50th Anniversary, News

Mary K. “Sis” Gould

In 1974 Sis Gould founded the Lower Connecticut Valley Educational Riding Association (now known as High Hopes Therapeutic Riding). This month we begin our year-long celebration of 50 years of High Hopes. Each month we will be highlighting selected participants, horses, volunteers, staff and founders. It is fitting that this month, January 2024, we begin by honoring Sis Gould, without whom High Hopes would not exist.

“Sis to me was one in a million. In all those years dealing with all kinds of children, volunteers, horses and me, I never once heard her get impatient. I never heard her criticize anyone who might have let her down by not showing up to volunteer their time or a ride for the kids. To add to her virtues she laughed a lot and that has always been very high on my list of things to do. We really and truly had a lot of fun.” – Betty Green, Essex Elementary School, 1974

Sis came from a family of horse people. Horses were the center of her bold and creative spirit. Working so closely with horses over much of her life, she understood their potential for human healing and growth.

Sis was a doer, a person who believed that if she tried hard enough it would make things better. She saw a need for helping those with disabilities through horsemanship. She turned her energy and attention to creating an equine assisted therapy program that would provide some of the same experiences with horses that highlighted her life. Known for rallying friends from many corners of her life to support those missions in which she believed, which her good friends could attest to, she pressed them into service for this newly created program.

Little did she know then that what she created would grow and thrive and last for 50 years.

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