Property Footage

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 Life Skills to Empower

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Good for the Body, Mind and Spirit

Students are introduced to the ancient art of Yoga and Meditation.  The physical benefits include strengthening muscles and improving balance needed for riding a horse.  Students learn deep breathing to calm their body and mind so they may reduce stress and anxiety anywhere, anytime.


Developing Relationships

The Program promotes personal empowerment by introducing

practical and fun exercises in:

  • Gardening and Green House-Healthy Eating for the Body

  • Verbal communication

  • Non-verbal communication

  • Listening and following directions

  • Conflict resolution and problem-solving

  • Teamwork, consensus, and money management

  • Self-confidence and independent thinking

  • Personal integrity, values, and mindfulness

  • The difference between a friend and enemy

  • Setting boundaries for self-care

  • Setting goals and planning for the future


Reinforcing the Life Lessons

Leadership Class.

Team Building, Conflict Resolution, and Consensus


In this exercise, students work together as Business Partners, naming their trail riding business, and make a financial plan on which horses to purchase and to make the best choice. 



  • Brainstorming

  • Working together as a team

  • Financial Plan to buy horses

  • Negotiation 

  • Pooling their resources

  • Consensus on which horses to buy

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Students who complete the Standing Tall class are eligible to attend the Leadership Class.  They learn what it takes to be an effective leader instead of a manager.

Congratulations to Alex for having the best presentation before his peers!

This class was held at Christy's Pub Grub.

Our Horse Therapists 
An important part of our program is the special time participants spend with our horses.   
Students learn how to:
  • Bond and connect with horses to build relationships with people
  • Learn to give and receive trust from horses and people
  • Groom horses to promote self-care, empathy, and caring for others
  • Partner with horses and people to accomplish team goals
  • Proudly participate with confidence in the independent Trail Ride
Students and volunteers become empowered by their own abilities and gain the confidence to fulfill their potential. 
Horse Related Activities
  • Students groom the horses and a bond of trust develops

  • The pair work together as a team, giving and receiving instruction

  • Focus on positive experience and relation.

  • Effective listening

  • Receive mentoring from volunteers


 In a time when video games and cell phones socially isolate our youth, they miss out on developing social skills which will help them be more successful in life.  At Standing Tall, we provide a safe outdoor setting where kids enjoy nature, fresh air, and sunshine.   Our caring volunteers mentor each child and provide positive feedback. We want to turn adverse childhood experiences into positive ones. 

Our program promotes trust, friendships and fosters healthy relationships within their families and the community.  We are teaching our students how to live a life of excellence.  Students are encouraged to think about their futures so they may achieve their full potential.  Our programs and activities are free.  However,  parents are encouraged to participate by contributing snacks and drinks.    

What our Students are Saying

Jake - Student

Eli - Student

We can fight off bullying and have confidence. I always struggled with that, but Daisey helped me take that off my mind and concentrate on nature and the horse.

Living In Excellence

I enjoyed this class because it started me to feel again. It's easier with animals than with humans because of trauma...Thank you for your program and open arms.

Student Comments 

This place is not just a place to ride horses, it's a family.  -Isaac


I learned to control my feelings.  - Gabe.

AJ - Student

I gained happiness from helping everyone. The program will help them make it in life.

Thank you all for teaching me how to ride horses and teaching me how to improve myself in a better way. I really appreciate it.