Robinson Ranch 1231 E. Ardmore Rd Phoenix, AZ 85042

Special Olympics

Robinson Ranch Special Olympics Equestrian Team

The Special Olympics mission statement is:

To provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.

Special Olympics
Special Olympics at Robinson Ranch


Robinson Ranch is associated with Special Olympics of Arizona (SOAZ). Robinson Ranch special Olympics has four coaches who are certified through the SOAZ State Office.   We use SOAZ’s requirements / policies to foster a safe, fun atmosphere for the Equestrian Athlete.

Robinson Ranch began participating in Special Olympics in late 2010.  We currently have a team of four interested riders;  one head coach – John Robinson, three certified coaches – Sheilah Smiley, Kristi Kay & Tricia Henning,  three therapy trained horses and a handful of volunteers.

Our goal for the Robinson Ranch team is to become the largest SOAZ Equestrian team in the State and to encourage each rider to become as independent as they are able and have fun while doing so!

Special Olympics Robinson Ranch
Special Olympics May 2014 at Robinson Ranch

With supervision, each rider grooms and tacks his or her own horse. Some riders require assistance when mounted, some do not. Some riders are walk only, some are walk trot, and others are learning to lope. Our riders are coached and will compete in showmanship at halter, equitation, and trail as well as the speed events barrel racing and pole bending.

New members are added to the team when class space and/or horses are available. Volunteer staffing is also necessary to provide a safe environment. To be eligible for the Robinson Ranch Special Olympics team, a rider must:

  • Have an interest in competing in equestrian sports.
  • Submit a Special Olympics Medical Release form (completed by the rider’s doctor) to the head coach prior to the rider participating.
  • Be able to use their reins and legs to guide, stop, and start their horse.
  • Be able to maintain good balance on the horse.
  • Complete a minimum of 1 six-week session with one of our therapeutic riding instructors to learn the  Robinson Ranch safety practices.

We are excited about participating in Special Olympics of Arizona Equestrian events and hope to acquire more athletes, sponsors and volunteers for this GREAT cause!!

To  see our photos from the May 2014 Special Olympics at Robinson Ranch, CLICK HERE.

For more information about Special Olympics in general please visit

What’s New at the Ranch

Events, Workshops & Classes

Intro to Horsemanship, Wagon Rides


No horse experience required! We are looking for admin staff, events coordinators, horse help, instructors, grant writers, marketers, fundraisers… details here