Sonrisas, Stone Arbor giving back for Christmas with free horse, carriage rides

Families seeking a little Christmas fun outside of the home Sunday can head to the Spur Arena from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. for “Hope, Love & Horses,” a free event hosted by Sonrisas Trails Therapeutic Riding Program and Stone Arbor Farm & Training Stables.

Sonrisas marketing director Mary Coffey said last year, Tim Smith, who owns Stone Arbor, held an event at his stables.

“Horses have always been a big part of his life and he sees how much joy they bring him and he said, ‘let’s offer horseback rides for people – on a whim – and over 350 people showed up.” Coffey said. “So, he saw what an impact it could make and wanted to partner with Sonrisas Trails and spread the joy a little bit more and also invite other people with horses and give a much bigger impact than last year.”

Coffey said to say it’s overwhelming and humbling is an understatement. She said so many have come to donate their horses, their time and toy horses as gifts for children.

“It’s amazing.” she said. “I’ve only lived in two towns my entire life, but I have never seen a town like San Angelo that comes together for a cause that they believe in.”

Coffey added that some of the families that brought children to Smith’s event last year was the only gift the children received and they were happy and grateful.

“It’s a small sacrifice of a few hours on Christmas Day to spread that much joy to someone that otherwise might not have it.” she said. “I read a quote the other day, ‘If you think that one person can’t make a difference, you’re wrong, because those are the only ones that can.'”

In addition to the rides, a petting zoo is available for families at the event, as well as Sunny, the Sonrisas miniature horse, who is available for photos.