Photo by Katie McGregor

Operating out of NanSea Stables in Ocean Shores, The Horse Prayer is a nonprofit organization offering horse experiences designed for 5- to 21-year-olds with physical and emotional disabilities.

“We have parents who say that the only time their child ever smiles, or speaks, or engages is while they’re in their sessions,” says Stephanie Lewis, the organization’s president.

While Lewis heads it up, the organization’s workforce includes 10 board members and various volunteers from around the Harbor. The Horse Prayer hosts a series of seasonal six-week equine-assisted learning and day camp programs.


Established in 2017, its mission is “To support and empower individuals with disabilities through equine assisted activities.” Through collective volunteer efforts, they do just that. Lewis herself started as a volunteer in 2018, becoming president of The Horse Prayer in 2021. Over the past few years, her daughter, son, and boyfriend have become hugely involved in the program as well.

“The Horse Prayer started with the intention of doing what we are doing now – therapeutic horsemanship,”  Lewis explains. Horsemanship 101 is a six-week program covering lessons in equine grooming, body language, nutrition, herd dynamics and more.

Photo courtesy of The Horse Prayer

The Horse Prayer team has even recently acquired critter paint so students can get artistic and paint the horses. Everything is hands-on to promote physical and emotional growth for the students. NanSea’s Stables has an area for parents to stay and watch as well. If students come out of Horsemanship 101 feeling confident, they can move onto Horsemanship 102, which is an adaptive riding program. But the students get to dictate their own comfort level.

“Most kids like to come back and do it again and again,” Lewis says. “It all depends on how fast they move through the program, their comfort level with the horses, and what their specific special need is.” Some students just enjoy meeting and talking about the horses while others, like 19-year-old program veteran, Brendon Bolam, have recently progressed to riding the horses. Bolam has been with The Horse Prayer since the beginning and is highly involved with the program.

Along with their six-week programs, The Horse Prayer also hosts special event day camps. Lewis recalls that Chapman Farms of Brady donated pumpkins to the program so students could decorate the pumpkins with Scribbles, the miniature horse, for a day camp event called “Rolling with the Pumpkins.”

The Horse Prayer is currently home to four horses that have all been either donated or are owned by volunteers. Scribbles is a favorite among students who are nervous to be around full-sized horses. Regardless of size, Nita, Kolors, Daisy and Scribbles are all older horses and very mellow around kids. The Horse Prayer always accepts donations to help care for the horses and run the program. On Sept. 10, the organization will host its annual “Barn Bash” fundraiser. It’s a huge party with a band, dinner, auctions and dancing. It’s open to the public and tickets will be sold online, at the door, and at some local businesses.

Volunteers are also encouraged to join the program. From paperwork to barn maintenance to horse handling, there is a job for everyone. With the number of students interested in the program, volunteer instructors are especially needed right now. No experience is necessary to volunteer since The Horse Prayer team will provide training.


Photo courtesy of The Horse Prayer

“Volunteers can donate one hour a week or 10 hours a week. Everyone does what suits them,” Lewis says.

Applications for The Horse Prayer along with information for families seeking scholarships to help cover program fees can be found on its website, In addition, those interested in volunteering with the program can also find information there.

The Horse Prayer can also be found on Facebook under the same name. In addition, Scribbles, the miniature horse, has his very own Facebook and Instagram accounts @scribblesthemini.